As I evaluate my business activities and my personal life, I have come to the conclusion that time management is both my greatest strength and weakness. It is a strength when it comes in the form of leading a disciplined schedule. I can wake up early, go all day, stay on-task, and get a LOT done during my focused work time. I have never lacked motivation when working from home, and I am a master at checking off a long to-do list.
On the flipside, though, this can be a burden to me - especially when it comes to my personal life. Reflecting on the first year of Willow's life, I know the biggest stressors were not so much her lack of sleep or all the changes she went through - they were my preconceived notions of keeping the same strict schedule and my desire to have some semblance of control.
I think this is normal, and I have to remind myself of that often so I do not get discouraged with who I am. God made me to be type A, and there's nothing wrong with that. Problems arise, though, when I get so stressed out over needing control - and not getting it - that my fuse becomes shorter with Willow, Nathan, and anyone around that happens to see me at my worst.
I have always prayed - ALWAYS - that I would use my time wisely. What this used to mean =, in my definition, was filling my time with work, getting as much accomplished as possible, and never straying from the tasks at hand. When I quit my full-time job I used to be at my desk from 7am-5pm every day, very strictly, with hardly any lunch breaks. EVER. But that wasn't sustainable, and it certainly wasn't wise.
Now my life looks so different. Once we lost Joel I began to adopt healthier work habits, and having Willow has made me truly acknowledge my daily lack of control over almost every aspect of my life. As I think about using my time wisely, I realize a few things:
1) A wise use of time does NOT mean that I'm using every minute.
2) A wise use of time shows balance between work and personal 'tasks.' Sometimes I need to stop what I'm doing and clean up or take a pause on a day of work to help around the house. And sometimes I need to let cleanliness go for a bit when work becomes more demanding.
3) A wise use of time means I am investing in Willow, and that she is worth every interruption and change in my day. This is incredibly hard for me to accept and I have good and bad days. But then, as just happened now, she will pick up something I've taught her (she kisses now! and she is learning to softly stroke my face instead of flailing her arms and hitting me) and I realize the only thing I will pass on that is worthwhile cannot be taught when I'm on my phone or on the computer. Yes, I want her to have a good work ethic - but not at the expense of her family and friends. Yes, I want her to know how to play by herself - but not if I'm going to get frustrated whenever she needs me.
I'm learning. Every day I learn a little more. Some days I move forwards and some days I feel like I'm constantly being pushed back, and those are the most frustrating days. Yet it's worth it - to be a better mother, a better wife, and a better human being through and through. And that is the wisest use of my time I could ever imagine.