SpouseBuzz

Milspouse Mission: Get Organized in 2008

Military life is chaotic. Especially during wartime when combat deployments and lengthy TDY's mean many spouses have to take on the role of mom and dad. You become the all-in-one. Chauffeur, homework helper, coach, cook, cleaner, bill-payer, housekeeper and life organizer. Whew...it can be overwhelming. Even for those of us without children. It's very easy to let things pile up and to let projects fall through the cracks.

I have talked to countless milspouses who have "get organized" as a top priority on that to-do list. That rather lengthy list we all seem to make when a deployment looms because we just know that we're going to have a ton of free time. Yeah, right...

I tend to be a bit anal-retentive, so I am organized in a general sense, but there are many projects that have been laying around the house begging for my attention. I had put them off for far too long and haven't given myself the time to tackle them. That changed when 2008 snuck up on me.

I don't like the word, "resolution" because there seems to be so much pressure associated with making -- and breaking -- resolutions. I prefer the term "goals." I set some goals for myself in 2008 and, for once, I set goals that were attainable, in a manner that wouldn't overwhelm me. I'm proud to report that I'm off to a good start.

The photo album on my laptop was already organized by category, "SpouseBUZZ LIVE events," "family," "animals," "friends," "Bermuda trip," etc., but it had not been properly groomed. I had simply uploaded the photos and let it be. The photos needed to be resized because they are too large when they're uploaded. Each time I had to email photos, I would have to resize a batch at a time and it wasn't very efficient. Furthermore, I needed to place them on a disc in case the laptop decides it doesn't like me any longer and crashed. So, last week, I spent a painstaking four hours doing nothing but resizing all of my photos, and deleting those that I wasn't interested in keeping. I managed to get some long-promised photos out to Stephanie. Oh, and Butterfly Wife and Mom, the photos from Vegas are coming soon.

I've kept magazines at the house because they contained one or two pages of things I was interested in. Gift ideas or decorating ideas. Last night, I went through all of my magazines, tore out the pages I wanted to keep and made file folders for "Great Gift Ideas," "X-Mas Decorating Tips," "Recipes" and "Items to Purchase." I then happily tossed the magazines in the trash and my new folders are now hanging neatly in my file cabinet.

These were small things, but things which were bugging me and I feel so relieved that they are finally done. Let's get organized this year. Let's tackle those projects, large or small, that we keep putting off. And let's set realistic goals. I've decided that once per month, I will set aside time to tend to a task that I've been putting off. Doing this slowly, and not having a huge, comprehensive list in January, puts less stress on me and makes accomplishing these tasks more doable. Some of you may prefer a large list upfront. Whatever works with your lifestyle is what's important.

So, what do you want to tackle?  Let's meet here once a month and list our goal(s) for that month. At the end of the year, we'll see how much progress we made, and we'll pat ourselves (and each other) on the back for a job well done.

Now, I'm off to put this in my "Great Gift Ideas" folder...

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Mom will be receiving a pair next Christmas because they are very special, just like her. And if you can't splurge on your mother, who can you splurge on?

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