Personalized home organization
Entrepreneur, mom, & wife
As women, we are busy. There is a lot going on that we have to manage, especially if you have kids! There is the house, schedules for everyone (you, kids, husband), likes and dislikes, etc. I know we are working towards equality in the household, but in our house, I am still in charge of all the things. When we go out of town, I like to say to my husband, “You pack for one person. I pack for four.” And let me say, I have had my husband pack for the boys and either I have to make a list or they forget something!
So with being so busy, there is a lot going on in our schedules and our brains. The best thing to do is get it on paper. I used to think I was really good at remembering things (and I am), but it frees up so much space in my brain when I know it’s on paper.
Each week and each day, I take the time to plan. Most of this is through the lens of a working mom with childcare, but I will talk about what I did as a stay at home mom. I learned most of this system when I started working full time, but I did use it when I was home full time with 1-2 kids.
The first thing I do when I sit down to plan my week is a brain dump. Not a huge fan of this phrase, to be honest, but it gets the point across! You write down everything in your brain. Don’t worry about categories or if it has to do with the next week, just write it down. A lot of the time, I end up with things that are far in the future because of how my brain works, but that’s okay. Take 5-10 minutes to write everything down.
After I create my list, I like to categorize the tasks – work, kids, family, errands, future, etc. Whatever categories work for you. Then I highlight in different colors each category. I am a very visual person so having the tasks color coded helps me see what needs to be done. This also helps me see what doesn’t need to be done this week. I am someone who’s always thinking about the future and wanting to have it planned out. I have three kids, a business, and a spouse who doesn’t like to plan more than a month in advance! Sometimes, I need to put things on the back burner until they’re relevant. And that’s okay.
At the end of each week, I perform a Weekly Review. This gives me a chance to look back at last week and look forwards to next week.
In the weekly review, I look back on last week and take a moment to see what went well. What days did I feel like went smoothly? Why? What did I do differently? Doing this process is how I decided my husband should take on more in the mornings. We have three kids. I was doing the morning routine for all three kids (after being up at night with the baby) and he was getting ready himself on his own time. I ended up stressed with getting everyone ready and it wasn’t working for us.
One way I could handle it would be to get upset one morning and demand he help in the middle of the morning routine. This probably wouldn’t go well. Instead, after a weekly review, I was able to have a calm conversation about how I feel in the mornings and how it ripples into the rest of my day. Having a conversation about it during a “neutral” time helped him see why I needed help. He now does the boys in the morning and we are able to have a less stressful morning routine.
I also want to point out that if you have young children, I think this process is really important. Their schedules are constantly changing and you’ll need support from your spouse at different times in different seasons. Right now, I need him on more in the mornings because they’re so young. Before we had number three, I would do the mornings because I am the one that enjoys waking up earlier. I’m sure we’ll go back to doing the mornings, but it just doesn’t work right now.
During this time, I also preview the next week. I like to look at what we have going on, activities that are every week as well as what is different. I also check with my husband to see if he has anything on the calendar that would affect us, usually anything after 6 pm. I like to know when he won’t be home for bedtime routines and I’m on my own! So when I’m doing my weekly preview, I send him an email to see if he has anything I need to know from his schedule for the upcoming week.
This process normally takes about an hour. I put it in my calendar during my daily goals. I do it on Fridays if I can, or Sundays during nap time if I can’t on Friday. Try to find a consistent time that works for you each week. Then, you can get in the habit of weekly reviews and previews.
For each day, I do at the end of the workday on the previous day. Each day, typically in my car right before pick up, I look at my calendar for tomorrow and write down the three things I plan to get done that day. These are the three things I try to get done no matter what. These are the things I complete even if I’m home with a child sick. Even if I have to work after bedtime. This helps me have goals for each day and they’re typically the first things I get done so I can work on less important things afterwards.
From here, I put these into my day through time blocking and creating my daily routine.
After I create my daily goals, I go to my schedule and time block. For this process, I start with family time. When I’m with my kids, I’m not working. That’s pretty much the same every day – breakfast, drop off, pick up, play, dinner, bedtime routine, activities, etc. This leaves the rest of the time for work.
When I time block with work, I first put in client sessions. Then determine how to fit in my three daily goals from there. If I have extra time after that, I look at my brain dump list and see what I can get done. Usually one day, I have time for any errands that need to happen. Sometimes, I work in my car in the school parking lot before pickup or during art class. I find when I have time and how to fit everything in so I can be productive and get done what I need to get done. The whole goal of starting my business was to be able to work during the day and spend time with my children in the afternoons and evenings.
And at the end of each work day or after the kids go to bed, I take five minutes to create my daily goals and time block for tomorrow. I like to do this each day because as a mom, sometimes things come up and you need to change how the day looks.
When my first was born, I was home full time with him for a year and then worked part-time at a fitness studio until my middle child was two. So during those times, I was home with children a lot (not to mention a pandemic when I was home with a 3 year old and 6-12 month old). I still took the time to plan my days, it just looked a little different.
When I was a SAHM, I did a similar process (although I hadn’t learned about the weekly review yet). I took the time each morning to plan out that day. After #2 decided to sleep, I would wake up at 5 am to workout, look at my calendar, and decide what I needed to get done that day. I wouldn’t block my time with my kids, but I did block nap time.
And when I say he didn’t like to sleep, Raleigh also didn’t like to nap without me holding him. So if I had something to get done, I needed to do it right when he went to sleep. This way, my important things were done and I could do what I wanted to do. Luckily, as he got older, I had a more consistent nap from him and was able to start my business during his nap times!
Even though you’re at the mercy of your kids schedule, you can still plan out your day. Even though I didn’t block out tasks during awake times, I would still have on my calendar that I wanted to get the laundry folded during the morning and I would take advantage of moments when everyone was playing happily. If it didn’t happen, I would do it at night after bedtime or when my husband came home from work.
I hope this helps you plan out your day and feel like you’re running your day, not that your day is running you. Leave a comment below and let me know what you’d like to start doing to plan your day!
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Wildely Organized 2024
Based in Houston, TX, Wildely Organized offers compassionate, professional in-home organization services that empower families to live functional lives in a space they love.
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