Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Two Secrets to Help You Get the Job Done

Let's be honest. Not many people are thrilled by the prospect of Monday and all that it means. Monday means work. Monday means drudgery. Monday means repetition and day in/day out and watching the clock.

Well, it can mean those things.

If I'm being totally transparent, then what you need to know about me is that I don't really like working. It's just not that fun. But I love the satisfaction I get from finishing a job.

When I started reading about command centers and family binders a couple years ago, I rolled my eyes at them. Pshaw. Family command center. Who needs one of those?

Turns out, this girl. I love lists. I love checking things off. I love having a place to put things and I love knowing where to look to retrieve those things. So, what did I do? I made myself a bonafide family command center, complete with family binder. Nerdy? Maybe. Helpful? You bet.

This little hutch is tucked in an out of the way corner of my kitchen. It holds vases, my favorite coffee mugs, extra plates, fruit colander, and various bowls and nik naks. And, on the very bottom shelf is - you guessed it - the Family Command Center. And some potatoes.

That thin binder on the left holds a bunch of owner's manuals. But that thick binder. That is what I want to talk to you about today.

That binder is holding my life together.

Okay, that's a little dramatic. But seriously (it's holding my life together).

Inside that binder is one little list in particular that I use every single day. It's called Daily Chores*, and on it I've included all the little chores that I feel are important to complete every day.

After we finish breakfast in the morning, I take it out and check off "breakfast." Then I get started right away with morning dishes and a load of laundry. I send the kids off to do their morning chores and check those off when they're complete. Since I love checking things off, I even included things like my own morning shower.

The First Secret

Okay, you want to know the first secret? It's not that the list I've created is terribly special. And I haven't discovered some crazy new technique that helps me get the job done. The secret, for me anyway, is sticking to a routine. Figuring out how to order my morning and doing it the same way. Every. single. day.

The time of day doesn't matter as much - it's the routine that's important for me. In the past, after breakfast, I've sort of gotten up and wondered what we were going to do next. Today, after breakfast, I pull out that binder, check off my first chore, and get started with the next one. And then the next one. It's a beautiful thing.

The Second Secret

Getting started right away is important for me. So important that I'm calling it the second secret. Don't wait until nap time to get started with daily chores. I used to do that. And I'd never be able to finish everything during nap and run out of time after nap...which made me feel incredibly stressed out all the time. Start right after breakfast - just dive in and knock out as many as you can.

Toward the end of the morning, our days become less structured. Some days we might go to a park or the beach. Some days we might run a few errands or visit friends. Some days we might stay home and play in the yard or pool. And after school starts in a couple of weeks, I'll have to modify our routine to include school stuff. The point is, we're able to play during the middle of the day because we've already taken care of so many chores.

*I'm making this list, as well as a Weekly Chores list, available for free download. If you're looking for a place to start, I would encourage you to print them out and use them for as long as you want. But since every home is different, every chores list will vary somewhat. Use my list as a springboard and then modify it as you see the need arise. 

These lists began as a compilation of various lists that I've seen over the years, but have been changed to fit our family. 

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  1. Thanks for sharing, Sarah! This is exactly what I need as a new SAHM...and I absolutely LOVE the satisfaction of checking things off my list too! :-)

    1. Good! I know when my daughter was born, I spent way too much time lost and not sure how to go about the day...and feeling, like I mentioned above, stressed out over everything that needed to be done. Glad to have inspired you to get on the ball and not let life (twins!) overwhelm you!

  2. Love it! This one simple(ish) thing was a game changer for me!

    1. Me too! It's crazy how the simplest things can make the biggest difference :)

  3. A routine really helps because when you get your body in the habit of doing something every day in a specific order, it becomes almost effortless because you automatically do it. This frees up your energy for other things that matter in life. (It also frees up your time, because, like you said, if your chores are done, you feel like you can enjoy life for the rest of the day.)

    1. Effortless is a great way to describe it - I've found that it's not as hard to get started with my day as it's been in the past because I just know what to do and then I do it.


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