Conquering the World 15 Minutes at a Time

15 minsIf you are like me, you feel like there is never enough time to get it all done. I usually keep a running to do list in my head or scare myself by actually writing it all out.  It is scary because there is more to do than humanly possibly.  Some of you will remember the sticky note method I talked about. I’m way more productive when I actually follow that method.

However, last month I went to a conference for my business and the keynote speaker said something that stuck with me.  He said there are 96 fifteen minute segments in each day.  Break down your day into smaller segments and conquer that to do list.  I was worried I would feel micro-managed but instead it is freeing.

I start with writing down the knowns for the day – appointments, after school activities, etc.  Then I fill in the routine – making lunches, car line, etc.  That leaves me with the blank spaces to fill in with household tasks, work tasks, fitness, Bible time, family time and anything else that needs to be done. I try to leave some margin in there in case things do not go as planned (because do they ever go as planned with kids?!).

It is amazing how much I have been able to accomplish this way.  My to do list is still way too long but I’m starting to see some items get checked off.  In my office I keep a white board above my desk and write projects that need done.  Having them visually in front of me helps me see where I can work in 15 minutes at a time of chipping away at those projects.

I’m still figuring out what document works the best for me for tracking this.  Doing a simple Google search brings up plenty of great options such a full week on one page, one day per page, etc.  Find what works for you and get started on feeling less frazzled and instead reaching those goals.

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Simple Organizing Tips from a Messy Mom

Blanket basket

I’m probably the last person who should be giving organizing tips because I am a chronic messy.  I try hard but there are just so many hours in a day and I don’t want to spend all my time cleaning my house.  We’ve been working for years to get more organized and just can’t seem to get there.  About a year ago, I was searching online for something and came across the blog A Slob Comes Clean. I found someone like me!  Nony is a mom who desperately wants to be organized and is making great strides towards it.  Like me, she got frustrated with all the blogs and books making organizing seem so simple yet not practical for those of us who do not come by this naturally. I’ve learned a few tips over the year from Nony and I want to share them here, along with how I implemented them.

The container concept. Many times it isn’t that we need to go buy more organizing tubs, it is rather the fact that we need to simply get rid of a lot of what we have so that it fits in the organizing area we have.  Most of the pics today will show new items I bought but that is because I didn’t have a container to start with.  In the days ahead I will show how I repurposed items I already had.

The picture above is an excellent portrayal of the container concept.  My kids love to snuggle under blankets while watching TV or playing on their Kindle. They would always complain they couldn’t find a blanket when half the time it was on the floor beneath their feet.  I felt like I was picking up and folding blankets all day long and my living room always looked cluttered.  I finally decided to buy a basket to hold them all.  My kids now know where the blankets are and that when done with a blanket it goes back in the basket.  However, when I folded all my blankets that basket was overflowing.  Not wanting to buy a bigger basket, I got rid of the blankets I didn’t really like.  We haven’t missed them a bit.

Closet Org 2

Bathroom closet that used to house layers of items. Now stored neatly in containers. I still need to label the drawers but now I can find everything instead of buy when I can’t find what I need.

Work 15 minutes a time. Have you ever started a huge organizing project only to fizzle an hour into it? I’m very guilty of this.  It is so much easier to work in little increments and defeat burnout this way.  Every day on my to do list is one 15 minute project.  It might be just part of a drawer but at least I have made progress that day.  Sometimes I really get in to it and keep going but I know I can quit guilt free after 15 minutes if need be.

Closet Org

More of the bathroom closet. These drawers were used for something else but I repurposed it for this closet. The labels help so I don’t have to go digging when I need something.

Start with the easy stuff. Organizing can be so overwhelming so start with the easy parts and work from there.  I find that by taking away a layer at a time my vision for the area becomes so much more clear.  I usually start with the trash and things I know belong somewhere else.  Sometimes that is all I have time for but it is a step in the right direction. With the bathroom pictures above, I started with all the small travel size samples that were cluttering my closet.  Once I had a place for those items it already seemed so much more organized and it gave me a vision for the rest of the items.

Towels

Keep it simple. Sometimes we make organizing so much harder than it needs to be.  For example, my boys have recently decided to take showers in our bathroom.  We only had room for 2 towels but there are five of us.  I was tired of wet towels everywhere.  We thought for ages where to hang more towels as wall space is very limited in this bathroom.  We were walking through At Home last week and I fell in love with the rack pictured above.  We were actually looking at the time for a new piece to hang jackets on as our current one only has three hooks and we need five.  At first I was disappointed that this only had four hooks and then it hit me.  We are redecorating our bedroom and the attached bathroom in a beach theme.  This fit perfectly with that theme and had enough hooks for the towels (we have a towel bar attached to the shower for the fifth towel).  We kind of thought we knew where to put it but once I walked in to the room it suddenly dawned on me to remove the existing towel bar and this fit perfectly in its place.  Here we were trying to come up with some layering system or putting hooks in random places and this simple fix was just waiting to be found.

Have you organized any area lately?  Feel free to share your projects or simple organizing tips.

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