Before the turn of the year, I took sometime to sit and clearly think back over the last 12 months and what I have achieved. I doubt anyone could say 2017 was a flop for us. Having bought and moved into our ideal family home. Gotten pregnant with baby number two and become landlords. I think most could safely say that 2017 was an epic year for us. However when I looked back over the goals I had set myself at the start of the year and those I had been working towards cross the months. I realised that I really hadn’t achieved all that I has set out too. I needed to organise my life.
This led me to start questioning why. How and what it was that had consumed by time and also what it was I needed to change going forward if I wanted 2018 to be successful for goal completion. I realised quickly that I had given up part way through the year. Probably due in part to the horrendous morning sickness and exhaustion I was feeling this time around with baby 2. But also the overwhelming process of moving house whilst pregnant with a toddler. It was very clear I had lost focus. As we came to the end of the year I realised I was completely confused on which was the right step to take to get back on track and back to working towards my goals.
I made a resolution then. ( the only one I made) That going into 2018, I would have an action plan. A set of clear steps to follow and would make time each week to review and focus on what I had or hadn’t achieved. Outlining the next set of steps for the week ahead.
2018 for me is all about being an organised mum and smashing my goals! So in order to achieve this. These are the steps I took and the changes I have made:
One of the first things holding me back was the amount of chatter and clutter in my head of all the various things I wanted to do, needed to do or had forgotten. To be able to see clearly what was a priortiy and plan things out I needed this out and on paper. Literally I took a piece of A4 paper and wrote everything that came to mind. Spend a good 10 minutes on this or longer and don’t be afraid to come back and revisit it when things pop into your head.
Next I took a look back over my 2017 planner. At all the tasks that had been started and not finished or noted down to be done in future and never started. I added this to the list. Reviewing your planner for the past year is a great way to catch things that have slipped throgh the cracks when you’ve become busy or distracted
Buy a Planner
Those that know me, would say I am some what obsessed with planning and organisation. So much so that this year, I received 3 independent planners for 2018 as gifts… The great thing is however each is slightly different and unique. Allowing me to keep track of various elements of my life without my main planner becoming overloaded and confusing to follow. If you would like a more details look at the 3 planners I am working with in 2018 and how and why check out this post here.
Sort and Discard / Find a place for everything
Being that we moved house at the beginning of October. I naturally began this task earlier than perhaps I would have. That said there are still plenty of areas that need attention. Clutter to me, clutters my mind and makes it hard to focus. Constaintly distracting me with reminder it needs sorting. Whislt I still have my files to work through, I have taken the time to sort and discard all the various scraps of paper and notes collected on my desk and streamline my workstation. I have also done the same for various locations in the home that are visual and seen by me day to day.
Having read the “the life changing magic of tidying up” by marie Kondo just before packing up the old house. I am slowly tackling an element at a time and applying her principles to my decisions. By no way could I say I am completely junk free. But most things now have a home and slowly I am feeling that I am lifting the feeling of being weighed down by so much stuff. I find it much easier now to do a 10 minute round the house tidy each day as everything has somewhere it belongs. Saving me hours of wondering where to put stuff or ending up with piles.
1 in 1 out
As an extention of sorting and discarding. I have made it my mission this year that for every item brought into this house, another must leave to make space for it. Personally I think the biggest impact this will have is on my son’s toy box and my wardrobe. However if it helps keep either under control then I am happy with that.
Routines and Schedules
Having a toddler kinda warrants needing a routine. Although living in Portugal this is not the norm. However I don’t see or understand just how the Portuguese mothers handle it. A slightly tired 2 year old very easily results in floods of tears. (his and mine) Wrestling matches and cancelled plans. So if I want to achieve even the basic tasks each day, then I really must have a routine.
I have been strict in setting them for my son. However this year I have also made a point of creating routines for myself and my husband to follow and schedules that have been blocked into the planner.
This means I no longer feel stressed about squeezing in household chores or spending precious time trryng to figure out what task I can squeeze into a spare hour I have for the blog. Now I have a clear schedule of what needs to be done and when and a routine to follow. This eliminates so much stress. Meaning that I can actually spend quality time with my son and husband without being plagued by all the other things that have been left undone. If I find myself with time to kill. I know exactly what it is that requires my focus.
Family Bucket List
There is constantly things that pop up that I think oh I would love to do that with my son. Ah that would make a great family day out. However life often gets in the way. It gets forgotten and then when we find ourselves with a free day or bad weather we seem to be at a loss for what to do. That’s why I have started the family bucket list for us to keep track of all the things we would like to do as a family. So when we are looking for inspiration we can go straight to it and pick something.
A project per month or 3 hours a week
I am terrible at biting off more than I can chew. I love a little side project normally involving either arts & crafts or DIY. However this normally lands me juggling even more plates as normal. As I often start several projects with good intentions but rarely find the time to complete them in any kind of acceptable manner. So this year, I have taken my list of projects and broken them down. For the bigger ones, I have dedicated the whole month and ensured that I make a minimum of 3 hours available each week for me to focus on it. With the smaller ones I will slot them into 3 hour periods as and when. So in January we are taking on probably one of our biggest projects this year. Which is clearing the garage of the left over moving boxes and items without a home. Then getting our laundry installed and prepared ahead of me need to get ready for baby’s arrival.
Do things regualrly / Set dates for review
As mentioned above, this year I have literally blocked time out in my planner ever week to sit and review what has been achieved. What was missed, what needs to be my focus for the next week. It should only take maybe an hour if done weekly. But it will have so much impact on ensuring I remain focused on my goals. For bigger tasks and projects I will also set dates for reviews and at the end of each 90 days. I will plan out the next 90 days so that going into each month I have a clear list of things that need to be my priority.
Delegate and teach the kids
So in no uncertain terms I have told my husband he is going to need to be responsible for certain tasks. I have created routines for washing, drying and general house maintaince and communicated these too him. I have also started involving my son more in the daily tasks. With a new baby on the way, he is going to find that he can’t get everythnig done for him and will need to wait sometimes. So I thought it was a great time to get him involved and teach him how he can help mummy and do things for himself as well. I have also created a central family board in the kitchen and my husband and I both know anything needed will be noted there and anything we need to know will also be there.
Cleaning up email and Unsubscribing
I seem to have a knack for creating multiple inboxes. Which is completely overwhelming when you don’t stay on top of them. Spend some time going through everything in your inbox and try and get it to zero. Then you can see what comes in and access it’s value as it does. I dedicated a whole week to working through mine. Unsubscribing from all the irrelevant things I had signed up to in the past year. Now I try at least several times a week to spend some focused time reviewing what has come in. Discarding those not needs and unsubscribing to things I feel are sucking my time.
Keep track of what’s needed.
Whether it’s groceries, stationary or new clothes for my son. I know run a master list of all the things I think of that we need as a family. Something I often use to do in my head. Which just takes up valuable space and often not considered when I was somewhere useful. Now I carry that list with me and review it often. Crossing off things as I get them. I am finding this is working well for grabbing bits on the go. Instead of making special trips for them when they really are needed. When I get a group of items such as groceries. Then I will make a point of doing a trip to get them all at one. So much easier at planning my time. I also share the list with my husband. So he can help get things when out
It may seem like a lot of changes and new things to remember going into 2018. However with the steps I have taken to organise my life. I now feel so calm, organised and clear about exactly what I need to do. I am not overwhelmed by the thoughts of a new baby in a few months time and know when he arrives. We will know what the plan is and be able to stick to some kind of new normal as opposed to being headless chickens. Even if you only choose to do one or two from this list. I am almost certain that by implamenting them you will see a marked improvement that will only spur you on further to focus on your year and smashing it!
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