How to Succeed {When Organizing Makes You Feel Like A Failure}

How to Succeed When Organizing Makes You Feel Like A Failure

“Now I remember why I stopped making lists,” I said to him, as I headed up the stairs for bed.

“What?” he said.

Lists. I stopped making lists quite a few years ago, because I never could get it all done. I just stopped writing stuff down, so that I wouldn’t feel like a complete failure at the end of the day.”

He met me at the bottom of the stairs, and I assumed the hugging position –me on the bottom step, so that I could wrap my arms around his neck from a flatfooted position.

I got this amazing planner that Lisa Jacobson is always raving about, and I thought I would give it a go. But I see the list I’ve made for the day, and I’ve only accomplished a quarter of the work on it. It’s impossible to do everything that needs done. Everything takes longer than I think it will, and so many unexpected stuff happens in a day that I can’t see coming.”

“Maybe you should go to bed,” he said gently in my ear. “Go to bed and not think about it tonight.”

I considered his advice.

“No. I should go to bed and lay awake worrying about everything I haven’t gotten done,” I said.

We laughed. You can see what he’s up against.

Over Christmas break I had been talking to my daughter about how much time I have now that I’m an empty nester. I told her I wanted to be more purposeful with my day and not waste any of it, so I was going to try using Lisa’s planner.

New Year's Resolutions

Letter to Lisa

But it would appear I actually don’t have that much time after all, once I see my chores on paper. So, I’m writing a letter to the editor.

Dear Lisa (pause for inhalation in paper bag),

I can’t do all of this! And I don’t even have any kids at home. How in the world can we women write down what we should do and not hyperventilate? How do we manage the magnitude of our responsibilities when we see ten things that need done, but reality dictates we’ll accomplish maybe only a few of them in the day?

Please respond.

Quick –before this lovely planner gets pitched in the garbage bin!

Your friend from Montana,

Christy Fitzwater

And her reply….

My dear Christy,

I just love you. 

And you crack me up!

I mean, not that I’m laughing at your pain, of course. I hear you, my friend.

But please, please don’t throw your new lovely planner in the trash!

So I’ve been thinking about this dilemma ever since I got your funny little note here. Funny, but real too.

Here’s the way I like to look at it…

It’s kind of like budgeting your money when you go to the grocery store. If you only have $100 to spend, then you’d better well make a list and make sure you’ve done “the math” so that you don’t find the cashier announcing loudly for all in line to hear, “Um, Lady, your card didn’t go through – says, INSUFFICIENT FUNDS.”  (And I might just know this because it’s what happened to me the day before yesterday. #superembarassing).

But your time and your energy are just like that! You only have so much and then it’s “insufficient funds” when you reach your limit.

And if you know that going in, then you can budget accordingly.

We both know that we can’t buy everything we want at the store. Some things have to wait. Some things have to be “saved up” for…and there are other things we might not ever get to have in this lifetime.

And that’s okay. That’s life.

Same with time. You have limited resources. You are not “independently wealthy!”

So go ahead and make your lists. Just stay in your budget.

And when someone asks you to head up the new committee at church, enjoy the freedom of saying, “I’d love to…but I’m sorry, I can’t afford it.”

OR if a new friend asks you to coffee then feel free to say, “Why, yes! I have a special savings account set aside just for that very thing!” (or something to that effect).

And if your entire day goes haywire? Then confidently turn the page and start a fresh one – without looking back – trusting tomorrow to God’s faithful provision.

Now take a deep breath. Pray over your list. Then consider what you want to do, what you can do, and what you’re determined to do.

And hold it all with an open hand because our Heavenly Father is mightier than our daily planner. Amen?

With much love,


*For those who might be wondering, yes, Christy really did write me this note…and I really did reply here. What are friends for? 🙂

This post may contain affiliate links through which Club31Women might get a small compensation – with no additional cost to you.  See my disclosure policy here.

Blameless: Now available

Blameless by Christy FitzwaterWe’re so excited to announce the new release of Christy Fitzwater’s book, Blameless: Living A Life Free From Guilt and Shame with Foreword by Lisa Jacobson of Club31Women!

I’ve read hundreds of books in my life, many of them very good. But few have made me laugh so much, given me so much hope, and made me so eager to share its pages with my friends. ~ Elisabeth

Blameless is now available in both print and digital form (click links below):

Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon Kindle

Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner 2016*More on Lisa’s favorite planner and why she is “always raving about it”: Why I’m Resolved to Be Better Organized {and the Best Tool I’ve Found to Help}. 

100 Words of Affirmation Your Son/Daughter Needs to Hear

Matt and Lisa Jacobson want you to discover the powerful ways you can build your children up in love with the beautiful words you choose to say every day–words that every son and daughter needs to hear.

These affirmation books offer you one hundred phrases to say to your son or daughter – along with short, personal stories and examples – that deeply encourage, affirm, and inspire.

So start speaking a kind and beautiful word into their lives daily and watch your children–and your relationship with them–transform before your eyes.

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