Sunday, January 8, 2012

Back In the Game!

After my last, pitiful post, I bucked up, went out for dinner with a friend, had a nice planning session with Tom and got my act in gear. I'm doing so much better. I really start to lose it when I start to lose control. So, I made a few lists, started with small tasks and really made a dent in what I needed to get done last week. Sometimes, I just have so many un-fun things on my list, it gets me down. Getting some of those things done, realizing they weren't so bad, was very therapeutic.

So, my newest goal is to get more organized around the house. I am in the office three days a week and I'm home with the kids two days and the weekend. I've fallen into the habit of considering my days at home my days "off." That really gets us out of sorts. Laundry doesn't get done, toys are everywhere and dishes just sit. I even find myself irritated at the kids when I'm trying to surf the internet. This just doesn't work.

To remedy the situation, I've started working on a household binder. It's something I've been wanting to do for a while, but just haven't gotten around to doing it. I keep my lists in a small notebook that goes everywhere with me, but this will have to be larger. It will hold all of our important information eventually - routines, schedules, grocery lists, financial information and even a household inventory list. Maybe once I'm done with it I'll post about it. For now, it's definitely a work in progress.

My first step was to put together a grocery list for Walmart. I don't know about you, but I only shop at Walmart. I'm not happy about it, but I just don't have time to run all over town. And, we are not creative eaters. We are always eating the same things and I always manage to forget something when I'm making my list or at the store. So, I spent some time putting together a list based on the order I browse the aisles and all of the things we like to have on hand at home. I've used it twice and easily cut 10-15 minutes off my trip in the store. That place can be like a big, black hole if you're not careful! I did our weekly shopping today in 40 minutes, which included 20 minutes worth of driving to and from the store! Now that I've tested the list, I plan to print off a bunch of lists to keep in my notebook.

The second step was to outline each of my days, with the exception of my true "day off" - Saturday. I outlined exactly what I needed to do in each chunk of my day. I have it down to the smallest of detail including loading, running and unloading the dishwasher, starting each load of laundry, wiping down counters, and even sorting mail. Five minutes a day of sorting mail is so much easier than allowing a huge pile to accumulate all week. And, double bonus, you don't have a huge pile of mail accumulating during the week. :)

This was an important exercise for me. I didn't realize how much of a routine I already follow. The key thing is that I'm kind of busy and don't have a ton of free time. So, if I just decide to blow off laundry on Tuesday, it's really hard to get caught back up. This just causes undue stress on me and the family. If I do a little bit at a time, I have more time to spend with the kids doing fun stuff. I was also careful to work in specific times when I'm home with the girls to do projects together during Jack's naps. Just as sometimes I forget that I'm not really "off" when I'm at home, I also forget WHY I stay home during those two days. It's not to keep a perfect house. It's to spend time with the kids.

I also set a few goals for January -

1. Remember birthdays (always seems to make the New Year's Resolution list)
2. Follow Four Hour Body - Tom's going to try this too!
3. Follow Binder Routine
4. Read 1 Book - Would I like to read more? Yes. Considering I think I only read two books last year, I think this is a lofty goal. :)

I've said for a long time that I feel like I have the perfect work-life balance. I am very blessed to be self-employed and have the flexibility that I do. I am hopeful that this method of organization will help make my time at home less stressful and more enjoyable. After all, that's why I'm here!

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