The other day I asked Wendell to name his top 5 priorities in order of importance. It's not as easy as it sounds, but I have been giving this topic a lot of thought. Particularly because of the disconnect between what I proclaim my priorities to be verses where I actually spend my time.
So here are my priorities.
1. Spirituality (includes: personal scripture study, personal prayer, journal writing, attending the temple)
2. Family (includes: dates with my hubby, FHE, fun family activities, one-on-one time with the kids)
3. Health (includes: getting 7 hours of sleep, exercise, eating healthy)
4. Housekeeping (includes: making meals, dishes, laundry, regular house upkeep, decluttering)
5. PTA/Callings (I am the PTA President next year, so PTA had better be up there.)
These are followed by helping with homework, piano, kids' activities.
Now these are good priorities and demonstrate a shift. Before this self-review, I would have to admit that what is now my #4 priority, housekeeping, used to be very last. It fell behind PTA, church responsibilities, helping the kids with homework, piano and being a mama taxi service to get everyone to all their activities. And my house shows it. It can take 30 minutes just to pick up all the stuff off the kitchen floor to be able to sweep and mop it. It can take 20 minutes for 5 of us (me, Emma, Anson, Nathan, and Annika) to pick up the living room so that it can be vacuumed and everyone can sit down. I'm sure that you can do the math on how long that would take for me to do that by myself.
The essence of the problem isn't work ethic, because hoarders--like me--actually spend more time cleaning than non-hoarders. The problem is priority. (And hoarding issues like not throwing papers away because I'm afraid I'll throw away something important and I'll regret it later. So I'm over run with papers. And it embarrasses me.) But there's more to all this than just that.
There is a primary disconnect between my priorities and the way I allocate my time. If my spirituality is my top priority, then why do I struggle to find time to study my scriptures or say my morning prayers? If my health is a priority, then why do I frequently go to bed between midnight and 1:30 AM making it that much more difficult to be motivated to exercise?
The more I thought about this, the more I realized that going to bed earlier will solve so many problems. Let's say that I just went to bed at 11:30 pm every night. I do well on 7 hours of sleep, so I could feel very rested and get up at 6:30 in the morning. I usually get up around 7:15--later if I've stayed up till one. That would buy me and extra 45 to 60 minutes each day. Thus I suddenly have time to read my scriptures and time to plan my day. I bet I could tell you what was for dinner by 7:15 AM instead of wandering around the kitchen at 5:00 PM distraught that I never put something in the crock-pot.
And once I get used to it, I could start going to bed even earlier. And getting up even earlier. And getting even more done.
Now this isn't the first time I've had this particular epiphany. I can't tell you how many General Conferences, I have written down, "go to bed at a reasonable time" and put a big star in front of it. Yet here I am, 35-years-old and regularly going to bed at midnight or later.
So, I'm enlisting a little help. I'm posting this on my blog to make me accountable. And I'm going streaking. (Ha, ha. Not like that.) I'm going to post and track how long of a streak of going to bed at 11:30 or earlier I can put together. I'm going to buy myself a little present if I can do it for a whole week.