Organize Your Life in 1 Single Afternoon
When you work from home, your office can go from clean and tidy, to disaster in about 8 seconds. You know what I mean. The kids come in and dump crayons, legos and anything else they can find... and well, now your head is a mess too. Every Sunday I get prepared for the week and this is how I do it.
OMGoodness - Are you so overwhelmed sometimes that you just want to throw up your hands? You don't know where to begin? I know the feeling. I have to fight living in and becoming a complete and total mess every. single. day. Since I work from home, my office (fancy word for room above the garage) is my haven. I have casually and quietly decorated it. It's a work in progress but it's mine.
And then my girls come in and the room explodes with markers and coloring pages and food everywhere! Then in a heartbeat they take off and run to the next thing! Sometimes, most of the time, with me running after them! What happened to my office?? It was so nice before...
Honestly, this was a metaphor for my life. It's clean, it's messy, it's clean, it's messy. Total mom life!
There are a few things that help me get motivated. You may agree or not but once in a while a girl's just gotta do what a girl's just got do.
Sundays I prepare for the week ahead and this is how it goes.
1. Get Caffeinated.
Yep, I said it. Drink a cup of coffee or have some iced tea. Black tea. I am a zombie many afternoons but I don't have time to lay low. I don't have the desire or ability to crash on the sofa as if I were a 22 year old with all the time world. I don't have that luxury. So Starbucks here I come. Tejava - set me straight.
Maybe for you it's better to get those endorphins going and you need to take a brisk walk. Skip the caffeine. Skip the sugar (and I really mean that) and go for a walk. Do some jumping jacks! Get yourself energized for a productive afternoon.
2. Let the Kids Watch Cartoons
Yep, I said that too. I know who I am talking to. I am talking to that mom who wants to do the right things for their kids, the mom that wants to have a neat house and dinners on the tables. She wants to have her side gig, her successful side gig. She wants it all or at least a little bit more.
And here I am saying it is okay to put the tv on and put your kids front of it. (Now, I can't guarantee how long they will stay there but a few minutes with their attention elsewhere is the point.) Get your kids in a position where they are focused on something besides you and where they are not making more of a mess.
I know that's easier said than done. But our goal here is to prepare you (energy) and your family for a productive evening.
3. Straighten Your House. Don't Clean It. Straighten It.
I'm a modern woman and a modern mom. I can't believe I am actually you to clean up! My mother would fall flat on the floor with that advice coming out of my mouth. (You'll understand more with my most popular post about my relationship with my mom.)
Here's the things about cleaning up. It clears out your mind too. It clears out the clutter of your house and your mind. Frankly, you feel better with a straight room or house.
Here's what I do to power through and straighten up as quickly as I can without just moving piles from one place to another.
- Start with the kitchen. Clean out the sinks, load the dishwasher and clear the counters. Phew! Once you have done that you have made it through the hardest part!
- Clear out the toys and the random items in your family and dining rooms. Move anything that doesn't belong in these rooms out. Move them to the stairs to go up if that's where they belong. Don't move them upstairs at this point, just put the stuff on the stairs for now! Clear out the family room of anything that doesn't belong there and put that stuff in piles to go where it does belong. Make sense? If it goes upstairs, put the stuff on the stairs. If it goes in the garage, there's a pile by the door to take to the garage. Focus on cleaning out one room at a time.
- Fluff pillows. Wipe tables clean.
- Once the family room and dining rooms are straight, you are ready to move to another room that is downstairs. Move that pile for the garage into the garage and put away what you need to. So on and so on and so on until that floor is straight.
- Now it's time to move upstairs. Here's where I recruit my kids to help me. All they need to do is help me move the stuff I have piled up on the stairs up.
- Now that we are upstairs, the clothes go in the hamper.
- The beds get made if they aren't already. (I love to make my bed in the morning. It makes me immediately feel as if I am in nice surroundings and I am productive within minutes of waking!)
- The piles get distributed to the place they belong.
Phew! You did it! You should be proud and happy to have a straight home again! That part, admittedly, is the hardest part sometimes. Honestly, I throw my headphones in and listen to a book on Audible or a great Podcast! (Ummm hellooo of course!)
4. Feel Good About What You Are Doing.
Listen, you're making progress already. When you clean up and clean out you are doing good things for your family and your soul. It's time, now is the time, to feel good that you are actively taking steps to get organized. Setting the intention and following through is something you are doing right now. This is it. This work is what makes the difference. Feel good about it and carry on.
5. Next Make Your Lists.
I love lists. Don't you love lists? I also need them too. If my list is too much of an
- Meals - what and where are you and your family going to eat. It doesn't have to be elaborate, you can eat out every night. The answer doesn't matter but oh-my how helpful it will be to know what you are having for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- To Do - Do your brain dump here. Now. Let it go, let it all out. Don't worry about doing any of that now, just get your list pulled together.
- Follow Up - Who is waiting on you to respond? Who needs what from you?
- Phone Calls - What phones calls do you need to make and follow up on? Who have you been meaning to call and haven't done quite yet?
- Preparation for Tomorrow - This list is often my life saver. I write out what I need to remember for tomorrow. What the needs to be packed for the girls, what needs to be pulled aside or does anything need to be completed. I am constantly forgetting different things for the girls whether it is homework or flip flops or money for ice cream. It's always something but when I plan it out ahead, I have a better shot of getting it right.
- What you need to do this week - Pull together a list of things that need to get done this week. Period. Star or highlight the important ones from your original to-do list or create a new list.
Now you are probably feeling a mix of accomplishment and overwhelm. Don't let the overwhelm stop you from taking the next steps. Often times we create our lists to get the things out of our heads. If you take one (or two) final steps, you will be further than you have been before.
6. Calendar Blocking
Calendar blocking is a funny beast. There's not an exact science to it but there are some real benefits of taking a look at your scheduled calendar and then filling in your To-Do List items during your open time.
- First thing you want to enter into your calendar is your appointments and activities that are non-negotiable. Do the kids have basketball practice?? Do you have work meetings? Or a Moms Night Out? All of that goes into your calendar, first and foremost.
- Once you have all of your appointments in your calendar you can now see where you "free" time is. There's not a lot of it I am sure! In your open spots, enter in when you are going to do what. Use the lists you created earlier to fill in the things you need to do this week, the phone calls and preparation you need to complete. Fill in your calendar to the best you can.
Now you are set for the rest of the week. You have a solid idea what is going to happen and what needs to happen the rest of the week.
Your life is organized to point where you are starting off on the right foot. Clean, ready to go, knowledgeable.
Be kind to yourself, allow that things are going to change and work your schedule.
Good luck!! Let me know how it goes!