I like to make lists. I find it highly satisfying to cross something off my list. It just feels good.
Today I am going to share my weekly “To Do” list with you. It’s taken me awhile to get to this point, but I’ve found a system that works really well for me. At some point I realized that I do a lot of the same things the same day each week. Monday is always my sheets/towels laundry day, as well as Family Home Evening. Tuesday is my grocery shopping day. Wednesday is always playgroup. You get the picture.
In order to save myself a little paper and writing time I created a master weekly list. Under each day I penciled in the activities that I usually need to get done that day. Here is a peek at two of my days.
- Piano lesson: 2:15-3
- DR: Parenting/Families/Mother quotes and scriptures
- Menu plan, grocery list
- Laundry towels, sheets
- NM Blog: LDS quote, scripture of the week
- DR: General Conference talks
- Nature Walk/Park Play
- Primary reminder calls
- Date Night
I typed up my schedule and stuck it in a sheet protector. On Sunday evenings I sit down with my dry erase marker and add in anything extra for the week (ie. Dr. appointments, Enrichment activities, library days, etc). I left room on the right hand side to write in anything else I need to work on that week. I use a magnetic clip to keep my list in a prominent place on my fridge so I can refer to it easily. Sunday evening I wipe it all clean and start over again.
Here is a visual for you, part-way through the week.
Everyone has different priorities, so take some time to think about yours. For me, after my husband and children, there are 4 major areas that demand a portion of my time.
- Household tasks including laundry, meal planning, shopping, finances and cleaning
- Tasks related to my calling in the Primary
- Tasks related to my work as a piano teacher
- Tasks related to my Nurture Mama blog
Think about what your days are like, and plan your schedule accordingly. Figure out when is the best time each day for you to get things done. For some, it might be early in the morning before your children wake up. Or it might be during naptime. Or you might be a night-owl and work best late at night.
I plan to get most of my work done between the hours and 8-10pm, after my children are in bed and before I head to bed myself. That is my time and I can be quite protective of it. I schedule one of the above activities for each weekday evening. I still have to be flexible because some weeks might be busier when it comes to Primary tasks, or preparing for a piano recital, or whatever. But I have a basic guideline to follow for organizing my time.
About cleaning. I never clean the house after 8pm unless absolutely necessary. Except for the dishes, usually whatever didn’t get done can wait until the next day. My children have learned not to expect me to play with them until after the dinner dishes are done, and they usually tag along beside me while I clean the bathrooms or vacuum the floor. I want them to see and learn that it takes work to run a home, and I also deserve some time in my day when I don’t have to think about cleaning.
Don’t forget your most important priority–your family. My husband and I usually spend our evenings with each of us on a computer (he’s a busy graduate student). But we’re in the same room so it is easy for us to take a break and talk with each other. Friday night is reserved for our date night–usually it’s spent at home, but whatever we’re doing we’re doing it together (we like snuggling up with popcorn and movies). Mornings (and a lot of the other time too) are spent with my girls. We read together, we clean together, we go to the park, we play together.
I am far from an expert when it comes to organizing, but I just thought I would share some of the things that have worked well for me. There is a lot of information available online (believe me, you can spend hours reading about this stuff!). My two favorite organizing blogs are Simple Mom and Organizing Your Way. They both are full of good ideas, so check them out for further reading.