Getting Things Done...
As I sit here thinking about the rest of the week ahead, I hardly feel qualified to deliver any kind of advice on organization, time management or redirecting chaos to a new place since I am the one mostly seeking advice on the subject. But the madness has to stop somewhere! That's why I have found a few simple things that make my life so much easier.
The last 6 months have thrown our regular schedules out the window. Maybe you're a "two parent both full time working" family. Maybe you're a "one parent works, one stays home" family. Or maybe you're a "single parent responsible for everything" household. We are all doing the best we can given this situation. I have some fail proof ways to successfully add time back to your busy schedule and they're not as difficult as you may think!
- MEAL PLANNING. I know, I know, you've heard it before. But seriously, it works for SO many reasons. I choose one cookbook or magazine per week to keep it simple. I have a rotating cycle so that we don't get bored. I make dinners to to last two nights because I am blessed with a family who is willing to eat leftovers! I try to keep the meals as kid friendly as I can but the boys will usually try whatever it is I choose. If you really want to dial it up a notch, outsource the shopping! I have been using Instacart for the past year and absolutely love it. It's worth every penny to save countless hours shopping. Along with saving time, we also save money because I have a list already made out and I'm not picking up this or that in the store. I usually sit down for about 20 minutes on Fridays and plan out the next week's meals. I write down the meal title, page number of the book and hang it on the refrigerator for the week. I usually focus on dinners but now that school is starting, I will add in a week's worth of lunches too. One more piece of advice, prep the food when it comes in. I cut up the vegetables or fruits when they come in so they are easy to grab for a quick snack and put them in a food saver container like Tupperware.
- CLOTHES FOR THE WEEK. Since my son started kindergarten and wears a uniform, for the last two years I have had his clothes ready to go for the entire week. Shirts, shorts/pants, belt, socks and shoes ready to go. I take about 20 minutes (usually on Sundays) and make sure that his clothes are steamed and looking presentable and I hang them in his closet, ready to go for the school week. I do the same for my scrubs since I work twice a week as well. Having everything ready to go for the entire week takes the guesswork out of gathering things in the morning while everyone is rushed and scrambling to get out the door.
- USING A CALENDAR. Sure, the calendar on my phone is great. I use mine all the time. But do you know what else has been an amazing asset to me (especially my photo business)? Having a calendar that I can write in. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I write out daily, weekly, and monthly to-do tasks to help my business grow. The same can be said about, let's say, a calendar for kids. I have had this discussion many many times with my friends over the last six months...it goes a little something like this: "What do you do all day with the kids? I am home but I feel like NOTHING is ever accomplished and we just get through the day." A good friend of mine shared her calendar that is broken down into hour time slots and it makes SO MUCH SENSE!! It's hanging on the wall and when we are home all day, we try to stick to that schedule and it makes our days so much better!
- KEEP UP WITH BASIC CHORES. Ugh....this sounds so boring. And these chores ARE boring. Do you know what's worse? For me, it's watching those things that pile up and then having to take even more time to clean it up. Dishes, laundry, mail sorting, and toys... those are the first few things that come to mind that spiral out of control quickly. I have been making an extra effort over the last year to sort the mail when it comes. Junk mail goes right to the recycling instead of collecting on the counter. It seems like loading, unloading, reloading the dishwasher is a never ending task but it saves the dishes from being piled up in the sink. It really only takes a minute to load the breakfast dishes instead of letting them sit until dinner. The kids toys drive me nuts when they are scattered everywhere. We have been making a conscious effort to play one game at a time and clean it up before moving onto something else with a million pieces like a puzzle. If we expect them to live any sort of organized life, we need to lead by example. If we don't keep things tidy, we can't really expect them to as either. They are much more willing to clean up when they see us doing it.
- BASKETS ARE UNDERRATED. I am completely guilty of searching Pinterest for organizational ideas for just about anything. And there are some CLEVER hacks out there for just about all of our sorting and organizing needs. But some of those ideas take time to make or hang or just seem like a lot of effort. I have found that in a pinch, baskets are my new best friend. I use them for toys, for kitchen clutter and random things laying around. I even have a basket for "things I will eventually get rid of". You can hide just about anything in a decorative basket!
I hope these tips are helpful!! Try implementing one at a time and see how much time you will save! My personal favorite is the meal planning one. It saves me so much time every week!! I would love to hear any more stories on time saving, organization that you have!