Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How to be Deliberate

I would just like to say that most of the time, in life, I have no idea what I'm doing. I look at other adults and I'll think, "Wow. When will I be a grown up?" I don't feel grown up ya'll. A mortgage and a child does not an adult make.

I looked up the word adult, as I am wont to do, and it says "a person who is fully grown and developed." I'll go on record here. I may be fully grown but I do not feel developed. I feel in progress. That's probably how we all feel but most adults don't cop to it. For some reason people think being an adult means you have it all figured out.

I don't have it figured out but I do have a vague idea of what I would like my future to look like. It is better to keep the vision of your future a little blurry because whatever you visualize, you need to be flexible. Have a few main points and leave the rest to the imagination. Just my advice, take it or leave it. In my few years on earth I have found that people fall really hard when they get to a point in their life where they should have what they envisioned and don't.

I recognized what I wanted in 2014 and I sought after it. This year, I need to be Deliberate in the choices I make to get where I need to be. 

I've never done that before. My plan has always been to just live day-to-day and wherever I end up, be happy about it. I'm not knocking that method because it works. And I don't want to be overly thoughtful where every single situation has to be some long drawn out thing. I can't do that either. I want to deliberate in my day-to-day activities so that I end up somewhere close to my goals.

I've narrowed down a few ways to be Deliberate in 2015. I plan to use what works and adjust if something doesn't. These are just some things I'm going to try.

Plan the Week:
It all starts here for me. Planning your week is like setting mini-goals and crossing them off one by one. It encourages communication and gives you something to expect. I need that so badly in this season of my life.

Bryan and I already have a few processes to help guide our weeks, but they aren't used to their full capacity. We both use our Google calendars and have widgets on our home screens. We check it often before making plans to see if anything is scheduled. We're not as detailed as we should be on it. It's mainly used for school, gigs, etc. I'm much better at recording things and I'll block off nights when we need to do something specific.

We also have a planner that I bought from Plum Paper Designs and reviewed here. (Note: That review is one of my most popular posts of all time!) It may seem redundant, but I write all events in that planner and make sure that the online calendar and the written one match. The physical planner shows the flow of our family including events, income, outgo, plans big purchases, tracks meals, household chores, special dates, etc. The planner is an accurate representation of the flow of our family. I actually just ordered my second one and I can't wait for it's arrival. I changed a few things that I think will be huge in my quest to be Deliberate.

My goal is to sit down with Bryan on a weekly basis and go over the upcoming week. As of now, I tend to do it myself and not at all on a regular basis. This is crucial to having purposeful days. Who is going to be doing what, when are they going to do it and how much is it going to cost, if anything? It'll help Bryan and I be on the same page.

Manage the Finances:
I don't have much to say here because we haven't developed a system that works yet. The best I can offer is to ask the important people in your life how they manage their finances. Ask them what weaknesses they've experienced and armed with that information, build your own plan. You might be best suited to an Excel Spreadsheet where I may be more of a Binder kind of gal.

We've tried things in the past that just haven't stuck. This year, I decided to add in the monthly bill tracker to our planner. I've realized that instead of creating a bunch of new processes, I need to consolidate processes into the ones I'm already using.

Because we now have two independent businesses, we need to plan for big purchases and build them into the monthly budget. This includes Christmas, car registrations, music equipment, etc. Bryan and I tend to look at our finances day-by-day and we need to incorporate looking at the big picture.

Identify Needs:
In the beginning months of this year, I want to identify and define our "normal" as much as possible.

- What nights should we cook?
- What nights need to be leftover nights?
- Does that mean we should double certain nights recipes?
- What night are we usually home so we can talk finances?
- How long has it been since our last date night?
- What nights can I going to the gym?
- What nights do I need to do homework?
- When does Bryan need to practice with the band?
- When will I write?

We have never looked at our life like that. We just wake up, do our thing, get home and we're like, yeah. We are home tonight. Let's cook. Or Bryan's gone.. I think I'll blog. Everything is in wherever it can go. You never know what to expect. Food goes bad because we don't plan to cook it. Money is wasted when we don't communicate. Friendships suffer when you don't see each other for weeks on end.

When you have a baseline of what to expect it's much easier if you veer off course because you know what to come back to.

Cultivate Relationships:
I have a bad habit of withdrawing when life gets busy. I haven't seen Colleen in forever. I hadn't seen my mom in forever before Christmas. Being deliberate with my time will account of the people that I love and relationships I want to invest in. I want to be a source of encouragement and stability. I don't want to just tell my loved ones I love them. I want to show them.

Have Grace:
Life is fluid and changes in an instant. I don't want to be rigid. It's counter-intuitive. I just want to have a plan, while knowing that plans change. I want to have grace for myself and for others.

As I've wrapped my mind about being deliberate in 2015, I've realized that there are many ways to skin a cat. The most important thing in my mind is to be thoughtful in what I am doing, how I am spending my time and where I am headed. Instead of treading water this year I want to swim.


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