Michele Quigley - Catholic Time Management - IHM National Conference Notes

In her charming and familiar way, like we were all sitting around a table together, Michele Quigley spoke about "ideas and inspiration for creating an atmosphere of order and peace"... IN GOD'S TIME.
Michele Quigley - IHM National Conference - 2016
Here are some bullet notes from that talk.  To hear it in its entirety, on and after August 1st  you can find  audio of it HERE, along with other talks from this 2-day Catholic homeschooling/parenting conference.  

BREAKING NEWS, Michele is writing a book!

*  Put first things first. Nourish your relationship with God. It can feel selfish to take time alone to pray but it isn't selfish, it's self-care. 

*  By nature we are self-focused and though that gets distorted by sin, "Love your neighbor as yourself" assumes we WILL love ourselves. And we should --as God does. Desiring the highest and best good.

*  You can't give what you don't have. The busier you are the more you need that prayer time. Self-care, being in a relationship with God and nourishing that relationship as the primary one in our lives fills us with love, and that overflows into our lives and relationships. Ask God to desire it and ask Him to help you find the space for it. He will.

*  Considering journaling (pen to paper) as a means of gaining insight and clarity in my daily struggles. Growth in holiness comes through self-awareness. Journaling can be incredibly helpful for understanding yourself.

*  Write by hand, not electronically. There's an intimacy to writing by hand that is missed when typing. Avoid the distractions of the computer and devices for this time.

*  What comes next?
Make a list of anything and everything that's on your mind in regards to managing your time and organizing your life. From the big to the small, the monumental to the mundane. List all of it.

* Ask and answer these questions:

Do I get the things done that NEED to be done? If not, why not?

Do I get the things done that I WANT to do? If not, why not?

What isn't working? or What do I need to get a handle on?

What can I drop? What would I LIKE to drop?

What's working? Don't skip this one! You need to be able to identify what IS working to help you find your rhythm and get a handle on what isn't working.

What are my priorities? What's a priority for one person doesn't even make the list for another so really take the time to think and pray about this. Then, go back through the list and ask yourself how all of the above lines up with your priorities. You might be surprised.

Be completely and brutally honest when writing out this list.

*  Building the plan.

I didn't want a schedule. I wanted free, flowing peaceful and calm days with my children but without some system of order and structure that didn't happen. Without finding our rhythm, all I did was manage chaos.

Each family's rhythm is unique because each family is unique.
Use the list to find your rhythm and build on that. The answers to "what's working" will be the key to finding your rhythm, the answers to "what's not working" will help you discover your disruptions.

Work to find the natural flow. Anything that goes against your family's natural rhythm won't last long.

Emergencies happen. That's normal but it shouldn't be the norm.

Stay flexible. Any system of time management has to be structured enough the work while still being flexible enough for your family.

Don't be a slave to the system, make the system your slave.

Is the answer as simple as "getting things done." Sometimes, but  productivity is not a virtue. (big laughs)

Sometimes something as simple as thinking ahead and planning accordingly can alleviate the stress of the chaos in the moment.

Always put love first. You can't do everything. Figure out what is most important and arrange everything else around those things.

*  Some obstacles to effective time management:

Perfectionism. Letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, or good enough.

Not delegating because no one does it as well as you do.

Procrastination. Waiting until the last minute. Doing everything but what you need to be doing. Really just another part of perfectionism.

Distractions. The key is knowing they will come and working to minimize them.

Underestimating. Most people underestimate the amount of time it will take to do something or get somewhere. Homeschoolers tend to be chronically late.

Comparing. Don't compare. No matter how much you think you see or understand you are only seeing a snapshot of another's life. Don't compare those snapshots to your big picture. It will never match. Glean the good from others but don't compare.

*  So how do you gain control of your time? You don't. Time moves forward regardless of what you do but you can manage your actions, what YOU do to keep things flowing smoothly.

*  As you work to form a plan of action strive to keep it simple. Any system that's too complicated will likely be quickly abandoned.

*  There is NO perfect plan, system or method, only the one that works for YOU.

Remember that ultimately all time belongs to God. 
May we do good with the time He has given us.

Mrs. Michele Quigley is the wife of Tim, mother of ten, grandmother, veteran homeschooler, and a convert of 30+ years to the Catholic faith. She is an active member of the St. Anthony’s Latin Mass community, and has worked as a catechist and RCIA director at St. Mary’s parish in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where she lives with her family.
Michele is the creator of numerous tools and resources for Catholic homeschooling mothers, including the popular Catholic Daily Planner and Mater Amabilis, a rigorous, living books curriculum that is available free online. She speaks nationally on a variety of topics, including the liturgical year, time management, family life, and how Charlotte Mason’s philosophy can be adapted for use by faithful Catholics. Michele is a contributor to the website O Night Divine, and a new book, Why Should I Learn This? Her most recent initiative is Grace Days™, a ministry she co-created to offer encouragement and support to homeschooling mothers in their vocation.
In addition to her work in the homeschooling community, Michele has served as executive producer of and actress on “Ordinary”, a web-based Catholic television show entering its second season. In her spare time, Michele pursues her favorite hobbies, which include photography and sewing. Her photographs, and information about Grace Days, planners, and much more can be found at her website.

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