The Laid-Back Approach to Home Management
| SAHM SUCCESS SERIES |
No matter what anybody says, being a stay-at-home mom IS a tough job–a tough, sticky, loud, round-the-clock, sleep-leeching job with a description that could fill an entire book.
It sounds overwhelming, but it’s nothing you can’t handle if you simplify your approach to work more efficiently.
timing is everything
The idea of scheduling out my day in 15-minute increments is so overwhelming to me that I feel anxiety just thinking about those mini deadlines. I’m shocked to see this suggestion floating around the internet so much. How, as a mother, do you manage a tight schedule like this?
It seems to me like I would be setting myself up for failure. Life is unpredictable and I don’t want to worry about a chatty neighbor putting me over my allotted time. This is yet another thing that we’d feel pressured to stay on top of.
Of course, some kind of structure in our lives can help with the efficiency, which is why many moms establish more flexible routines.
Instead of focusing on the clock, know that when you wake up, or before bed, you’ll go through a series of motions to complete your chores. This eases the pressure and allows time for random dance parties with your toddler.
However, if you’re one of those people who realize it’s 3:00 in the afternoon and you have accomplished nothing, it might benefit you to start with a more rigorous schedule to get you into productive habits.
cleaning: the cycle of DOOM
I’m willing to bet that we’ve all suffered from burnout as a result of overzealous planning. You get so excited about the idea of something that you simply overdo it, causing you crash and burn because it wasn’t a realistic plan to begin with. This happens a lot with housework and, wow, is it tedious to play catchup once you’ve lost control.
If your current situation isn’t working out and you’re looking to light a fire under your belly by implementing a new cleaning schedule, be wary.
Don’t fall in love with the idea of using the two-page printout you found on Pinterest. If you want something you can stick with, streamline and spread out your chores, focusing on things that you really need to stay on top of.
Chances are you probably won’t be able to tell the difference if you cut mopping down to once a week. You can use that extra half hour to spend with your family or even relax on the sofa *gasp*.
I also caution against filling up your cleaning schedule with daily non-negotiables, such as making the bed and doing dishes. These type of chores aren’t a big deal and don’t require a lot of time, so leave them as part of that automatic series of motions that fit into your typical routine.
It may be fun to cross more things off your list, but it can also make the day look intimidating if you fill it with unnecessary tasks.
Another outcome of a creating giant to-do list is making abandonment seem okay by giving you the sense that because you’ve completed so much, you are justified to punch out early. When will you get to the rest of the list? It is said that “tomorrow” is often the busiest day.
Excuse my chicken scratch, but I wanted to provide you with an example of how I plan and track my chores. It’s nothing fancy, but that’s the point. I simply write out my cleaning schedule in my month’s “to-do” section and assign either a day of the week (for weekly chores) or a number representing a week of the month (for bi-weekly and monthly chores).
Regarding seasonal chores, I have them all written on a master list and will schedule them in my calendar ahead of time. I find it easier to spread them out over several months than try to find time to clean everything at once.
switching into “robot mode”
By going into “robot mode”, I mean obtaining the mindset where you can remove the emotions hindering your progress.
It means you’re shutting out excuses and recognizing that if something needs to get done, you’re going to have to buckle down and do it eventually. Either it can take you three hours of excuses and procrastination, or you can start now and be done with it.
You can recognize the logic here. It’s the same age-old argument we constantly present to our kids.
Before you can develop this mode, you need to first become aware of your own method of procrastination.
Myself, I’m the kind of person who’d “warm up” for a big task by doing many small projects. My intentions were good, and I’d get a lot done, but it was avoidance and I’d leave myself no energy to start the big project.
It’s time to become aware of our self-sabotage and break the negative cycle by removing all thought and emotion, allowing you to commit yourself to the task.
When you plan to start something, just do it. Don’t give it any thought, just start going through the motions.
For the projects that you know are coming up, dreading them can cause you to put them off even further.
When you find yourself thinking about how awful it’s going to be, focus on putting those feeling aside and keeping a clear headspace. It’s the same concept as meditation. You need pay attention to the thoughts that enter your mind and bring yourself back to zero.
Another tip that might help your productivity would be to take on the bigger items first thing in the morning, when you feel energized and ready to start the day.
Not only will you be done with it, but you’ll gain a sense of accomplishment and set a precedent for the day. Having a pile of unfolded laundry sitting out for a couple days will only add to your stress. Be in control and get it done.
The common pitfall I still struggle with involves the internet. It has many benefits and I find it highly motivating to search for inspiration online, but I tend to get distracted or carried away. My fix is to set a timer and hold myself accountable.
If you find that you spend too much time on your phone in general, there are some great apps that can help you to track and limit your usage.
See, our problems usually have simple solutions. We just need to commit to them.
I now pronounce you planner and wife
We all know how useful a planner can be, but let’s talk about the sacred love between a woman and her planner.
That’s right, planner love. It’s a thing.
How can u share this kind of relationship with your planner? Just like with men, planners need to be both reconstructed and redecorated to fit your needs. 😉
They come as a beautiful calendar stretching out to fill an entire book, which can be boring and limiting in use. Instead, I suggest setting aside most of the calendar inserts by using only those for the upcoming few months and then only the calendar pages themselves for those remaining. You can place these all behind one divider and leave much more space to create your perfect book.
In regards to what goes into that newly freed space, ask yourself what you need to have on paper and group them into your main sections. Do you need a divider for projects and event planning? Finances, tot school or menus? Search for inspiration online to be sure you aren’t leaving anything out.
Our goal is to simplify the running of your home and life by keeping everything all in one book. Make it as useful a tool as is possible. This is your mind, spilled out on paper and organized into neat little sections.
Next comes the fun part… People can go crazy with the decorating and there are definitely enough accessories out there, but don’t force yourself if it’s not who you are. I certainly don’t decorate every page, mainly because I’m a mom of some pretty demanding children, but I do feel that by putting some personal touches and making it visually interesting, it will motivate you to utilize your planner.
Put together something you can be proud of and you’ll be less likely to abandon your planner by the time April rolls around.My planner is pretty simple. There were big plans, but I quickly realized that I didn’t need much more than DIY dividers and a simple color scheme. I also printed dot grid paper so I can use my planner as more of a bullet journal, creating unique layouts as I go.
Currently, I’m creating my own calendar and blogging inserts on Word and will be completely reorganizing my planner to keep everything in one central location.
clutter = chaos. remember that.
I have put off organizing my home for years because I wanted to find the right storage boxes to match my home. What a pitiful excuse…
Finally, I decided to woman-up and I settled for an assortment of green bins from the Dollar Tree. They were inexpensive, cohesive and nobody was going to see them anyway. After all the indecisiveness, they actually ended up working perfectly. Especially with so many different size options available.
I have “organized” in the past, but having these compartments really does make a difference. No matter what, it seemed that things would always get mixed around in my drawers shortly after I tucked everything into their place.
Now, after seven months of having things stay in their given place, I can say that my home is truly organized and I am enjoying the benefits.
Here’s my easy method:
What areas do you need to organize in your home? Write them all down, pick one and start there.
YouTube (I love this channel) and Pinterest both provide great motivation and unique ideas. After spending a little time browsing, go purchase any needed racks, hangers or bins.
Measure beforehand, if needed, but don’t fret over it; you can always return and exchange anything that doesn’t fit.
Once you have your supplies, begin pulling everything out of the space. Go through each item, creating piles to toss, donate or sell, then organize the things you want to keep into groups if it makes sense.
Be brutal here, especially while working on a closet. I try to see it this way: It’s selfish of me to keep something hidden and rotting away if someone else can enjoy it.
It also helps that I give my clothes to my sister-in-law, so I get see them on occasion. 🙂
There is one final article remaining in the SAHM Success Series, aimed to make your life simpler and keep you in control.
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SAHM SUCCESS SERIES
Article I –yourself
Article II –marriage
Article III –kids