It’s the holy grail of motherhood- how to juggle everything well and have life run smoothly whilst everyone remains happy. Whilst of course this isn’t just a Mum’s role, if you’re anything like me then you tend to sort of WANT to ‘be in charge’ so to speak, and make sure you know what’s going on, and that it’s done properly!
I’ve always been know as the slightly anal, organised one of my friends, even pre-kids. I was the one with the super-tidy bedroom at uni, and the one who organises our holiday itinerary and travel details (I am fun really, I promise!).
Now with two young children and their increasing social lives and school/preschool demands (seriously the amount of school emails that I get for Freddie re all sorts of shit is ridiculous. With 2 jobs to juggle and a home/social life/marriage to maintain (and actually enjoy!), I REALLY need to make sure I am crazy-organised and that I run a (happy) tight ship in order to make sure everything runs smoothly. And even then with the best intentions this inevitably doesn’t always happen.
With all the above in mind, I thought I’d share how I stay organised, and keep everything going. I hope this isn’t in a patronising way, but just info sharing- I love posts like these, and am always interested in how other families run their lives! Do tell me how you stay organised too- I’m always looking to improve in this area!
Prepare the night before
The night before work/school, I make sure we have the following ready, and I mentally check the following off: Schools shoes polished, reading book record filled in, letters/slips sorted in book bag, uniform and nursery clothes laid out ready, my clothes ready for the next day, dishwasher on, wash in the machine overnight. If I don’t do these tasks before bed/as soon as the kids come home from school, then it makes the next morning really rushed and stressy, something I hate. Preparing allows me to get ready and actually sit and have a nice breakfast without my blood pressure rising!
Wake up early
Our children have always been early risers anyway, so we’ve never really had oversleeping as a potential problem, but I still find that waking up early is the way forward for a stress-free work/school morning. Our alarms are set for 6.15am every day (sometimes earlier if I squeeze a run in too!), and it means I can shower, do my face, get dressed and have time for coffee and breakfast whilst getting the kids ready too. If I woke even at 7am each week day, we would be racing around to get out of the door and everyone would feel stressed and rushed- not a nice way to start the day. Waking up early factors in the inevitable random delays (outfit spillage disaster, poogate) and means that if everything is running smoothly, I have time to bung a load of washing on, hang some out to dry, and unload the dishwasher. You may think I’m a lunatic, but it works for us!
Have a different notebook for everything
Okay, so this sounds crazy-anal, but I have a different notebook at home/in the office for different areas- one for work, one for blogging work, one for general ‘life’ tasks/plans, one for meal planning, and general one that comes with me everywhere for jotting down different ideas.
Each notebook has a weekly page, listing daily tasks that need completing or looking at, plus a space for general tasks that need to get done at some point during the week. Each week gets a new page, with outstanding tasks from the previous week added to the new one (are you with me here?!) I guess a bit like a simplified version of Bullet Journal. Having this system has helped me massively, as before I was using 2 different notebooks for everything and then couldn’t find the info/page/ideas that I was looking for. Doing this has been a game-changer!
Prepare for work on a Sunday night
When it comes to my digital marketing job and also my blogging work, I often have so much to do and so many ideas swirling around my head that I don’t know where to start come Monday. On Sunday night, I jot down what I have coming up in my work and blogging notebooks (see above), and prioritise 3 things for Monday morning. It helps sort my head out, and means I don’t spend half an hour procrastinating in the office that morning before I get cracking with anything- I can hit the ground running straight after the school run!
Mealplan and online food delivery
Okay, so I know some people actually like to do their weekly food shop in the supermarket where they can physically see things, but to me that is hell with two small children, plus it takes a fair chunk of time. During the week, I jot down ideas for meal for the following week, factoring in what we have already planned in the diary. On Saturday or Sunday I will write meal plans for the following week- one for the children and one for us (sometimes we eat together and the same thing, sometimes not), and then order from the supermarket online to be delivered Sunday night.
I also have the Tesco/Ocado app on my phone, so if we run out of something I can add it to my weekly basket straight away and it’s not forgotten, and nor am I dealing with loads of loose bits of paper. Of course, we do top up and get the odd bits from the shops during the week, and I don’t plan for the weekend because our plans change, or we’re eating out, or we fancy being spontaneous (shock horror!), but I find meal planning and ordering online saves us money, wasted food and time.
Sync Calendars and use them well
Adam and I have synced calendars on our phones, so if someone adds something to the family calendar then we can see it. We also have our own work calendars synced on our iphones too. If an social or work event comes up, a school update or a party invite arrives, these go in the iPhone calendar straight away, as well as on a physical family calendar on the kitchen door that everyone can see.
Tidy your inbox
My emails are nearly always up-to-date, but this is only because I have a good filing system for them! As soon as I receive an email and answer it, it gets filed away in the appropriate email folder for future reference, otherwise I feel swamped and miss things, and forget who I’ve replied to. There are folders for each child, password and login details, personal events hotel bookings, travel arrangements, and school parentmail among others. When it comes to blogging I have the following folders-payments, SEO, individual brands I’m working with long term, Interiors-related, Travel-related, events and general brands work. Having these means I’m less likely to miss anything.
So these are the main ways I stay organised on a daily basis- like I said, I’d love to hear how you do too!