This month, I’m sharing some of what I’m doing to whip myself into gear about getting organized and getting on a routine!
Last week, I shared how I worked on doing some general organizing and cleaning with a focus on kids’ spaces. Today I’m pleased to share that I’ve had some tremendous success in organizing my days over the past week, and I want to share 4specific things I’ve done to get there.
Change #1: Wake up Earlier! For years now I’ve classified myself as NOT a morning person. But I also know that on those rare occasions where I have gotten up earlier, the day just goes oh-so-much better. Here’s the problem, though. I always felt that if I woke up early, the first thing I “should” do is workout. No wonder I’ve struggled getting up early! Let’s be honest: it’s hard to wake up at 5:30 and go – hooray! Let’s go for a run! At least, it is for me. So what I did is this: I found something that would be easy for me to wake up to.
I’m so excited about this one…I CLEANED MY OFFICE people. I mean, really cleaned. To the point I actually WANT to be in there now. Let me remind you of the very sad before shot:
I still have more stuff to sort through, but in the mean time, I have a beautiful, usable space that inspires me to get out of bed each morning. So for the last week, I’ve been able to get up somewhere between 5:30 and 6, make myself a cup of coffee and work for about an hour or so in peace and quiet. It’s made a tremendous difference for me to have that quiet, alone time first thing in the morning. (And I make sure to then put on my workout clothes first thing so I still keep working out important…just not at 5:30 in the morning important.)
And all of these leads me to change #2….
Change #2: Moved the Laptop OUT of the Kitchen. This very simple change has made a huge impact on my days. I used to keep the laptop in the kitchen, and I didn’t realize what a horrid distraction it was until it was OUT. When it was time to work on the laptop, it was easy to grow distracted by cooking or dishes in the kitchen…and when it was time to cook or clean, it was easy to grow distracted by important things happening on the computer (such as if Failblog posted anything new). Having this separation of office and kitchen has been a very good thing for me. I waste less time and am far more productive!
Change #3: Mapped my Month. I know many of you adore FlyLady, but I just struggled with getting her enormous emails every night telling me what to do. However, I figure I could glean from her the idea of making a master cleaning schedule with specific days assigned to tasks that make sense for MY home.
I started by writing a list of all the chores I’d need to do to clean my home, breaking it out by room. Next, I assigned a day for each chore. Here’s what I ended up with (click to see larger):
I have the same three items virtually every day:
- Sort Mail.
- Dishes, Counters.
I realized that clothes, papers, and dishes contribute the most to my level of stress, so I want to make sure I’m taking time out every day for those items. And…it’s working. Really working! My friend Susan stopped by yesterday and I didn’t have this “oh crap” feeling about having her walk into my messy house. Because IT WASN’T MESSY. It’s been clean all week. Eye opening, folks.
Change #4: Mapped my Days. I am re-reading the fabulous book Organized Simplicity for book club this month (DO read if you haven’t – it’s life changing!). In the book, the author mentions she has a FREE Daily Docket download. I’ve been using this for a solid week now and it is quite simply the best daily checklist I’ve ever come across. (And I was a hardcore Franklin Covey girl back in the day.)
The docket contains a place for your schedule, your work life, your home life, dinner plans, and even working out! I also like how you highlight your three most important items every day, so even if you don’t get everything crossed off (and I have yet to get everything crossed off!), you can keep an eye on the goal of finishing those most important items.
I now feel like my days have some order to them. Not only do I know what my top goals are each day, I don’t have this feeling waking up going, what’s happening today? I fill out the docket the night before so when I wake up and sit down at my desk, I know immediately what needs to get done.
I know it’s only been a week, but I feel so excited, so energized about how this is all clicking for my brain, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to keep it all up! Here are some of the results of making these changes:
- Less stress. I’m not worried about whether my son’s soccer uniform has been washed because I’m keeping up with the laundry. I’m not worried if someone wants to drop by the house, because it’s clean. I no longer wonder where I put the envelopes, scissors, or pencils.
- More productive time. Multi-tasking is often trumped as this important skill, but there is something to be said about focusing quality time and attention on a single task. When I must focus on blogging, I’m blogging. Or cleaning, I’m cleaning. This also means that last night I was able to spend quality time with my kiddos without this nagging feeling that I “should” be cleaning or doing anything else. I feel like tasks have assigned times now, and I’m reducing the distractions.
- Easier meal planning. I assigned Saturdays for meal planning and each day, I refer to my meal plan to start dinner that day. There’s been less of a “dinner time scramble” each day. No doubt this saves money as well!
- More optimistic. For awhile, I’ve written off being organized thinking it’s something that was beyond me. I think the key was finding something that works for my life and home.
I know I have more tweaks to make to this, and my goal is to be consistent and stick with this!
I’d love to hear from you. If you struggle with a routine and getting organized, what do you think’s holding you back? If you’ve done really well on a routine, what’s worked for you?