The last few weeks, I have been blogging alongside my friend Emily a fun new series all about How We Do It: a series on organization! I hope it’s been practical and helpful – a peek into how we do life. Here’s what we’ve covered so far, and here’s what you can look forward to!
Time: Em’s post and Nancy’s post
Finances: Em’s post and Nancy’s post
Home: Emily’s post and Nancy’s post
Today: Personal Life (read Emily’s post HERE!)
February 6: Work
February 13: Relationships
February 20: Spiritual Life
February 27: Kids
Today we are sharing how we organize our personal lives. The last time I blogged about this, I didn’t have any babies, so I debated if the better title for me nowadays would be “how to organize my family life.” However, after much thought, I think personal life is best because it encompasses everything we do as a family as well as everything we do with friends, travel, home decor, and everything in between. Also, I hope when our children are gone from our home we still have a strong personal life to sustain and maintain, because we’ve kept it strong through the years!
So here’s my biggest piece of advice when it comes to having a strong personal life full of rest and deep friendship and family memories:
SCHEDULE EVERYTHING. It call comes back to the schedule!!
I plan our calendar consistently:
Before the year begins
At the beginning of each month
At the beginning of each week
During these times, Will and I touch base about what’s most important, what we should keep, and if there’s anything we need to drop. The Year discussion is most time consuming, but the monthly and weekly talks are brief.
I use two tools in scheduling our personal events:
My iCal for big events and recurring dates (like birthdays)
My Simplified Planner for the weekly and daily planning (I prefer the weekly edition)
I do have my iCal categorized by color: Home (yellow), Work (green), Ministry (purple), Booked Shoots (grey). Will and I share the home calendar with each other via Google.
You might be thinking: “Nancy, doesn’t this fall more in the category of how you organize your time?” And in a way, you’re right. But here’s the thing: I’m not a very spontaneous person. I don’t usually call someone up to have coffee that day. I’m a planner, and my work and life really requires me to plan ahead. So if I want to hang out with my friends, we just have to get a date on the calendar and then it happens! If I want to go for a run, or have some “me” time – I MUST plan it, or it just won’t happen.
So disclaimer: many people who have more of a relaxed personality or love adventure and spontaneity might be weirded out by this, or maybe you just won’t relate. That’s okay! I just know I won’t have any friends or family memories or half marathon goals if I don’t plan for time spent doing those things in my ACTUAL calendar. I know because it’s the way I lived life for many years (with NO life) and I don’t want to go back there!
Okay so let’s break it down! Here is how we do it:
Yearly Personal Calendar
What are the most important memories I want to make this year? Specifically referring to the trips and vacations and goals and events that take a little extra planning? Will discuss this and we always put these in our calendars FIRST. Here’s our list for 2018:
NRP Team Retreat
Return to Rest
Making Things Happen
Our 10th Anniversary
Annual Camping trip with Thomases (Yes, Emily!!)
Beaufort – Father’s Day
Nashville family visit
10th Anniversary trip to Europe
1 Month Sabbatical
Thanksgiving in Mountains
It is also at this time that I choose the 12 books I plan to read for the year. I even assign them month by month! This is a hugely important piece of my personal growth and my life as a whole! You can see my 2017 reading list here.
I also have these recurring dates that repeat yearly in my iCal:
January 1st – Declutter / clean out
February 1st – Decorate for Valentines’ Day
April – 1st Spring Cleaning
May – Mother’s Day Strawberry Picking
June 20th – Decorate for July 4th (We’re BIG on Independence Day)
October 1st— Get Pumpkins at the Farmer’s Market
November 1st – Gratitude Chalk Wall
December 10th – Goal Setting for Next Year
(In honor of our How We Do It series, I had to include this camping pic from last year with my little fam and the Thomases!)
Monthly Personal Calendar
At the very end of the month or the very beginning of the month, Will and I look ahead and briefly touch base about what life looks like. What weekends will we be gone? When do we need childcare? When are we going to go on our date? When do we need dogsitting / housesitting help? We chat about the things we need to do,
Will and I are more task people than people people. So we touch base about how many social events would be good for us each month, make sure they are on both of our calendars, and make sure we have childcare lined up! Things we always discuss:
Which Sundays I lead worship (and have worship practice)
Plans with friends
Rest Days + Home Nights
Photo by Gina Zeidler
Weekly Check Ins
By now, we have our month planned out. But life changes, plans come up, and sometimes we just forget. It’s always good to check in with each other once a week (we usually do on Sundays) to discuss the upcoming week. We always try to do 3 things:
Go through our weekly questions for our marriage
Choose our Sabbath day for the week ahead
Make sure our calendars line up for the week
My favorite part of our weekly check ins is our weekly questions for our marriage. I’ll talk more on this in our upcoming post – How we organize our relationships! For now I guess you’ll have to wait 😉 But don’t miss it because they change the game in the best way.
In addition to my chat with Will, I personally decide and schedule two very important things that also affect my personal life greatly:
My reading goals
Exercising at least 2x
I write both of those in my calendar. Goodness I hope those two things don’t get lost in this giant blogpost because they are SO fulfilling and so important for me as a wife, mama and woman! Exercising and reading are just SO important in keeping my personal life fulfilled and feeling whole.
I keep my current book beside my bed for easy access, and on the days I plan to exercise, I get dressed in my exercise clothes.
A few Daily Thoughts
I can’t fail to mention the importance of staying close to the Lord in my personal life, day to day. It’s the foundation of everything for me, which is why another blogpost devoted entirely to organizing my spiritual life is coming up, too!
I don’t shower every day. Well – that’s not totally true. I do a quick “bod-show” every day (Nancy talk for body-only shower), but I only wash and style my hair twice a week. That’s a real time saver!
Tidying my home and kitchen on a daily basis also brings me great joy in my personal life. We always have the kitchen clean and the coffee made before going to bed, which allows for a wonderful fresh start each morning.
We do laundry once a day. This keeps things from piling up, which is so nice now that we are a family of four!
I’d love to hear – do you do any of these? What do you do in addition? How do you keep your personal life in order?
Don’t forget to read Em’s post if you haven’t yet!