30 Days of Organizing: Part 2

If you’ve been following my journey, you know that I outlined 12 personal goals for 2019 and shared my methods with you. You also know that I started the year off with 30 days of organizing my entire life. In part one, I shared how I totally cleaned and decluttered my space. Today, I’ll share how I organized a chore system in our home, my time management techniques, how I set myself up for success with my diet, and how I stay motivated to work out. These are all areas that I am determined to improve in after trying and starting over. I’ve found that the key is to know how you’re going to do what you’re going to do. So here it is. . .

Keeping It Clean

I know how challenging it can be to keep a clean house with children. I only have one, and it’s not any easier. Children don’t like to clean. They like to play. I’m assuming most parents don’t like to clean, either. At least not behind capable children. So I created a simple system that keeps the load mostly light for my son and for me. For those of you who want the footnotes version: We divvy up chores into small daily bites and do bigger things 2x/week. Here’s the breakdown.

  • Obviously, we are each responsible for our own bedrooms- basically bed made daily (I cheat by sleeping on the covers lol) and keeping stuff off the floors. You know the stuff I’m talking about. All the stuff. Dirty clothes go in hampers. Clean clothes go in drawers and closets. Toys and crafts go back to their respective places when you’re done. Simple. This practice alone makes cleaning so much easier.
  • We do the same in the living area. We both use the space to work and create, so the rule is put things away as soon as you’re done.
  • The problem areas are tub, toilet, and dishes. These are probably the most consistently dirty. Since my son is the reason for the toilet being a problem area, he gets the honor of being assigned the bathroom to clean (we only have one). His job is simply to make sure the seat, rim, and area behind the seat are clean every time he goes to the bathroom. During the week, we each clean the tub after ourselves for the next person’s use. I make sure that dishes are not left in the sink overnight.
  • On Wednesdays (our least hectic day of the week), we do laundry and sweep the floors. On Saturdays, we clean the whole house, but this doesn’t take as long since we’ve been keeping up with little things throughout the week. We do the bulk of the laundry, wipe down/sanitize surfaces and mop the floors.

This system keeps us on track about 75% of the time.

I keep an abbreviated version on the whiteboard.

Time Management

This one has been a major pain point for me- not only from the perspective of keeping time, but also effective use of time and burnout. One of my biggest complaints is feeling overwhelmed with work/home tasks and spacing out or just procrastinating altogether. This year, I’ve really become obsessed with productivity and started faithfully listening to what has become one of my favorite podcasts, The Productivity Show by Asian Efficiency That’s where I learned about the Pomodoro method of time management. It has changed the way I do things and given me my time back. Basically, how it works is like this: You set a timer to do tasks in 25-minute increments. (You can go longer if you’re more disciplined, but this is the exact method, and it works perfectly for me.) You focus only on the task at hand for those 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break. Stretch, walk around, go to bathroom, drink some water, whatever it is you need to do and can fit in those 5 minutes.

You do four cycles of this before taking a longer break of about 25 minutes. Use this time to clear your brain, reset, and focus on something else. I heard or read somewhere that it’s a good idea to focus on a specific detail in nature during this time- something like watching a bird or butterfly flit around or noting the blades and veins in leaves- to help clear brain fog. On days I work from home, I use this time to throw a load of laundry in the washer and straighten up a bit.

Repeat these cycles. If you can get a full 4 hours of focused work done for the day, you’ve done great!

This is how I structure my days. I have specific things I work on for specific days. This really helps me to budget my time, also. I look at my day in bite-sized slots, instead of guessing what I can fit in around any “big” important things. If I see a 25-minute slot in my day that’s unfilled, I can sometimes squeeze in something trivial that’s on my waitlist, if it doesn’t cost me extra energy. My waitlist is a list of things I need/want to do that aren’t urgent.

Another thing I’ve learned is to let distractions have their moment by taking a few seconds to put them on the waitlist. . . .or adding them as a subtask if applicable. In another post, I’ll talk about some of my time organization tools.

How I Keto

Yes, I know. Keto is all the rage. I’m writing this section with the assumption you already know how keto works. Honestly, it’s one of the easiest diets I’ve tried. What I like about it is that I generally have so much energy and don’t feel like I’m starving. It’s enabled me to work out early mornings without having to wake up 90 minutes before camp to eat. I absolutely cannot workout a full hour on an empty stomach, and I need at least a good 45 minutes for digestion between eating and working out. With keto, I wake up still full from the dinner the evening before. It’s amazing.

I set myself up for success from the start to begin my new diet. First, I did a 14-day cleanse. I made a list of keto-friendly foods that I enjoy and ones I’d like to try. I purchased a bulk meat special that I could freeze, so I’m never unprepared or running to the store last minute for food and wasting time. My meal prep days are mostly on Sundays and sometimes midweek. I keep my preferred fats in supply and purchase veggies to last at least two weeks.

Sample grocery list and steps I need to take.

I have a digital grocery list in one of the apps I use, so I never have to think about it, just replace what I need. I also have a sample menu in my journal that I pull from to decide what I’m eating for the week. This site explains keto well and also has a sample menu, which I’ve pulled some of my menu items from.

Workout Motivation

Ok. I knoooow y’all feel me on this. Working out consistently can be a challenge. It goes hand-in-hand with diet too, and if you’re like me, you like to reward yourself sometimes with cheat days- diet and workout cheat days. To avoid this blatant self-sabotage, I implemented a reward system. I set workout and weightloss goals, then I reward myself with more motivation to workout. A goal might look like working out 3x/week all month or decreasing my run time/increasing the number of sprints I can do in a time frame. When I meet these goals, I reward myself with things like a cute new workout outfit, heavier dumbbells, a jump rope, or some other tool that will help me maintain or reach my goals. Or I will purchase ingredients to try a new healthy meal that I previously deemed a waste of my funds. Lol! I like buying new things, and it beats rewarding myself with brunch, then getting totally off track. I’m probably most proud of my little reward system, because it’s a form of self-care for me, and my motivation is coming completely from within. I bought new workout clothes a few months ago, and I’m due for an upgrade in dumbbells now. Wish me luck!

Running shoes and weights bought as a reward for meeting goals.

I hope you’ve gained some insight and inspiration from this post. If you have, let me know! I’d love your feedback and to know what else you’d like to see on this blog.

My 30 Days of Organizing: Part I

If you’ve read my previous post, you know that I started the year with my first goal being organization. I typically do this 2x/year- my birthday and the start of the new calendar year. My birthday is my BIG new year, and I always want to make sure I’m entering another year of life with as little baggage as possible. I usually spend the week leading up to my birthday cleaning and organizing my personal space. January is sort of a check-in time to keep myself on track.

This January, I wanted to completely overhaul my life and establish structure in every area- home school, how I manage my time, get clear on my goals, and just generally establish order.

I want to first note that I didn’t start in January. No. I wanted to start the year off in a clear space so that I could have the intentional focus to do everything else. So during the final week of December 2018, I began decluttering and cleaning my house. I cleared away large trash bags of STUFF- old mail, toys, books, clothes. I didn’t know I had so much stuff in my house. This is because I went into the hidden spaces and opened up things I hadn’t opened in ages. The stuff that was already “organized,” but were really just condensed junk. Whew! That’s a sermon! For later though.

take out the garbage
photo retrieved from https://www.rd.com/advice/work-career/garbage-collector-secrets/

I threw out everything that was useless or hadn’t been used or even looked at in the past three years. Yes, even the old business cards that I was going to eventually transfer into a database (eyeroll). Also, the old clothes that were gonna be so cute on me when get back down that size. I boxed up clothes of mine and my son’s and drove them down to Once Upon A Child and Plato’s Closet. Got a few bucks to give the kid for spending money.

I threw out old food containers- you know the ones with missing or broken or melted tops? Yeah those. Utensils with broken handles. Bottles of shampoo, soap, etc. with half-ounce quantities of whatever substance was supposed to be in them, because I hate to waste and was gonna shake the bottles until I was sure there was nothing left. Old makeup. I even threw out books. If you know me, you know that is historic.

All of the old mail that contained sensitive info was put into a book bag so that I could later have my son run them through the shredder. He gets a kick out of shredding paper. He can have at it! By the way, if you live in Dallas or Houston, here are the dates for Resource One Credit Union’s Shred Day events.

Once everything was decluttered and organized,I went about cleaning from top to bottom. I placed new plugins in every room of my house. Then I moved to the car, throwing out the junk, wet-wiping the seats and dash, vacuuming, and putting in a new car scent.

New Year’s Day was spent taking care of me. I washed my hair, gave myself a nice long, hot bath, and put on my favorite scent. Then I saged the entire house and spent the remainder of the day meditating, enjoying peaceful music, writing, and napping. It was so sweet and exactly the loving and pampering that I needed.

Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

Later, I also saged the car.

So all of that created the perfect environment for me to focus on organizing the rest of my life.

In my next post, I’ll share my time management tips and the system I implemented to stay on top of keeping my house clean. If you enjoyed this post, drop a line letting me know what your takeaways were and what else you’d like to see talk about here. Thanks for reading!