Seriously. I have so much to do in a week that without my abundance of lists I'd never get stuff done.
You see, I am work-at-home mom. I do English administration for our church: this means, anything in English goes through me, including any translation work. Add to that, every other month I teach Sunday school for the entire month and I also have 2 students (piano and English). This, on top of being a mom to a 14-month old and growing another baby, to boot! Yep, I'm one busy woman! But, I do manage to keep up most of the time. Given my great organization system.
But before I show you my system, I want to start off by giving two rules I go by. These two rules have been recently instituted and have helped tremendously in keeping me from getting overwhelmed. There is a huge difference between being comfortably busy and being overwhelmed. The first is productive and healthy, the second is counter-productive and leads to burn out. The second keeps you from doing any one thing very well, often leads to conflict (when your nerves give out and you start blowing up all over everyone), and lowers your immune system significantly from the stress you are constantly under.
I recently decided that I refuse to allow myself to get overwhelmed. And how I make that decision is this:
1. I say no when I know that I already have enough to do and am certain (or reasonably certain) that I am unable to complete that task without getting hurried and flustered. It is my #1 responsibility to keep my home in a state of peace and calm. I cannot do that when I am too hurried and flustered because I simply took on too much responsibility. It is easier to take on a responsibility later when you are certain it is something you can handle, than trying to get out of something you've already agreed to do.
2. I say no when I realize that by taking on more responsibility I will be placing added burden on my husband, who is already under enough pressure by working a shift-job. For those unaware of how much shift-work places someone under stress, studies show that individuals who work in an environment that disturbs the body's natural cycle (circadian rhythm) are 300% more like to develop ischemic heart disease, in addition to many other health problems. If you add to that a stressful environment and demanding job...well, you understand why in our case there are times when saying no is imperative.
So, here is my system!
The night before - or early in the morning - I start off with a list like this:
I try to write this the night before because it helps to have in mind before I go to bed what needs to be done the next day. It gives me an extra boost when the alarm goes off.
I write literally everything I need to do for that day including how many glasses of water I need to drink, how many times I change Robi and feed him. Not that I'd forget to feed and change my son - but that's for the joy of crossing stuff off of a list (because, if you're like me, that is pure pleasure!).
If I have more than one load of laundry to do I number how many loads. This way it breaks things down into bite-sized increments. Crossing each load off seems easier than waiting until it's all over with. That's just purely psychological. But, hey! whatever works. Right?
Of course, I have things on there that I know I will probably never get to that day. So, in my mind I have a number system:
1 = urgent and must be done that day
2 = important and should be done that day
3 = important, but if done tomorrow its all good.
Now, my day starts at 6. I get up, do my devos before I turn on my computer. If I turn on my computer first thing in the morning you can pretty much bet the whole thing is going to pot. After that I get started on breakfast, Robi wakes up between 7-7:30 and that starts my day. We play and read books...watch Veggie Tales....and at about 9 he goes down for his first nap.
That's when I get started on my admin work. If I'm super-good, I may even fit in a bit of housework before Robi wakes up - but that's not usually the case. *grin*
He wakes up and has a snack and we usually go to the store and the park, come back have lunch and then about noon he goes down for his second nap. (or what usually happens is he plays in his crib for an hour or longer - but I let that count....he's resting)
This is where I do the bulk of my housework. And that has a system, too. Without a system this house would never be properly cleaned.
Monday: Bathrooms, 1 load of regular laundry + diapers
Tuesday: Living room (dusting, vacuum, mop [inc. dining room and kitchen], general cleanup)
Wednesday: Kitchen/Dining room (wipe down everything, change tablecloth, organize pantry, clean fridge and anything else needing cleaning) 1 load of laundry
Thursday: Hall, Bedrooms, Floors (dusting, vacuum, mop, change sheets, pick up)
Friday: Ironing (because we don't have a dryer, virtually every piece of clothing that will be seen by the naked eye must be ironed), 1 load of laundry + diapers
Hint: I do bathrooms on Mondays because I hate - I repeat hate - cleaning bathrooms. I get them done and over with at the very beginning so the rest of the week I am in a certain state of euphoria knowing that I don't have to do them again until next Monday. I do find, though, that a good scrub of the toilet every day is not a bad idea.
I do aim to exercise at noon - ask me how many times I get to it, though. *hrumph* However, that is a new goal for next week. I also aim to practice piano and start working on my voice. Please. I know I am aiming for the stars. I do hope to capture one or two. *grin* And I keep telling myself that I could work out my very rusty voice while I clean. Another goal for next week - and maybe 15 minutes on the piano 2-3 times a week. We shall see. I know it wont bother Robi a bit. He likes to join in for a nice little duet.
Do you have a system? What works for you? Do you have some goals for some things you'd like to get started doing?