Lest you think I have it all together, which, ahem, none of you did anyway, I’m really struggling with order and discipline in my life right now. I did really well all through school, all through college, and even in my first two years of graduate school. But the last two years have been a constant battle to maintain order and routine.
One major challenge for me is having no external structure created for me, like classes meeting at a certain time or assignments due regularly. I do have external responsibilities and things that are expected of me, but no established routine or structure to it. I’ve been learning how to impose my own structure on my life and develop my own routines, but one of the challenges lately is that so many things seem to change so often. I start getting into a routine and something changes again. I feel like I’m juggling 10 balls, but every few minutes new balls get thrown in and others get thrown out. And the existing balls keep changing size and weight while I’m trying to juggle them. I’m dropping balls all over the place!
Another major challenge is that I’m very analytical and I have a hard time not over-analyzing everything. It’s really quite comical when I articulate to my dear husband all the things that are running through my mind even over something so simple as putting a load of laundry in the washing machine. This paralyzes me and then I start getting anxious about it all. Having order and routine to my days both imparts structure and takes away the constant re-analysis of what I should be doing when and what comes next, but I’m having such a hard time making it happen.
I’m really good at budgeting money, but really not so good at budgeting time. When I think about what works for me with money, one key is that we set aside money in a number of categories. This means that I’m not constantly making choices between spending money on groceries or spending money on clothes and therefore continually recalculating where all the money should go. Instead, there’s a certain amount of money for each, which gives me freedom to spend money on groceries since I know clothes are taken care of. At the same time, I know that I only have so much for groceries, so I have to use it well. I’m making choices within each category, but not between them, because those choices are already made. I don’t have the same overall structure to my time that I have with my money. I keep trying to establish a routine where I do certain types of things at certain times – having periods of time that are set aside for CDC work, responsibilities for church or things I need to do at home, but every time I start getting into a workable routine, it seems like something else gets thrown in the mix and I don’t know how to keep it in balance. I think one issue might be that I’m trying to be too flexible to accommodate everybody else and I end up giving away my order and routine. I guess I need to guard my time boundaries as closely as I guard other boundaries.
The main reason I’m writing this, aside from helping me think through it, is to ask if any of you have any thoughts, insight, experience or encouragement that might be helpful to me or to others. What do you find that works for you? What do you struggle with when it comes to using time well or balancing different aspects of your life. Have you read any good books or articles lately about time management? Please do share. And please pray for me, that I would be set free in this area, because I know that God is a God of order and not of confusion and disarray.