For a week my life was dominated by two phrases:
Extreme winter weather warning and bronchiolitis and pneumonia.
The former turned what was supposed to be a day in Portland into a 2½ day stay because of freezing rain and snow on the route home. The latter saw my son sick and in the doctor’s office one day and then in the hospital for the next two (he’s much better now). In the two days in between these events I reached my low as a mother and my productivity was nil the entire week.
Now, I realize that in the grand scheme of things neither of these events was a big deal. We had a great (kid-free!) time in Portland and we were only in the hospital for two days with a sick baby—I cannot imagine how hard it is for families with a seriously ill child; two days was plenty. But life throws us all curve balls, doesn’t it? Whether by something big or small we can get derailed pretty quick. While we can’t avoid these interruptions (after all, they’re our real life) there are ways to minimize their impact.
1. Work ahead
One thing that hung over my head all week was the ‘More with Less’ post that was supposed to be published on Friday. It wasn’t written and I honestly didn’t have a chance to write it. But I should have written it long before. Do what you can as far ahead of schedule as possible. You don’t want to worry about bills being late because your routine was hijacked. This is also a great reason to have a few freezer meals made up.
2. Do what you can
When you have a minute, accomplish a little task. Whether it’s sending an email or throwing in a load of laundry you’ll feel better knowing one thing is out of the way. Stealing a quiet moment with a book or cup of tea counts, too.
3. Do the thing in front of you
When you’re recovering from a time of chaotic schedules and little structure, it can be hard to get your feet back under you. So instead of looking at the whole, pick one thing and do it. Wash dishes, re-schedule meetings, read your Bible. Prioritize your ‘to-do’ list and check things off one task at a time. (I totally stole the heading from Tsh Oxenrider’s post Do the thing in front of you. You should read it)
4. Give yourself grace
This is the hard one, isn’t it? We want to seem like we can keep everything together even in extenuating circumstances. But we can’t and that’s okay. Standards might have to slip until ‘all systems are go’ and life gets back to normal. Don’t hold it against yourself because no one else is and ask for help when you need it.
Life has been even-keeled for a few days now and I am getting my feet back under me. Edward is on the mend and there’s a new Starbucks in town just waiting for me to write the next installment of ‘More with Less’ in it. Over the last week and a half I’ve seen the importance of being on top of things so when the unexpected happens it’s easier to bear. I’ve also seen the good that can come from them. So whether you’re in a season of routine or chaos (or somewhere in between) embrace it because you’ll be in the other season soon.