In Pursuit of an Organized Life

. . . putting life in order

Returning to What Works

I remember attending a workshop about organizing and the instructor asking about what used to work for you in the past.  She then asked why aren’t you still doing that.   In most of the examples that I thought of, there was no good answer.

I’m finding that now.  I got busy and cut out the stuff I know that helps me.  So I’m going to get back into what worked for me before.

  • Exercising to improve my mood
  • Monthly meal plans
  • Using same motivational techniques that worked for potty training to help motivate my daughter to read

Off to sort the kids clothes and put away summer stuff while the kids are playing downstairs.

Enjoy the weekend!


Time Invested

I’m starting to realize that organization and exercise are more about time invested than a plan. I have spent time reading books and researching cleaning plans, schedules, and charts. Sadly, I’ve often spent more time on those plans than I did actually cleaning. I did the same thing with exercising. I’d pay for personal training sessions and not follow the plans that were created. Plans are great because they keep me “I’ll do it later” and help me stay focused. They also help create a rhythm to life that can be calming. However, sometimes they add unnecessary pressure. I feel like a failure if I don’t do a specific chore on that day or life happens and plans change.

I’m trying to keep it simple and just invest sometime into exercise and cleaning everyday. I’m still using the Chore Master and am currently on Level 4. It helps me to see my progress and see what chores I’m consistently neglecting. I’ve also started the Nexercise app. It’s a similar idea for exercising. You get points, levels, and medals for completing exercises. You can get bonus points by trying new exercises or exercising a certain amount. You can connect with friends and have discussions on message boards.

Once I can make it a habit, I can work on making it better. I’d rather spot clean the floor than wait until I have the time to give it a complete scrubbing. I think I will see more progress being consistent than having high levels of motivation for short periods of time.

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Hijacked Evening

I had visions of what I would do tonight (fold laundry and tidy the house). I got into creating therapy materials (noun/verb sorting by sound). While I was planning on using it for the next day, what should have taken 5 minutes ended up taking much longer. Part of it was my poor estimating skills as far as how long it would take. The other part was that I was that I was enjoying it and it was still productive.

I still am getting some tidying done, but the pile of laundry will wait until tomorrow. There are some bugs going around so I want to make sure I’m getting my sleep as well. Quick burst and then sleep!

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Gobble! Gobble!

Happy American Thanksgiving! (Canada has theirs in October)

Hope you have a great day! I’m busy packing for a trip to visit family. It always seems like it will just take a few minutes in the morning to get everything ready. 4 hours later there are still plenty of stuff to do. My mom had a document saved on the computer of a running list of things to pack. Then, we could print it off and make sure we had everything. As we got older, we were given our own list to pack our clothes and she would double check we had everything before it went into the suitcase. I am going to have to start doing that (not today though).

We wrapped a few Christmas presents for people we won’t see on Christmas day. It was fun to see each girl “sign their name” on the card. They also decorated the plain wrapping paper with stickers. We had our daughter do that with Valentines for school and it was priceless to see her pick out the stickers and color the Valentines we printed from the computer. So much more personal and WAY cheaper than buying cards.

Off to finnish packing and make lunch for the drive. Enjoy the long weekend and time with family!!

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What can I control?

I am starting to realize that the amount of what I can control is very limited. Logically, I’ve known that for a while. There are tons of self help books and inspirational quotes that say “You can’t change other people” and “Accept what is”. I’m starting to realize that more deeply and emotionally.

I have always enjoyed feeling in control and knowing what is going on.  I felt more comfortable in leadership positions than in a “worker bee” position.  I liked knowing what to expect and surprises were kind of a love/hate relationships.  I enjoyed the thrill of what might be coming, but often over analized the “What ifs”

In some ways, it’s kind of sad. To feel like even if I do everything right that things can still go up in smoke or that the plan that I carefully crafted no longer applies to the current situation.

In other ways, there is kind of a peace that comes with accepting it. I don’t feel as much pressure to make the perfect long range plan. I focus more on what decisions need to be made today, this week, and this month. I am getting better at (but not mastered) not thinking about a decision if I am missing critical pieces of information that is out of my hands.

How does this affect my life today?

  • have a loose long range plan
  • spending more time figuring out whether the decision needs to be done now or if it can wait
  • adapting to change of plans rather than clinging to what I wanted to do before the situation changed

The Challenges

  • finding the balance between being flexible and planning
  • not using a flexible schedule for being an excuse for not getting things done
  • finding a balance between saving money, items, and activities for a rainy day  versus never getting around to using or experiencing them
  • not wanting to be caught unprepared versus preparing for problems that might never come
  • being okay with living with uncertainty
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Realistic Goals

August is approaching fast. I want to enjoy and productively use the month as best I can. I also realize that I will not be able to reorganize my whole house, get into Olympic shape, and teach my daugther how to read in a month. I want to have priorities and get stuff done, but I also don’t want to feel under pressure or feel discouraged if I don’t get some of the tasks done. In the past, I’ve had lofty goals and only got a few done. Often I wasted away about 75% of the time and then crammed a few tasks in the last few days before the deadline.

It’s trying to find the balance between setting goals and getting priorities done and let the days and events flow as they may. I love the quote that I read on the health and fashion blog “The Skinny Confidential”   “Do something today that your future self will thank you for.”   I love the open endedness of it and its a good yet simple way to guide a decision.

My plan is to do a brain dump and write down all of the ideas of things I want to do before the end of summer. Then go through and highlight the top priorities. I’ll have to decide if I want to focus on one or two areas of my life and really see progress or try to do a little bit of everything. I’ll let you know what I decide later.

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Promise of Productivity

I woke up at 4 unable to fall back asleep. I meditated and tried to be still in order to not wake my husband and give sleep another try. After a half hour, I realized it wasn’t going to happen—so I got up. Honestly, I love the early morning solitude before the family awakens so I didn’t try too hard. I ordered some materials for school and replied to emails. Good things, but not house hold chores related which I am severely behind on. My system worked great the first week and I didn’t use it this past week. The chances of a system working if I don’t use them are slim.

I frequently tell myself that I will do specific tasks sometime in the future. My internal motivation has not taken care of it yet so I’m trying out some peer pressure. I realize the odds of someone hunting me down if I say something in my blog and don’t do it are slim, but it adds a sense of accountability and is worth a try.

Below are list of things I want to get done today or this weekend. Wish me luck!!


  • Sweep (and Ideally wash) floor
  • Empty/Load dishwasher
  • Plan for School  Monday and Tuesday
  • Go to Tabata
  • Watch Awake or movie
  • Blog again
  • Talk to my mom
  • Make Stir Fry

I’d like to get done/Would be nice, but may not happen this weekend

  • Clean out car (in DESPERATE need)—-its hard for me to motivate myself to do it when its cold
  • Clean out/switch purses
  • Read more of my book
  • Take Bath
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Go for run
  • Plan for school Wed, Thurs, Friday
  • Draft student report
  • Be social—phone friend, get together with friend/family, schedule future social event

That’s probably plenty for this weekend.  Enjoy your day!


The Perfect Goal

     Working in education, I know the guidelines of writing a good goal.   It should be  SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time sensitive).  For example  By March, I will be able to do X number of push-ups in 1 minute.  However, knowing the format and being able to write good goals are two different skills.

      The most difficult part is trying to figure out an attainable goal is.  Setting too easy of a goal can lead to slower progress than I am capable of or putting it off till the last minute because it isn’t that hard.  It can also be anti-climatic to meet the goals.  Setting a goal that is too hard can result in frustration or giving up.   When I set and achieve that “sweet spot” goal,  I feel a sense of accomplishment and pride and feel motivated to continue to work on that area. 

     The other challenging part for me is trying to figure out how far out the goals should be.  Too short of a time period and life gets in the way and there is limited time to see progress.  Too long and its easy to loose focus.  I suppose that is why people set long term and short term goals.  How much time am I realistically going to put into this area of my life?  How hard am I willing to work?

    The goals also relate to go with the flow or planning.  I tend to be on the fence about this one.  If I plan, it helps me feel more at ease and gives me focus.  However, I sometimes have difficulty adapting to a change of plan and can be stressful or depressing.  Going with the flow can be relaxing and allows for spontenaity, but time can be easily wasted and can lead to regret.   

    I’d love to hear your thoughts and success or struggles with goal setting.  Have a great day!

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