Figuring out how to get organized and stay organized has been a goal of mine for a long time. It seems that many people look at me and think that just because I work from home I am organized but this is far from the case. There are some things that I am very organized in but there are others things that I really fall flat.
I was so excited to set up the live video (at the top of this post) with Alison Deary from The Papery (and creator of well-known and popular MOM Diary) and Cindy Robertson from Pure Gemsquash to talk about organization.
I found it quite amusing when Cindy said she is not sure she would fit this topic because she struggles with being organized, but that is why I felt she would be perfect. As moms we struggle with balance and being organized. We simply have too much to do, so it is not a case of failure when we struggle a bit and I like to keep things real rather set unrealistic expectations. She does manage being a mom and running a business, that is plenty organized.
A huge thank you to Alison and Cindy for sponsoring fantastic prizes for the live video!
***Disclosure -The links in this post may contain affiliate links and I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on a link.***
About My Live Guests
Alison is a mother of four boys, she has been momming for the last thirty years with one child still at school. Due to this she has quite a lot of experience with organizing kids. She has been in the diary business for the last 11 years. She loves all things to do with organization, such as journaling and stationery, which means she has a huge passion for what she does.
Cindy is a mother to one daughter. Cindy’s business, Pure Gemsquash, is a custom bespoke sewing business, she does all the sewing herself. The product range includes baby sleeping bags, children’s pajamas, tracksuits, banting, aprons, dress up costumes and lots of other custom products. She has been doing this for the last nine and a half years. It all start with her daughter when she needed a bigger sleeping bag from the one that she had and it has all grown from there, with a lot of inspiration coming from her daughter.
How To Get Organized and Stay Organized
Create Good Morning Habits
I have personally found that the way that I start the day sets the tone for how the rest of the day rolls out for me. If I wake up and stay in my PJ’s and don’t do certain things then my day does not go smoothly.
It is important for you to find your own morning routine and what morning habits work well for you. These are the things that I do every morning that get me on the right track:
- Get dressed, brush teeth and give my face a good start with a clean, tone and moisturize.
- Make my bed and open all the windows.
- Drink a health smoothie
- Do a “dirty thirty” which is where I allocate thirty minutes only to clean as much of the house as possible. It is not about doing a perfect job, it is about making the worst looking parts look better as quickly as possible.
- Part of my morning routine is to take an hour for myself. When I take the kids to school I usually get home around 7h30am which means after I’ve done my dirty thirty I can take from 8am – 9am for self-care. I talk about self-care in it’s own section further down because it is so important.
Feeling Overwhelmed? How To Get Out Of That Feeling
It is so easy to get overwhelmed and not know where to start. When this happens do a brain dump – which means take everything out of your head and writing it down on a piece of paper, or in a journal.
Once you have written everything down categorize each item into things for your kids, for your home, for work and so on. The next step is to prioritize by picking just one or two things from each category that are the most important and highlight them.
If those things are quick to do then get them done immediately, or if they will take a little bit longer add them to your diary to complete when you have the time available.
The last part of this process is to chunk things by putting things that are similar together, for example you can put all phone calls together, or all of your shopping together. If there is something that is going to take a long time, allocate a chunk of time in your diary to get that done.
Once you have all of this done you will find that overwhelmed feeling disappears and you are able to think clearly because you are no longer in a panic.
Alison has written an e-book on this topic called Out Of Overwhelm – click here to download it for free.
For a long time I felt like I was highly efficient multitasking and a few years ago I read an article on the truth about multitasking and it is not an efficient way of getting things done.
When I was working I would have my emails open, my Facebook page, my website and loads more tabs open. I would jump between them all and think that because I was working on a number of things at the same time I was getting more done.
After reading that article I made a point of only tackling one thing on my to do list at a time and I only keep one tab open when I am working. I’ve come to realise that I am now a lot more efficient and I get more done. I get to tick things off my list one at a time and I don’t forget things or leave things have completed like I used to in the past.
It is so easy to get distracted from something important and to leave things half done when multitasking.
Have A Good Organizational System
It is so important to have a great organizational system where you can compartmentalize all aspects of your life and what you need to get done.
As a mother you have to organize your kids school life and activities, along with your household, possibly your own business or full time job and, very importantly, your own goals and personal life.
It does not matter if you use your diary, a journal or a more visual system. What is important is that you have all your key things in one place.
That is why the MOM Diary (Most Organized Mother) and WOW Diary (Wonderfully Organized Women) were created by Alison. They are diaries that incorporate so much more than the standard diary you find in the stores.
You will find sections for your important information, budgeting, class lists, kids extra mural schedules, ideas on what to cook for supper, personal goals, meditations and more. You will also find a lot of spare pages for notes and anything else you need to organize.
Women take on a lot. Very often we are the ones that care for everyone else in the family and run the household. Many of us also have a full time job or own business.
The question is who takes care of us? If we don’t do it then chances are high that nobody will.
I always used to feel guilty taking time for myself. If I got in the bath for a soak I would start running through all the things I “should be” doing such as the dishes, spending time with my kids, helping my kids with their homework, washing the floor, doing the laundry or any other of the many things on my never ending to do list.
Over time I have come to realize that taking care of myself is vital to taking care of my family. If I don’t do things for myself and get enough rest I will not have the ability to take care of my family and their needs.
About two years ago I started taking an hour every morning to myself. Sometimes I exercise, sometimes I take a long bath, or I watch Netflix. There have been some mornings I have climbed back into bed and gone to sleep… I do whatever it is that I want to do with that time, something that is focused only on me. I also promised myself that I will not feel guilty taking that time. I deserve it.
While it may seem counterproductive to take that hour for myself every day the truth is that it has paid off big time. I am not so tired all the time and I am a lot happier.
If you feel like you don’t have the time available find a way to make it possible, just like you would somehow find the time if your child needed something. It does not have to be a full hour, especially if your child is very young, but make sure to find a bit of time each day just for you.
Creating Balance In Life
Being in balance is so important. If we are in the right head space we will get things done much faster and more creatively.
It is important to make sure that we are giving time and energy to all the aspects of our lives and not putting all of ourselves into one or only a few aspects.
Creating flow is so important and Alison spoke about how learning about “Flow” and how it had been an absolute game changer for her in her business and personal life. If anyone is interested in finding out more, she highly recommends this course. It is specifically aimed at businesses, and is so worth it for anyone wanting to find out how easy it is to do things from a space that is not full of stress and overwhelm.
When they ask where you heard about the course don’t forget to say Alison Deary.
When we are able to create flow in our lives and learn how to go with the flow we will be better able to manage our lives.
While the lockdown has been incredibly hard and has had some devastating effects on families all over South Africa, it has also shown us what is truly important and how to go with the flow to get by.
Delegate Tasks To Your Family Members
While we as moms may be responsible for the running of the household it does not mean that we need to be the one to do everything for everyone else.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to delegate tasks. Look at yourself like the manager of the house, rather than the person that has do everything.
If your child can walk your child can be responsible for some tasks and it is always a great idea to start your toddler on chores as soon as possible. The earlier you teach your children to do chores the quicker you will get to a place where they are actually helping you. I know it seems easier just to do things yourself rather than teach a child how to do something and monitor them while they do it. Yes in the beginning it will take longer and you may even land up having to redo the task but it will pay off in the end.
Plus teaching your children to do their part will make them into better people that take responsibility for things.
Get out your stationery and make a chore chart giving each member of the family.
Pro tip – don’t leave out your hubby! I have now removed myself from cooking duties on the weekends – my husband braais for us all weekend and for breakfast my eight year old daughter will make us eggs and toast. She can now do a choice of scrambled or fried. Give her another year or so and I am sure she can take over cooking dinners too!
I’ve also got my kids responsible for packing away their own laundry, keeping their own room clean and tidy, mopping the floors and doing dishes.
Meal Planning and Freezer Meals
This has been a game changer for me and something I only started in the last few months after spending the first 3 months of lockdown with my parents.
When we were growing up my mother made us a home cooked meal from scratch every night. I guess we do what our moms do because ever since I left home I have always cooked a meal from scratch.
During lockdown I see my mom has changed her game plan and she makes a number of bulk recipes and freezes the food. I took down all these recipes and when we got home I started making them.
I’ve started making one bulk recipe a week and if I wanted to I could now get away with cooking just that meal each week and eating the frozen meals or my hubby’s braai meals the rest of the week.
It has been my life so much easier not just with the cooking time, but with planning and shopping too!
I’ve shared the four bulk recipes for freezing on the website recently, click here to get those fantastic recipes.
We spend so much time tidying up and cleaning and what I have found is that the more you have the more work it is to keep the house clean and tidy. This is especially true for my kids clothing and toys. They grow so fast, growing out of their clothes and outgrowing their toys.
So many toys just land up on the floor every day. I don’t understand why because they no longer play with them!
Every month I spend a bit of time going through our home and clearing out things we no longer use or need. It is an especially good time to do it right now since so many families are in need. I’ve given away old bedding and clothing to our local church that has been asking for donations of this nature.
In the video some of the moms said that their kids don’t want to give up their old toys. I also experienced this a while ago. I explained to them that they have so much when some children have nothing. I asked them to choose at least one thing to give away to another child, or they could choose more things if they liked.
I took my kids to a local home of safety for children and they gave the toys and clothing away themselves. We spent a bit of time there playing with the kids. It did not take long for my children to start decluttering their own room regularly and ask to be taken to the house of safety to hand over their old things.
Children are kind and generous by nature, I’m sure your kids will also take to donating their old things very quickly.
You can also start a one in, one out rule. So if your kids get something new or want something new they have to donate something old. This makes sure that the clutter never grows.
Do you have any tips to add on how to get organized and stay organized?
I must admit, as a single mommy and teacher, I am pretty disorganized. I have to many things going on at ones so it’s difficult to stay organized. However, thanks for the tips, I will try my hardest to integrate some of them in my daily life. Hopefully I will stick to it, lol
It all comes down to balance. Once you have a routine that works, you simply need to stick to it.
Loved to read this. Wow, i realised i am a busy mom of 2 daughters, i am always trying to multi-task to get everything done. And i must admit it is draining and stressful!
Very insightful and good tips, Thank you. This article was meant for me to read 🙂
PS: I definitely need to get the MOM Diary 🙂
Yes you really should get the MOM Diary – it is the best!
Great read I’m definitely gonna use these