Getting Organized

I’ve felt pretty good this week.  There are probably several reasons for this, one of which being that Alex is finally for the first time EVER actually kinda doing the same thing every day in a predictable sort of way.  Having not had any sort of predictability to my life for the past five months has been really  tough on me, as I am a person who likes to know what’s going to happen next.  I’m sure that when he starts his next leap in about a week that all of it will go straight in the crapper and everything will completely change again, but yeah.  I’m enjoying it for now.

Last week I kinda had a meltdown.  Or a few.  However you want to slice it.  I started trying to seriously think about why I was feeling so unstable all the time.  I always felt like I was never accomplishing anything, even when I had a little bit of time.  But why?  I decided it was because I wasn’t organized at all.  That meant that whenever I had a free minute my mind overwhelmed me with all the things, both leisurely and dutifully, that I never had time to do, and I panicked a bit.  And ended up doing nothing but running in a circle.

Before Alex was born, before I was pregnant, and before we moved to this house I actually had a bit of a sharply curving laminate/velcro love binge and went out and bought a laminator and some velcro and made myself this fancy schedule to make myself a better housekeeper (Because, of course, I thought I had no time to do anything because I was working- HA!  Maybe once I went shopping all I wanted and watched all the TV I wanted and did all the reading and crocheting I wanted, THEN I had no time for housekeeping.  That’s probably more like it.  How spoiled.)….

So, I’ve dug it out and revamped it to suit my current needs.  It was actually almost perfect already because the entire purpose of its design is to keep my expectations of myself so low, while keeping the rewards so high, that I am almost guaranteed success.

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Sorry for the fuzzy picture. My husband has all these fancy lenses for his camera now, and I have no idea how to use them. 😦 I’m going to have to ask him for lessons.

Each day has space for maybe 3 icons, so I can have one or two main objectives for the day, plus space to remind myself that we’re going out for dinner or that it’s Mother’s Day or whatever.  Then, below that, there’s a space for all the teeny tiny little jobs that absolutely must be done every day.  When I do them, I can feel so satisfied with myself because it was something on my schedule.  It’s genius for anyone who’s a low achiever or just really has no time for anything but needs to feel like they’re doing something.  OR for someone like me who has so little time that I need to really pinpoint one thing to accomplish in a day and then focus on only that.

Each day has a specific task.  Monday is laundry.  Tuesday is cleaning. Wednesday is grocery shopping/menu-making, Thursday is vacuuming, Friday is preparing food for the weekend.  Each day I also focus on a specific room or area in the house to tidy or clean or organize.  It will change from week to week, but the areas are #1 living room, #2, kitchen/dining room, #3 entryway/blue room, #4 our bedroom, #5 bathroom(s), #6 the nursery.  On Tuesday my focus was the bathroom and it was cleaning day, so I cleaned the main bathroom.  Just that.  Nothing else.  And, according to my schedule, that equaled success!  Woo hoo!  I also put on there the days we wash diapers because I seriously can’t remember whatever schedule my husband came up with when I was totally removed from reality postpartum.  I actually suck at the diaper schedule.

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Today was Thursday.  As you can see from my cute little icons, it was vacuuming day and I needed to tidy the kitchen/dining room.  My father-in-law actually vacuumed so I totally got a freebie there (bless him!), but I did tidy a bit.  My in-laws are staying living with us for a few days right now, though, so it’s a little more difficult because I can’t “put away” their stuff.  And then the biking icon was to let me know that this was the day my husband was going biking after work.

Notice the I put a sewing icon on tomorrow because I really want some time to sew.  We’ll see if it happens.  I need to tidy the entryway because it’s a disaster.  I’ll probably get out of food prep for the weekend because my mother-in-law cooks a lot when she’s here.  I’m not complaining about that.  I do need to water my plants, though.

My daily tasks are: emptying and refilling the dishwasher, caring for my cat (feed, brush, clip claws, put on claw caps, clean litterbox), caring for our birds bird (one of them died this week and, honestly, I’m just ready to be done with birds for awhile.  They make a huge mess and even if I vacuum every day, Alex will still be getting birdseed and feathers and stuff all over his hands when he starts crawling… and in his mouth… gross!  Anyway, I don’t have time to spend with them like I should and I constantly feel like a bad bird mom.  I’d rather have fish.), watering the garden (if it ever gets built- hello!), and taking my vitamins and minerals.

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When I’m done with something (and this may be the best part), I get to put it in the “all done” slot.  I didn’t have this feature before, so I’m really excited about it.  Alex helped me make those by stapling a piece of flannel to a laminated page.  It would have taken only 1/10th as long without his help.  Very tough to use scissors and a stapler with a baby grabbing for them.

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Anyway, I’m pretty excited about my schedule.  When I have a moment to breathe during the day, and I think about all the billions and billions of tasks that need to be done, I refer to my schedule and can usually accomplish something without panicking too badly. I know it’s not much, and some of you seasoned moms might be on the floor laughing at my paltry expectations and my severely lacking housekeeping skills, but I will tell you this: it’s a heck of a lot more than I was getting done before.  So there.  Laugh all you want, but this is a start, and it makes me feel so much better!  Hopefully as the months pass I will figure out how to do more than one thing a day.  🙂

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kendra
    May 17, 2013 @ 11:36:54

    this is awesome. and a very smart way to get things done! I have been working the past 6 weeks on something similar for our family. having small tasks each day really helps me feel accomplished. and i try not to worry about it if i don’t get it done. which is actually the hardest part since i am a perfectionist. and i REALLY like your chart.

    Reply

    • travelnole
      May 21, 2013 @ 17:32:40

      Thanks! I’m a chart/list kinda person. Makes me feel better if it’s not just in my head. 🙂 Yeah, one of the most difficult parts of becoming a mom for me is just not being able to really get done in a day what I would like to. The best plans and efforts can be thwarted by the small one. Sigh.

      Reply

  2. M
    May 22, 2013 @ 11:35:59

    Super cute idea! I love it. I love checking things off of a list, this would be such a fun thing for me. I don’t think it’s laughable, I think it’s great.

    Reply

    • travelnole
      May 22, 2013 @ 13:15:35

      Thanks! It is fun! I should have included a pic of the whiteboard where we write our shopping list and long term to-do’s. I LOVE wiping stuff off of there. 🙂

      Reply

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