5 Things You Must Do Before You Can Organize Your Life
Are you a mom who feels like you are barely hanging on? Try these tips to really get yourself organized.
Running a home and a family is not for the faint of heart, and I suspect that I’m not the only mom out there who struggles to stay organized. Interestingly enough, the things I have learned about organization as a mom don’t really look like organization at first glance. I’ve realized that to be organized in the sense of having a clean home that runs smoothly, certain things must first be in place.
These five tricks will keep you in an organized mindset, and then the rest falls into place much more easily. The real trick is to make sure you are actually doing these things, and that’s the part I’m not always so awesome at!
1. Use a Paper Planner
You can use a paper planner, a notebook, a to-do journal, or a calendar, but this is imperative. You will remember things better when you write them down, plus it’s just much easier to keep your life and the lives of your family organized in a paper planner. When you are making appointments you are usually talking on your phone, so it doesn’t seem like the most convenient thing to keep your entire schedule in your phone. A paper planner is simply more visual and helps to keep my thoughts, tasks, and my schedule straight.
This is what works for me. If I want to be organized—everything must be written down in paper form.
Edit May 2023: After going back to work, I did start using Google Calendar again. I have found that a combination of a paper planner and the Google Calendar (I do enjoy the alerts!) work very well for me.
My favorite planner is this one: Mom on the Go planner
Find the planner that’s best for you here: Great big planner review
2. Take Care of Yourself First
You know how when you’re on a plane and they teach you to put on your own oxygen mask first before you help others in the event of an emergency? It’s an analogy that is used often, but it’s because it’s true. Do not fall into the mom trap of taking care of everyone else before you take care of yourself. I fully admit that I’m not so great at this one, but on the days when I make a concerted effort to take care of my needs first, I get a lot more done for everyone else, too.
One caveat about self care: Make sure you differentiate between what you actually need and what you think you need. Find more information about this here: The truth about self-care
3. Have Family Council Often
If your kids are tiny, make sure you and your spouse are meeting together often to discuss the household, the kids, the schedule, and the budget. Knowing you’re on the same page goes a long way towards having an organized household.
When the kids are old enough, include them in the family councils and have them at least weekly. To read some of the things we include in our family meetings, click here: How to hold an effective family council meeting.
I recently discovered this awesome book to keep track of your family councils. Get it here: Family Council Journal
4. Get Rid of Distractions
This is a huge one. Notifications dinging on your phone and computer and phone calls are the biggest offenders. When you need to be focused on something—cleaning, writing, helping kids with homework—you will be able get a lot more done if you put your phone on do not disturb. You can always call people back, check email and texts, and look at Facebook when you are finished with the more important stuff. It will always be there waiting for you.
When I forget to do this, I find myself breaking focus for every little ding on my phone and so many of them are totally unimportant! Just turn them off!
I recently discovered a way to limit my children’s time on certain apps and websites. Now I use it to limit my own time on Facebook, which is the biggest distraction for me. Learn more about it here: Circle with Disney: What it is and Why We Use It
5. Learn to Say No
This goes right along with getting rid of distractions. I have had a bad habit of always saying yes to everything, even if it doesn’t serve me or my family and causes me great stress. It’s pretty impossible to stay organized when you simply have too much on your plate.
In the last few years, I have finally learned that it is totally okay to say no, and I have figured out how to do it graciously. I have gone from being a frazzled mom with way too much going on to one who is able to focus on the things that are most important to me.
I like to call these five steps PRE-organizing. It’s really about getting rid of the clutter in your life and learning to take care of yourself so you can be in a place to truly live in an organized manner. Being busy may be the cross all moms have to bear, but we can bear it well by being ready for true organization!
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