An upfront disclaimer: I’m no organisation expert, but I do want to help you get organised once and for all. I’m a work-from-home mum who is damn-well determined to find some balance in life and I’ve managed to pick up a few tricks along the way.
Each week I’ll bring you something that works for me that you can try at your place. The end result will hopefully mean you can get organised and feel less stressed about day-to-day #mumlyfe.
First up to get organised: scheduling. It all starts with scheduling. If you want to get organised, each week you’ve got to know what you need to get done and the amount of time you need to allocate to get it done.
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How to schedule
You will need:
• A notepad
• This weekly calendar or your own version (just make sure it is set in hourly blocks)
• A pencil, eraser and highlighter (you are going got be moving things around)
• A big cup of tea or coffee and a clear head.
Alright, so I cannot stress the importance of scheduling to ensure you have enough time in the day to do what needs to be done, and hopefully with some time left over to relax too.
The first thing you need to do is sit down and work out exactly what you need to get done in the week.
• Make a list, however long it needs to be, but be sure to include everything – meal prep, getting kids ready and school drop offs, your work commitments, kids sports and activities, regular appointments or activities, homework and housework.
• If you need to travel to and from work each day, build that time into your work commitment hours.
• If you work for yourself or work at home, you need to set a limit on how many hours a day you are prepared to commit to your work and then schedule those hours in.
Schedule your time
• Cross things off your list as you schedule them in and move things around if they are flexible so that the timings work for you.
• Highlight the things that cannot be moved, but as for everything else – Can you move your evening gym to the morning to give you an extra hour at night?
• Can you check and respond to emails once or twice a day rather than 3 times throughout the day etc so you don’t get distracted and disappear into the black hole otherwise know as the inbox?
If at the end of this exercise you have things left on your list that you couldn’t fit into your schedule, it means you need a reality check.
You officially have too much on your plate
You need to think about moving things around, outsourcing if possible, or perhaps just letting some things go.
• If you are working full time but you cannot find the time to clean the house or tackle the ironing yada yada yada, can you fiddle your budget to free up some dollars to pay for help?
• If you find your are losing a lot of time in your day procrastinating on social media, surfing the net, playing on Facebook and reading blogs (ummm, I may be guilty here), schedule some time in to do those things so you can enjoy it guilt free.
• If you are finding you have no time left to do homework, it’s a constant battle to eat dinner on time, or getting the kids to bed at a reasonable time is damn near impossible, then you need to ask yourself seriously – do the kids (or yourself) have too many extra curricular activities going on?
We cut back to one sport per child per term and we moved homework for the younger kids to two nights per week on days where we had no sport (leaving time for reading every night). The kids weren’t entirely happy about it at first, but they got used to it and they now have extra free time to play with their friends and just be kids.
• Make sure you put room into your schedule for you. Even if it is just 30 minutes a day that belongs to you, you deserve it, you work hard so don’t deny yourself some time for self-care. If you have a partner, then make sure you include time with them too!
So there you go, this scheduling thing goes part of the way to explaining why I am such an OCD freak. I like routine, I like knowing what is expected of me and I relax more when I have a plan in place to manage it all.