Organize Your Days for Success
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Each of us gets 24 hours. How we gonna spend it? Organize your days for success with these simple tips.
Organizing your days can bring great peace to your life. No matter what your days are like, setting a pattern or schedule that works for you can be key to good mental health.
Kids thrive on routine, and I’d like to suggest, that Mom does, too. Provided it’s a routine that suits her, her personality, and her season of life.
Organize Your Days for Success
Over the years, I’ve had to organize and reorganize myself, depending on my season of life and what our family is doing. That year with hockey, ballet, and karate all going simultaneously would have killed me if I hadn’t created some serious organization.
There are a few different ways that I find to be super-duper helpful when I need to organize my days:
1. Organize your days with a planner.
My favorite way to think through my days is with a planner. My planner is like my brain on paper.
It contains a basic calendar that I use for planning purposes, goal-setting worksheets where I can do my big dreaming, a monthly/weekly/daily to do list, my weekly meal plans, and my month’s project lists.
When I don’t know what to do, I turn to my planner and figure out what to do next. (Maybe you don’t need something to direct your next steps, but I sure do! Otherwise, I get distracted by all the sparklies.)
2. Organize your days with a weekly routine.
There are some days, however, when I don’t even pick up my planner. I don’t always need to because I’ve blocked certain activities into certain days in my brain. I assign certain activities to certain days of the week.
- Monday through Friday: I know school and my kids are my focus on these days.
- One evening a week is set aside for dating my husband.
- Friday nights are “pizza and a movie” nights.
- Most Saturdays I work on my blog and writing business.
- Sundays I avoid work as much as possible so that I can truly rest.
3. Organize your days with a daily routine.
In addition to blocking out days, I also have certain times of the day devoted to certain things:
- Sleep – I don’t always sleep well, so I have to start early (around 9pm) and try to sleep late (7am). I know that if I mess with this routine, I’ll be a mess.
- Work – Currently, I’m trying to cram a few hours of work into the mornings before I take my son to the train in the am. The kids make their breakfasts and do their morning chores during this time.
- Train Drop-off/Pick-up – My college son takes the train to work and school, but needs me to drop him off. This is a great time for us to chat, and as I’m learning, to naturally transition from work mode to school teacher mode.
- School – It’s really hard to teach five kids all their subjects in a day. Recently, I figured out a strategy that I think will work. I’m giving kids time blocks with me that are focused and without interruptions. I also give myself a five minute break in between so that I’m not tempted to “check my phone” during school time.
- Evening Routine – When school’s done, I work on getting the house picked up (read: direct children), make dinner, run errands, finish laundry/dishes, read to the littles, etc. I also try to unplug about 30 minutes before I want to sleep, so that my brain can detox a little.
By creating these day blocks in the week and these time blocks into the day, I help myself to focus and prioritize — without having my planner right there. But, if I didn’t have my planner in the first place, I wouldn’t have been able to map out all these different time blocks.
The three methods work in conjunction to help me remember what’s important, work on the big things, and get places on time.
I don’t use a planner but I tend to use lists and time blocks. Certain cleaning tasks have certain days (laundry,dusting etc). Usually Saturday is when I make my meal plan and I’ll also make my list of things I don’t do on a regular basis(vacuuming furniture, scrubbing floors, etc) Those items get added one a day with the usual cleaning tasks.
This plan is working for me right now so I’ll use it till it doesn’t work anymore.
Sounds like you have a great system that works. That’s the whole point of organizing, really.
I recently found your blog and have been reading quite a few of your posts and really enjoying them! I have a question about your planner – you list all the things you have in yours and that actually mirrors what I have/want to have in mine. How do you organize your planner so that you don’t forget about what’s in the back? I always keep my calendar in front because I want to make sure I don’t forget an important date…but for the things like your goal planning sheets and monthly project list, for me that currently gets forgotten more often than not. Do you just make a habit to look at everything or do you have sections with tabs? I would be curious to know what you do. Thanks!
I have used tabs or post-its to move around. This year I redesigned my to-do sheet to incorporate it into my meal planning page. You can see that here: http://lifeasmom.com/my-household-planner-revealed-a-few-free-downloads/ Now, I mostly hang out in the same few pages (the page for the week and the current monthly calendar page which is just a few pages forward of the current week.
I like the time blocking idea. I’ll have to try that out. I’m always on the lookout for better ways to organize my schedule. And I love planners! I don’t always stick with them, but I love the feeling of filling out a planner.
I finally (as in starting in August) started really using a planner. Personally, I found I need to keep my daily routines with my to-do list or one or the other doesn’t get done. My weekly routines get written in my daily routine on the days they come up (so Thursday has a note about it being trash day, which is when the trucks come by)
I also realized I need paper. Writing it down keeps it more concrete for me. Google is great for reminders for appointments, but beyond that I don’t use it. Even appointments get marked in my paper planner.
I’m still working on blocking out specific times, but between the random stuff that comes up and my own feelings about schedules, it hasn’t helped much. It is something I am working on.
I keep a master calendar on Outlook. Everything goes on it — work, personal, kids, etc. I have never been able to make the daily blocks work for me. My schedule is much too erratic so I use a weekly to do list instead. Every once in awhile I notice the same 2 or 3 items are still on the list at the end of the week. At that point, I try to evaluate why. Is it because it is no longer that important to me or does it seem too daunting?
I have to have a planner. I know I can’t keep all that stuff in my head. I don’t know how some people manage to function without one. 🙂
I use google calendar a lot – for appointments, reminders, and to-dos. I also have a giant list (hard copy) of tasks i need to do that aren’t time- specific, like research something, buy windshield wipers, mend something, etc.