Five Ways to Rescue a Near Goner of a Day

Plans are not always implemented as we have envisioned them simply because we cannot control everything. Even the factors that we can control, such as personal motivation, are not always at their optimal levels.

Have you had a goner of a day? I have, and only too often at that. This is what I have learned from my mistakes, though: a goner of a day can be rescued.

Here are my five ways to rescue those days:

1. Remember what is necessary and focus on that. Weight-wise, this constitutes more than half of the strategy. What is necessary, of course, varies across individuals and families, life circumstances, preferences, needs, and wants.

I homeschool two of my kids, keep a watchful eye on the other two who attend school outside the home, and do professional work from home. These describe what is necessary to me: work for the homeschool amounts to a day's worth, Only Son's (who attends regular school) student diary is checked and signed, Eldest Daughter (who is in the university) avoids commuting as far as practicable (which means coordinating car trips), my professional work keeps up with my work plan, there is decent food for everyone, and we have clean clothes to wear.

You may noticed that Husband is not mentioned. That's because on many a near goner of a day, he has glued all our bits and pieces together so that nobody turns irreversibly crazy. There is also no mention of a clean house. Later.

Whatever may be necessary to each one of us, though, I think we can all benefit from the wise words of Saint Francis of Assisi: "Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly, you are doing the impossible." On a near goner of a day, I stick to the first third of his advice. It's always enough. Not that the possible and the impossible are not desirable, but you know what I mean.

2. Dress well and take care of personal hygiene. This is important especially if you are home-based. If you go around the house in your pajamas, barefoot, and sipping coffee brewed three hours before, it is very difficult to get into the work mode. It's conditioning yourself, which is pretty much like pre-heating an oven or winding an old-fashioned clock.

On a crazy day, I could still be in the clothes I had slept in at lunch time. But how long should it take for one to take a trip to the bathroom and dress for battle? That's really how I need to view this fashion challenge. I need to think of myself as a soldier suddenly wakened and called to battle. Otherwise, I will never earn my medal.

3. Eat healthy. We need fuel like cars do. I will not say "Down with fastfood!" even if I want to because we don't have a very good record here. It is, in fact, an embarrassingly ugly record. There. Full disclosure is always good.

What I am going to say, though (mostly to myself), is do keep fastfood to a minimum. Second Daughter has amazed me with her quick ways with pasta. Husband is just as quick with salad greens. If I want to, I can make simple sandwiches that are acceptable by standards of nutrition and taste. In my case, I think making all these work is a matter of lowering standards and upgrading resolve. Go ahead and use paper plates! Whatever corners you cut, though, don't cut the nutrition.

4. Content yourself with cosmetic cleaning around the house. "Cosmetic cleaning" is a term that the children and I fabricated during the first year that we made do without household help. It is what you think it means. A little sweeping here, a little wiping there, and lots of putting away and hiding here and there. Give yourself 15 minutes max and not a second more, and condition yourself to be happy with the results.

5. Be cheerful. This is the difficult part. If I am grumpy and tense, so much energy goes into overcoming that sour disposition -- precious energy that I can use to do more work! If I am grumpy and tense, I snap at people who do not deserve that treatment. Feelings are needlessly hurt.

No matter how numerous are the things that we cannot control, there is one thing that we can always control and that is ourself. We can choose to be the ugly person in our children's lives, or we can choose to be cheerful, purposeful, and productive thereby teaching them a simple but precious lesson on "dealing with it".

How do you deal with crazy days?


  1. Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes! I especially like #5 Be Cheerful, what a cute picture!

    Sometimes, when faced with a crazy day, I only try and accomplish those things that are necessary and/or feasible. Everything else gets postponed until another day, or cancelled. Then I break #3 and order pizza or claim 'get it yourself night'...always on paperplates. :o)

  2. I have to admit that #3 is the toughest, and yes, I have broken that many times :-(. Thanks for dropping by!


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