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How scheduling, systems and organization has drastically reduced my stress | Part 1

When I was younger, I have to admit, I was quite the disorganized and anti-schedule type of person. I would always say “I am an artist” as the reason for my disorderly way of living. Well, the truth was that I didn’t care about living in a more organized way because I didn’t see how it would benefit my life, I didn’t have kids, or a husband to care for and it just felt like it would be a lot of work.

But as I dove wholeheartedly into adulthood through getting married, buying a house and starting a family, I began to see how my disorganization actually brought me a lot of stress.

Unfortunately, it took me years to begin grasping the concept of living in a more organized fashion in order to reduce my stress. And the funny thing about it all that I absolutely didn’t see coming, was how much I would love organizing and decluttering my life.

how scheduling, systems and organization drastically reduced my stress

It all began with our son, Max. Max is high-spirited, playful, sweet and is also Autistic. This means that he functions best in an organized and structured environment. If he can count on everything being in it’s assigned place then he can think more clearly and keep from feeling overwhelmed. Also being a young child he is messy and needs a lot of assistance, so having designated places for all his things, but keeping them easy to clean up is a must so that our house doesn’t end up looking like a garbage dump at the end of the day.

As the years have gone on, we have created solutions for organization to assist Max in his daily life. Everything from a binder of pictures (known as PEC symbols) of all the food he eats so that he can communicate what he wants to eat every mealtime, to many stacked containers of activities for him to choose from.

The more I set out to create systems and organization for Max, the more I saw areas around our house and in our daily schedules that could use these systems as well, and it got me excited.

It meant no more stuffing random things into drawers or cupboards, no more holding onto things that we didn’t use or like, and cutting down on the overwhelm of feeling like there are so many things to be done and not enough time to do them, sound familiar?

Going into 2019, this was of huge importance to me. I felt like I was drowning in disorganization for a long time that it would physically drain me. I have goals that I plan on achieving and in order to get there, I need to create room in my life to make the necessary steps to achieve them, and systems help me do that.

So, I went and made myself a list.

If you’re a list person then I know you’re already excited. I’m a list person too, so while all those non-list-loving people look at us like we’re wackos, you and I can be list-besties and take part in the gloriousness of list-creating and how it helps keep our day to day functioning well.

Here is what my list looked like:

Areas of my life that bring me stress:

1. Work
  • Not enough time for creating
  • Last minute blog posts
  • Social Media
2. House duties
  • Chores not being completed
  • Disorganized rooms
  • Laundry piles
3. Clutter
  • A closet full of unwanted clothes
  • Kitchen cupboards and drawers full of crap
  • Papers stashed everywhere
  • Toys scattered
4. Mom duties
  • Rushing to appointments
  • Last minute meals
  • Not enough quality family time

Slowly on evenings and weekends, along with my hubby, we started tackling all the areas on the list by looking at how we could either schedule, organize or create a system that would aide in reducing stress and upping functionality.

And because this has worked so well in our high-energy level and busy household, I thought that I would share with you the key things we have changed so that if you’re looking to remove stress and clutter from your life, these might be some great options for you!

As I have SO much to share with you, I went and asked you all on Instagram if you would prefer one suuuuper long post with all the information crammed in, or have it split up into two posts for easier digestion. And 95% of you asked for it to be split up, so that’s what I’m giving you!

This post (part 1) will be details on how I tackled stress areas #1 – Work and #2 – House Duties from my list above. In next Monday’s post (part 2), I will share about how we have decluttered areas of the house and how I have implemented scheduling to make my mom duties more manageable.

So let’s dive in!

Work – Not Enough Time & Too Much To Do

So there were 3 big areas when it came time for me to work that I was struggling with.

Not having enough time for creating, which is important and an enjoyable part of the job for me. Writing last minute blog posts, which made them feel disconnected from each other and was extremely overwhelming for me each week. And social media, mainly photo taking and caption writing. Again this was a left till last minute issue that kept coming up.

All of these issues boiled down to one big problem.

Not having a system for completing tasks in a timely manner and that could get me ahead of the game to leave room for the creating. And this problem was solved by one HUGE solution – BATCH WORK.

Hallelujah! Thank the LORD! For the QUEEN of systems herself, Jenna Kutcher,came to this mamma’s rescue and gave me the gift of time!

If you have not heard of batch work, then my dear sister, get ready to be mind blown and excited for more time coming your way!

Batch working is highly-focused, topic-specific forms of work that is systemized by dividing your workflow into different days/hours of ONE TOPIC instead of jumping around from task to task.

So basically, instead of going at one blog post at a time by coming up with the topic, title, research, writing, taking photos and editing all in one week (yup, that’s what I was trying to cram in) instead, I now plan 3 months worth of blog topics in one hour, gather research for a months worth of posts in an afternoon, take a months worth of photos in one day, and am left with one evening for writing the body of my posts and final edits.

This means that I am way far ahead for the content that I am creating so that I don’t have to even think about it for when the time comes to writing it. Doesn’t it just make so much sense? It’s hard to believe I was doing things so differently before. And the great thing is that you can implement batch work into any area of your life that requires steps.

I was able to take this same approach for taking photos and writing captions for my social media and all of this has given me an immense amount of more time to do the thing that I really love to do – create.

And because I really want you to feel less stress in your life, here is Jenna’s post and podcast episode all about how to batch work so that you can implement it into your daily work and have more time for the things you care about the most.

The next area of stress for me was:

House Duties – Discorganization & Completing Tasks

Keeping the house in a functional state is one of my main jobs as a stay at home mom, and even though it’s my least favourite thing to think about, it still needs to get done. Before I adapted some new systems, it felt like I was always trying to keep up with doing the key things around the house, but the not so key things would get left far too long that I would be filled with shame (like dusting. Sometimes, that pile of dust is so thick that I swear I can see it growing before my eyes)

First of all, let’s get one important thing out of the way before I talk about how I have solved my house duty problems.

This is not a 100% of the time solution. If you’ve got kids then there will be chores that get left by the way side.

Fact: we do not complete all the “daily chores” every day. We don’t always get all of the weekly chores done either, because life happens and kids LOVE to throw you off your game.

Even though we love our kids to death – they are work. So remember to cut yourself some slack when you’ve had a long day and you feel like your systems didn’t get the work 100% finished. The point here is to make working through the tasks way easier and less stressful.

So to start with, I created a chore chart.

Chore chart for completing family house duties - organization and systems

Cory and I sat down together and wrote out every chore we could think of, then we separated them into categories of how regularly they needed doing, and then from there, we took the list of daily task and organized them by the level of importance. This way, if I am busy in the kitchen cooking dinner, or helping the kids, Cory can start working through the list to help get things done. And we switch it up like that as the day/evening goes by.

Cory never has to ask me what needs doing (which I can’t stand after attending to whiny kids all day), I don’t feel like I’m nagging at him to do chores because I don’t have to say anything, he just gets right to it (super husband am I right?) and we are taking on the house duties as a team which is what it’s all about.

We took to organizing rooms a day at a time, clearing out anything that didn’t belong and finding a new permanent place for it. Any small things went inside boxes or containers in a designated spot so that it could be put back there once it was done being used.

scheduling, systems and organization reduce stress

A large part of organizing each room also meant decluttering which I will be talking about in part 2 next week!

But we make sure that on the chore chart under “daily chores” that we have general tidying as something to help enforce keeping the place organized. This is largely about building new habits which for us has meant not being lazy and actually doing the work to keep the house in order.

One little tip I have for you if the idea of picking up everyday drains your energy as much as it does for me, is that when I know I need to do the work but I’m not feeling up to it, I put on some music or a podcast that can keep my mind in a place I enjoy being while I am tidying and it makes the process way more pleasant!

We noticed that our main source of disorganization within each room was piles of clothes.

Clothes would get taken off wherever the kids were in the house at the time and get left there. We didn’t have a good system for dirty and clean clothes and so they would often get mixed together, and then would need to be sorted once we realized we needed some clothes to wear. Again, not such a good plan.

So in order to fix this issue, we bought 3 new laundry baskets that sit at the end of our bed and are for dirty clothes. One for Cory, bedding and towels, one for me, and one for the boys. So the second dirty clothes come off, they can get thrown into the basket. And in the case that we don’t have enough time to run the clean clothes up to the bedrooms, we put the worn but still wearable clothing temporarily in these laundry baskets just to keep them off the floor and furniture so we can come back to them later.

Eliminating stress also means creating some ease for getting a task done and in this case, it meant having an area to “throw” pieces of clothing somewhere when we can’t get to it right away, so putting them in the baskets has kept clothes in one place instead of everywhere.

We also have individual laundry baskets that stay in our laundry room so that once the clothes come out of the dryer they get immediately sorted into the persons own basket and gets taken right up to their rooms.

With this system, the dirty clothes have one spot, and once the basket is full, the clothes get laundered. Once the clothes are clean, they go directly into their designated room without needing to plan another time towards separating and folding. it’s done in one quick shot.

I have to be honest, with how bad the piles were before, I didn’t expect the new system to work so well or so quickly, but to my wonderful surprise, it did. It’s easy and feels like less then half the work it did before – and that’s saying a lot for laundry.

So, what were your thoughts about Part 1?

Are you currently implementing any systems like this? Do you have a different system that works for you that you would be willing to share in the comments below?

Don’t forget to check back next Monday for Part 2 of this post! Otherwise, I hope you have a lovely week ahead.

Talk soon,

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