It seems a bit ironic that I am FINALLY getting the opportunity to sit down and write this post about organization/time management - and have been interrupted about 27 times by two adorable little tater tots for random requests. Ha! But nonetheless, here it is!
This is one of the topics I receive the most questions about on Instagram. Everyone wants to know how I manage to do all that I do (and stay sane while doing it). Well, here's a little secret for y'all: I lost my sanity a loooong time ago! I'd say about two kids ago. HAHA!
But seriously, I do have a Type A personality and have struggled with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) since childhood. While I don't have some of the "ticks" that others do (having to do things a certain number of times, etc.), I do have to stick to my daily routine and get very flustered if that routine gets out of whack. Which, as you can imagine, happens A LOT as a parent (and as a PRN, or "as needed", nurse). Slowly but surely, I'm evolving and learning to let some things go and adapt to changes when they arise...but I'm not gonna lie: it's still HARD!
As far as how I juggle my kids, husband, job(s), housework, and clients, here are a few tips that will help you organize, streamline, and take charge of your life!
1) MAKE LISTS. And yes, I meant to put the "s" on the end of that. I have THREE (but meaningful) lists that I use every. single. day. Those are:
- My CALENDAR: This is what I jot all of my family's events/appointments/and special dates down on. It is also where I put deadlines for clients, social media collaborations, and my schedule for the hospital. You'll notice I'm showing you December's page because it's not as jam-packed (yet) so it won't overwhelm you - haha! You'll also notice the mini sticky-notes over certain days. These are on there to hide certain fun things I have planned for you all on Instagram (shh!). But I DO actually use those sticky notes to jot down important information for certain dates (such as current client check-in statuses, reminders to write a check for school activities, etc.).
I like to use the lines to the side of the calendar to write down "intentions" and "goals" for the month. This could be things like: reading my devotional every day, taking on a set number of new clients this time, or yelling less (yes, that was actually an intention of mine for last month). Every day when I look at my calendar, I am reminded of these intentions and goals, making them easier to reach.
- My LEGAL PAD/CLIPFOLIO: This is where I write out my "to-do's" for the week. I usually write this out on Sunday so that I have a good idea of what needs to get done that week. Writing it out for the week ahead of time also lets me spread tasks out more evenly, which keeps me from being overwhelmed or feeling like I "failed" if I couldn't do it all on a certain day. On the other side of the folder, I have a little flap where I can stick important papers: the kids' school event flyers, recipes I want to try out this week, etc. (Again, the sticky notes are there to hide some projects that I'm working on for you guys. [wink, wink])
- My GROCERY LIST: I keep a running grocery list going, because when you have Mom Brainitis, you forget things literally 1.3 seconds after you think about them. (My husband knows where this list is, so he can go and jot items down as he thinks about them, too.) I also like to split up the different stores I go to every week to make my trip easier. It may sound like I'm being a bit extra, but after overlooking items and having to make repeat trips back to the store waaaay too many times, I've finally learned what works for me! I usually write the menu down on this list, too (or on the back of it), so I can make sure to get the items I need for each meal.
2) PRIORITIZE THINGS. I try to list my to-do's in order of priority, and always make sure the most important things get done first. When I do, my days just flow better, because even if I don't get every last task accomplished, I know the most important things were tended to. For me, my priorities are listed like this:
- family/home obligations
- working out (which is a total stress reliever for me, but also so important so that I can help inspire and motivate you guys!)
- "other tasks" (or those that don't have to be done right this minute, but I would like to get done eventually - like purging the kids' clothes, organizing an area of the kitchen, etc.).
3) LET THINGS GO! Like I said before, this one has been the hardest for me, and an area that I work to improve on daily! I believe both prioritizing my daily tasks and listing them out (so I then mark things off and feel a sense of accomplishment) have helped tremendously. Personally, it helps me see to see the things that I don't get done and yet, somehow, everyone lived (haha!).
For instance, I used to sweep the floor anytime I saw some crumbs or have to make all of the beds before we leave the house (don't look at me like that...I told you I have issues!). While I still like these things to be done, they're not a priority. I've learned that if there are some crumbs on the floor or the beds aren't made every day, it's not a big deal! The kids will still be fed, clean, and happy. My husband will still have dinner on the table at 7pm (ok, 7-ISH...). Life will continue!
I guess the point I'm trying to make with this last tip is that you don't have to be perfect. No one expects you to be, so why should YOU expect yourself to be? Do what's important, get done what you can, and let the rest go. Hey, if I (the self-proclaimed Queen of OCDs) can do it, you can totally do it!
I hope this post helps to inspire you guys to take a step back, refocus, and organize your lives a bit - or at least know that you're not alone! If you ever have any questions or just want to ask for some prayer to help you through a difficult/crazy time, I'm just an email or DM away!
Love you guys!