2013/02/09

Organization and time management

I have a confession to make.  I’m obsessed with having freezer meals stocked up in my deep freeze at all times. 

Why? Well, there is a little background to this…

Throughout my life at different periods of times I’ve had varying degrees of organization and time management.  To my knowledge, my mother may know different, I’ve always been pretty neat and kept my room and living space tidy but that does not necessarily translate into organized.  My roommate in college Lauren and my sidekick in nursing school Brianne can attest to the fact that I never felt the need to plan ahead and study even though I knew from previous experience this was not the best method and caused me both emotional and gastrointestinal distress.  I was so bad at cramming before a test that I actually fell asleep during one final and the professor woke me up and said, “Miss Goodman, I believe we’ve done all we can here….” as he took my Scantron from me (which may or may not have had some drool on it).

Disorganization and mismanagement of time continued with me as I started out as a single girl on my own living in the city paying my own bills.  Remembering to pay those bills on time was a skill that eluded me simply because of my lack of organization and time awareness. In my defense I was working night shift for the first six months and basically remained a zombie during that time day or night.  Looking back I realize I wasn’t living beyond my means, I simply never remembered that they actually expected you to mail the check. 
My process was this:
1) I’d open my mail
2) Put all the bills in a nice folder labeled “BILLS” (because putting things in folders clearly means you are organized)
3) Put aforementioned folder in my office space on my computer desk
4) Receive a letter a couple of weeks later with bold bright colored letters and lots of explanation points that let me know a nice person would come to my house to discontinue my services unless I got their money to them pronto. 

Why I didn't just write the check as soon as I got the bill and put it in my mailbox to be picked up, I don't know but that was my process.  There were many faults with this process the major ones being that for-crying-out-loud-people-deserve-to-get-their-money-on-time and generally there were always extra fees and expenses involved which now made my one income household teeter dangerously close to above my means.  Thankfully now I’ve learned that direct deposit and bill pay are my best friends and so my “BILLS” folder has been moved to File 13.

Anyway, in the last few years I have become much better at maintaining organization and managing my time. (This is out of necessity mind you, I'd remain un-organized and bad at time management if my continuing education didn't pose a threat to human safety because I had no idea how to deal with the patient I was seeing due to lack of preparation or the fact that I have a small child that requires nourishment on a regular basis.)

Freezer meals have become a big part of my improvement in this area of my life. All frozen, some are crockpot meals that are thrown together and then just dumped in the crockpot before I go to work or others are meals I’ve already prepared and they just have to be thawed and warmed in the oven.  This makes it super easy to have a good home-cooked meal each night and doesn’t mean I’m in the kitchen for an hour after work (meal to table time this way is about 5-10 minutes).  Annie loves to help out in the kitchen but her attention only goes so long and so when I’m in there prepping and cooking for close to an hour and then cleaning up afterward I start to feel guilty about needing to spend time with her and Philip.  If I don’t cook or throw a boxed meal together I feel guilty about the saturated fat or over-processed food I’m serving to my family (unless we eat Braum’s cheeseburgers because that is nothing but happiness in every bite people).

Looking back at this I may think, what’s the problem with having plenty of meals stocked up?  Yummy home-cooked food in no time = win-win for all involved. Except for the fact that I used the word “obsessed.”  A truer description there could not be.  At this time we have over 20 meals frozen in our freezer and I am reluctant to use them.  Every time I take one out I think, “Surely I could make something quickly when I get home so we don’t have to use one up.” How silly is that?  So now we’ll only have 19? Last weekend I prepared eight meals in about 45 minutes (yes, I have this down to a science) after our bi-weekly grocery run and then I even made a few frozen breakfast items too.  (the breakfast is because it is Annie’s favorite meal, right behind snack, and I’ve hung my head in shame more once with the creations I’ve assembled for her in a pinch a few mornings) and still every time I pull something out to use I cringe.

Hopefully admitting this is the turning point – pretty much it has to be because we are running out of room. We already have some of the frozen pork from the half hog we bought last year and our beef supply courtesy of the 3g Ranch in the freezer so it’s not like I can continue to stockpile. 

To make matters worse, we had teriakyi beef, beef enchiladas, king ranch chicken, chicken chili, scalloped ham and potatoes, chicken curry, beef fajitas, chicken tetrazinni, baked ziti, ham and beans, fettuccini alfredo, and salsa chicken to choose from the other night and I went with making grilled cheese and tomato basil soup (from a can, shudder in horror if you must) to save a freezer meal which defeats the whole purpose behind the freezer meals.  True to form my loyal and sweet diners both said to me “Thank you for supper” as they sipped their soup and dipped their triangle sandwiches. 

That had to be the lowest point - talk about heaping burning coals onto one’s head…needless to say we’ll be eating beef enchiladas tonight…


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I'm blessed with fun days, happy moments, & precious memories...this is where I store some of them.