Friday, January 27, 2012

Prioritizing


Ever make a Wordle before?  It's a great website where you can just type in a bunch of words (or cut and paste text from another source) and it creates these word art pictures.  I've used it while teaching before but never for myself, but today just felt like a good day to start.  I'm overwhelmed with all that I need to do and having an incredibly difficult time prioritizing.

If I lived in a vacuum (or was able to locate life's remote control so I could just hit <PAUSE> for a little bit) I would devote all my time to finishing the @#$% coursework I need to finish in order to reactivate my teaching certificate.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, take a moment and read all about it.  Right now.  No, I'm serious.  I'll wait.









All done?

Good!

Okay, so now you know I still need to complete eighty continuing education hours in order to be able to teach and/or substitute in a public school once again.  And in case you're curious, this is directly from the PA Department of Education Website:
 
What must educators do to remain in compliance with Act 48?
Educators must maintain their certificates as active
by earning six collegiate credits
or six PDE-approved in-service credits
or 180 continuing education hours
or any combination of the above every five calendar years. 
NOTE: Each collegiate credit is equal to 30 continuing education hours.

I guess the good news is that I have already completed one hundred CEUs (Continuing Education Units or Hours) and am one third of the way through a course worth thirty CEUs.  Plus the courses I have found are free, on-line, and self-paced, so I can squeeze them in whenever I can.  The bad news is everything is so friggin' time consuming!
Which brings me back to the title of this post.  If I did live in a vacuum and could just hunker down and finish the remaining eighty CEUs in order to reactivate my teaching certification, I would be able to substitute a couple times a week, bringing in an extra six hundred plus a month, give or take, which would make an enormous difference in our lives right now.

HOWEVER . . . I don't live in a vacuum, and even though I know completing the coursework to reactivate my certification would solve so many of our problems, I have to continue dealing with every other aspect of our lives at the same time.  And there is a lot of other "stuff" to have to deal with.

And so it comes down to prioritizing, a task that apparently I suck at.


Don't get me wrong, I understand the basic concept.  I need to list everything I have to do and then determine what is the most important, then the second most important, and so on, and tackle the most important things on the list first, gradually moving down the list.  And in theory, that works and sounds pretty simple. 


But in reality life has all kinds of lists, and there are high priority items on all of them.  So how do you determine which items need to be dealt with now and which ones can be put off until later? Or should I really just be looking into figuring out a way to combine all my lists together and somehow prioritize all the different tasks on that master list?


Just so I'm clear, here are my various life To Do lists:
  1. Reactivate my teaching certificate
  2. Maintain "order" in the house by cleaning on a regular basis and decluttering/organizing the crap that seems to overflow from every room in our house
  3. Figure out to feed everyone relatively healthy that everyone will eat and still stick to our extremely tight budget
  4. Get out of debt while still paying all our other bills on time AND buying groceries so everyone can eat at least three times a day
  5. Lose forty pounds
  6. Make sure each of the three kids' academic and social-emotional needs are being met both at home and at school, both during the school year AND during the summer
  7. Teach at my part-time position
I could literally spend all day simply working on one or two tasks on ANY of these lists.  And notice I did not include anything about developing and/or maintaining any personal relationships, even though this is an area of my life that is severely lacking. 

The problem is clearly that each of those seven To Do lists is vitally important and none of them can be ignored.  And when I spend time focusing on any one of them, I neglect the rest, resulting in total disaster.  I am sure there is a way to maintain balance and figure out a way to accomplish it all, but I simply do not see it.  So what do I do?


My favorite way to escape my life

Clearly I have too much on my plate.  If a friend was telling me all this, I would tell them they were trying to do too much and to give themselves a break.  And while I understand that, it doesn't really seem an option.

I mean, let's say I focus primarily on reactivating my certification.  As things stand right now, we are just squeaking by living paycheck to paycheck.  Our credit cards are pretty much maxed out, both of our credit scores totally suck, our debt is monumental, and we have gone through any emergency savings we ever amassed.  I need to continually seek out ways to save money, get financial assistance, and/or bring in more money.  And I cannot do that if I am only working on completing my online courses!

And let's say I focus on figuring out ways to make sure we CAN pay all our bills each month with a little extra towards paying down our debt?  Then I don't have enough time to keep up with all the work that has to be done around the house and things get out-of-control pretty quickly.

So let's say I focus on maintaining the house AND making sure we still have enough money to keep the lights on?  Then making sure all three kids' needs are being met at school and at home goes out the window.  We are still struggling to find the right medication to treat Twin A's ADHD to help him focus in class and not do things like, I don't know, getting up in the middle of direct instruction to initiate a conversation with another student.  And he still is having many, many, many meltdowns both at school and at home about any little thing - it is pretty hard to anticipate what will set him off.  And I also have two other kids who have their own struggles and problems!

To say I'm overwhelmed is an understatement.

To say I need a friggin' break doesn't even begin to scratch the surface.


And what do I end up doing for a good portion of the day today? 

Do I clean?

Cook?

Figure out a grocery list that will take advantage of the store sales and my coupons?

Work on my courses?

Work on my budget once again?

Spend another day doing research into various options for the kids to do this summer?



NO.





I choose to blog about it all instead.


Sigh.







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4 comments:

Anjali said...

You have way, way to much on your plate. I don't think any normal human being could keep up with all of that. So I guess what I'm asking is, is it possible for you to have a sub-list? Like for instance, for Task #2, can you break it down into a., b. and c, then decide, one day, to only work on 2.a.? And then forget about the rest of task 2?

Yankeerose said...

let me see if i can come up with some recipe ideas for you that are cheap and easy - any food allergies or major dislikes for the kids?

Miss Mommy said...

Yankeerose - cheap and easy is VERY important. We have no food allergies here, but Twin A is fairly picky. I try not to let him rule what I cook,instead putting a little bit of the major food ingredients (like chicken) aside to give to him for dinner when making any meal where things get mixed together (stew, casseroles, etc.). I would appreciate any recipe ideas you have that might make life easier!

Miss Mommy said...

Anjali - Trust me, I KNOW I have way too much on my plate right now. Each of the items I listed in the blog post are basically the title of their own long to do list already. And it feels like any time I decide to focus on one item on a "sub-list" then almost every other aspect of life seems to fall apart! I know it's all about moderation and prioritizing, but I just can't seem to get the hang of it.

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