Whenever I'm asked, "How do you do it all?" I always laugh and say, "I don't!" And then I want to ask you the same thing! We wear so many hats these days, especially when we have kids to raise and take care of. There are so many things to juggle in our lives- work (at home or outside), home room mom, sports mom, grocery shopper and meal preparer, chauffer, homework supervisor, all the while trying to have a life that may involve commitments with friends, church, fitness, caring for ailing family members, etc.
Whenever I get overwhelmed by life pulling me in different directions, I always return to my "Master List" and it helps calm me down and focus. The Master List is just a giant brain dump onto a piece of paper that I organize into different categories of my life. Getting all those ideas and to-dos out of my head and onto the page makes me breathe a little easier. When I can see the things on paper, I'm less likely to stress about forgetting something and less likely to actually forget. I can also prioritize the things that need my attention most. The Master List and Calendar are my two best organizing friends!
I have used organizational apps on my phone (like Reminders, Things, and Clear), but I always come back to my written List. Lately, I've been drafting my Master List on the computer giving the main categories a different color, then printing it about twice a week. I try to keep the first page general life categories and Page 2 for blog related things. I use Pages (the Mac equivalent of Word) and the two-column option.
Here's an example of how my Master List looked on the computer after a recent "brain dump". Some of the items aren't necessarily "to-dos" that get crossed off and are done, never to be heard of again, but more of a gentle reminder of things to do daily, like prayer or meditation. Or things I'm working with my son on, like reading/writing practice.
I'll print out the list and highlight the things I plan to do that day, and cross off items that I've completed. Doesn't crossing off feel so good?! I keep the list handy and edit and reprint as needed.
My favorite Master List accessories.
And speaking of getting organized, several of my close girlfriends swear by Amazon Prime. Do you use it? It's a program where you pay $79 a year, and get movies and books instantly, but the feature my friends rave about is the unlimited Free 2-day shipping with no minimum order size. These girls are full-time working moms who buy a lot of their household items from Amazon. While I was running from store to store trying to find everything the school required this year (and the list was not short), Angela ordered all her daughter's school supplies on Amazon while we were sitting at school during orientation! Tisha gets all her family's paper goods from Amazon so she's not lugging home a massive carload full of items. I must admit, I'm tempted to sign-up. I use Amazon a bunch, especially for random items like my bracelet organizer and a hair-drying brush (just ordered this- but it's not coming in 2 days!). It's definitely easier to shop online than to run around to stores when your time is limited.
Amazon is offering a free 30-day trial to Amazon Prime so I'm thinking of trying it. Are you using Amazon Prime? If so, how do you like it? I can imagine if I signed up, I'd start buying more household items there- the convenience sounds really nice. Do you do a version of the Master List? If you prefer an app, which one?
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I'm sharing this post with my friend Jen at I Heart Organizing.
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