I am not a naturally organized or efficient person. I am pretty sure if I could peer inside my skull I would find a squirrel constantly running from tree to tree fascinated by every nut. This can help in generating creative marketing ideas but it also a challenge in juggling three busy boys and a business. Over the years I have had to find ways to ignore my squirrellyness and keep everyday life running.
In squirrel like fashion I run from one organizing tip to the next. Most get buried, never to be found again. But a few golden nuts stay in my daily routine and truly bring sanity and order to my work and family life.
- Meal planning service: I use an online meal planning service every week (thescramble.com) to plan out what we will eat for dinner. Each Sunday I go to the store armed with an organized grocery list (or send my spouse or eldest teenage son) and the dinner recipes for each day are clipped to the frig. Like every modern family we are running in a million different directions; but I can honestly attest that most nights we sit down together to a home cooked meal. This has saved me hours of time and squirrely stress in deciding, “what’s for dinner?” and has helped nourish our family in many ways.
- Family central ops center: The family clutter battle is constant and incessant. So we have a central ops center consisting of a few simple but effective items:
- A family calendar with each person’s color-coded schedule — at the youngest kid’s height, so everyone knows what is happening.
- Wall bins for each family member so all those loose papers, keys, headphones, etc. can be deposited in one place.
- A central shopping list so any food item or school supply can be added. This brilliant innovation has saved my life (and likely the lives of my beloved kids) from the terror of the 10:00 pm run to the store for the school project display board.
- The 15-minute pickup blitz: I unfortunately do not recall where I found this golden nut but it is a goodie! Each morning after the gang has left for school and work, I give myself 15 minutes (no more!) to do a pick up sweep of the main living area. I clean up dishes, gather scattered papers and clothes, and tidy up cushions. It is amazing what can be done in a limited time with focus! This creates at least one public space of relative order and calm. I then walk up to my home office and switchgears to my workday.
What are your golden nuts for work/life sanity? Please share in the comments section below.