In November I happened to see a post in my Facebook feed about signing up for a chance to be on the launch team for Crystal Paine’s (Money Saving Mom) upcoming book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. Based on the title alone, I decided to sign up. At the time, I really felt like I was hanging on by a thread. We had finished with the very busy fall cross country season. (OK, a month earlier) and there’s something about getting through a major busy time that leaves me feeling let down. So I felt blah but without direction, and I wasn’t making any progress on anything.
Thankfully, I was chosen for the team. I started reading and found myself agreeing wholeheartedly. The first chapter was Stop Trying to Do it All. Honestly, I’ve always prided myself in not over scheduling. I felt like I had kept our schedule pretty open. But in this season of our homeschool with my oldest in high school, we are involved in several outside lessons and classes. And they’re at an all time high this school year.
Time doesn’t expand limitlessly. When I say yes to one thing, I must say no to something else.
I’ve definitely said yes to a lot of things this year. What have I said no to?
Consciously, nothing. But certain things were not getting done.
Things like –
- Regular Exercise
- Meaningful Bible Study
- Going over lessons with my children
- Some housecleaning tasks (like ironing and mopping) – OK, so I don’t mind skipping those.
But then came the part where I was supposed to write down my own personal priority list.
And I froze.
I’ve never been one for open ended questions. And trying to come up with 4 or 5 concise statements of my priorities in life is overwhelming.
But I knew I should do it. I couldn’t go on without doing it. But I couldn’t do it. But what if the rest of the book hinges on those priorities?
Finally after being stuck without reading, I decided to keep reading.
OK. On to Chapter 2. Say Yes to the Best. Oh no, we’re going to be using the personal priorities list! Just keep reading.
Pretty soon Crystal got to topics that are more comfortable for me: things like dividing your time and setting up a routine. Those are more my style. That’s how I think naturally. I haven’t been doing them though. I wonder why not? What happened?
The book progresses from thinking about the big picture of our goals and priorities to more practical ways to organize specific areas of our lives such as finances, the home, and giving. Crystal’s writing is informative and engaging with a good mix of personal stories and practical tips. But it’s not an exhaustive organizing book with how-to’s on organizing everything under the sun. It’s more of a big picture book with practical tips to get you started.
I kept getting called back to that big picture. What are my priorities? Why am I doing the things I am doing? What am I doing with my time? With the new year approaching, it seemed an appropriate time to be pondering all these things. As a result of reading Say Goodbye to Survival Mode I started to implement some major changes to my schedule.
The biggest one is my no computer times I have set up every day. I have determined that I cannot do a good job with homeschooling while I am also checking e-mail, browsing Facebook, and working on my job. So I am requiring that my laptop stays shut and put away from 8-11 am every weekday. And in order to spend more focused time with my husband in the evenings, we have both agreed to no electronic devices between 6-8 pm.
Without me bringing it up, my husband suggested that we set some goals for the year and think about our priorities. Isn’t that an amazing coincidence? (I don’t think so. I love how God in his sovereignty oversees even the seemingly small details like my getting “randomly” selected for a book launch.) If I hadn’t read Saying Goodbye to Survival Mode, I wouldn’t have been prepared to set goals with my husband. I would have felt like he thought I was failing, and I needed help. But I was finally ready to admit that I did need help. And I came up with the no computer time idea. My husband had thought of that long ago, but knew better than to suggest it to me. Some things we have to see for ourselves. And I foolishly thought I could handle all that multi-tasking. And I continued to sink further and further.
Things are looking so much better. No, my life of homeschooling 5 children, keeping house, and working part-time is not suddenly easy. But I finally feel more in control. I still haven’t written out my priorities, but I’m going to. I have set aside a lot of the things that were wasting my time (mainly computer related), and I have been much more productive. Do I owe it all Say Goodbye to Survival Mode? Well, maybe not, but it certainly came at the right time and helped me to get out of the life boat and back onto the ship.
So take a look at the book. Right now it’s still pre-order only, but there are some great freebies that come with it. But hurry if you want the free stuff because the book will be released on January 21!
Disclosure: I received an advance electronic copy of this book in order to complete this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.