Let me start off by saying I am the worst time manager in the land. I love organization yet I can never keep up with it. I have a mountain of laundry that is currently being ignored but refuses to go away. If I walked over and told my husband I would be writing this article, he would laugh. So, what do I know?
I know what doesn’t work. I also know what does work. I go through phases of a solid routine that runs a tight ship to no routine at all that sinks a ship. You know what? I am tired of being on a sinking ship. I will be 40 years old…yikes…this summer and I still feel like I do not have my life in order. Mostly because I struggle with comparing my lack of time management skills to those productive people that make you want to smack them. Bad idea; the comparing and the smacking. I have learned that I, like Sinatra, have to do it my way.
First, I needed an organization system that worked for me. I cannot keep up with a color coded complex system that involves several calendars and projections. I cannot keep up with labeled boxes of school supplies. Trying to make those things work made me feel like a failure. It also wasted my time and my money. So, I went down to one simple date book and a daily list of school lessons. I have an app on my iPad to help me keep classes and such in order. Looks fancy but it simple. I only plan out a week ahead at most with a general idea of my yearly projection. Yes, that is all I do. I used to do more but it drove me insane. As far a school supplies, I use small adorable tin buckets that I bought for a dollar each at Target. Each bucket contains a different supply like pencils, scissors, markers, glue, etc. It is very cute and always stays neat and in order.
Secondly, I had to come up with a routine or I would wander all day. Yet, it had to be flexible enough for me not to feel stressed and controlled by it. So, I give myself a range of time to get things done. For instance, laundry is gathered and put in the washer when I come downstairs. I start breakfast after the first load is put in the washer. School begins after breakfast. I have no time frame in particular but a list of things that must get done such as morning routines, afternoon routines, and evening routines. I also have an app on my phone called 30/30. I can set up tasks in 30 minute intervals. Yes, I need to time myself when I clean or do certain tasks. I can be pretty single minded and end up spending far too much time on one task.
Thirdly, I have learned to delegate. You do not need to be responsible for every household task. You also do not need to teach every subject. If you have older kids have them teach the younger children while you teach another child. It will keep them all busy and teaching is the best way to learn. Assign chores or simply take an hour a day to clean as a family. Make a game out of it to see who can be the fastest while still completing the job.