I have to admit, this new norm of quarantine really has my mind racing. The first two weeks were chaotic, but fun. But when they announced the closure of schools for the remainder of the year, I cried. I don’t cry often, but I cried that day. How will I have time to continue to run (grow) my business (my passion), while at home with my energetic 4-year-old and 6-year-old boys e-learning, crafting, and entertaining them 24/7? How will I keep the house from becoming a disaster every day? When will I meal plan and get groceries? When will I see my friends and family? When will I exercise?
Now that the reality has sunk in, we are settling into our groove. It's not perfect, but it's all about balance. We're managing to fit some work, some play, a little creativity, and quite a few laughs into most of our days, embracing this chaotic time together while we can.
A Few Ways to Keep Yourself on Track
Have Amazing Self-Discipline
This is a very strong trait of organized people. Self-discipline is difficult to develop, but once developed it becomes second nature. It is easier to become self-disciplined if you have clear meaningful goals and stick to them no matter what.
Wake up early. Waking up early has dramatically changed my life forever! There are times when I sleep in and I regret it every single minute of that day! Just wake up early, get your workout in, or coffee, journaling, whatever you need to accomplish in the mornings and get your day off on the right foot. For me, I put in most of my work in the mornings before kids are awake, so waking up early is non-negotiable. My morning routine consists of getting myself ready, doing a load of laundry, getting smoothies ready, responding to emails, and when school is in session-packing lunches. This has completely changed my life and my outlook on the day ahead. Just Get Going!
Set deadlines and stick to them. I work fastest when there’s a deadline coming up because that work always gets bumped up to being my top priority. I’m definitely not suggesting that you leave everything until the last minute, please don’t do that; but because you’re more focused when time is limited, set deadlines for everything! I found that the tasks that I didn’t have proper deadlines for, usually my personal projects, dragged on and on and constantly got deprioritized. Set realistic deadlines for everything you want to achieve to make sure it actually gets done when you want it to be done.
Be consistent-routines are everything. Create those habits and routines! You would not believe how many times I have had my schedule completely moved around for one reason or another, and how on those days so little gets accomplished! Be consistent. Be consistent with kids chores, laundry, dishes, e-learning, meals, workouts, posts, project timelines, bedtimes, etc. Have a set date and time for it all and stick to it. You would be surprised how quickly your body and mind get used to doing things on certain days/times and how easily it is for you to jump into those specific tasks because you already know it is coming.
Live by Your Calendar
This is without a doubt the organizational technique that has kept me organized the most. It may sound crazy, but strictly following my calendar actually gives me a sense of freedom. Instead of constantly worrying about whether I might be forgetting something important I’m supposed to do (because I know I would!), I can relax knowing that I’m right where I’m supposed to be.
Keep an up-to-date calendar. I am a digital calendar gal all the way! I am always tweaking and reorganizing mine, and I would have several pieces of paper floating around if I were using pen and paper. There are tons of to-do list and organizing apps out there, but for me, simply using my iPhone Calendar app works best because I can access it from anywhere. When I am making my calendar appointments, I can easily add something related to my to-do lists-which I keep in my Reminders app.
Use the Weekends to Plan for the Week Ahead. You’ll be amazed how much stress and chaos can be avoided if you take 20-30 minutes on the weekend to get yourself organized for the week ahead. My Sunday afternoon check-in with my calendar is crucial! Here are all of the things I make note of when looking at my upcoming week:
work appointments and deadlines
husband's travel schedule
social commitments-I send messages to confirm any plans and to remind others.
workouts-I always schedule my workouts for the week and add them to the calendar. Once I created this habit, it became my routine and my commitment to myself.
family dinners for the entire week-add them to the calendar
school projects and happenings
I also add everything each week to our family command center custom acrylic board for everyone in the family to see. Ours is located in our mudroom hallway and everyone passes it every day so it is easy for the entire family to stop by and take a look. Whether you like paper or prefer to go digital, keep it consistent and stick to it. Check out our Command Center here!
Everything Has a Home
Have a place for everything. Cleaning up around the house is usually the last thing I want to do (and I’m guessing it’s the same for most of you), but my state of mind is so much calmer when my surroundings are clean and uncluttered. So, I’ve worked really hard to cultivate the habit of creating a home for EVERYTHING-and instilling this in my family! If everything has a home (with a label), it will be much easier for everyone to get into the habit of putting things away.
Clean up as you go. Practice and teach your family to clean up as you go. When you're done with something, put it away right then! I put my clothes away right when I get undressed at night and sort the mail right when I bring it inside. It’s a practice that takes (literally) less than a minute and goes a long way in making life feel less chaotic. In a nutshell-don’t procrastinate!
Set a time to pick up each day. If anything was left out during the day, this is the time to tidy up, so you are ready for a fresh day tomorrow. Make it a habit for everyone to spend 5-10 minutes at the end of each day to go around the house and see how many items each person can find out of place and put them away.
Write Down All of your Random Thoughts
I have a terrible memory, and the only way I can hold onto ideas and inspiration is by writing everything down. I use the basic Notes and Reminders apps that comes installed on the iPhone and syncs up to my macbook, and I keep dedicated notes and reminders for pretty much everything. I use the Reminders app to jot down anything that I need to do, research, purchase, or any other list items, and I use the Notes app for free writing (post content, notes about my kids, or funny quotes they say!). Here are some of my Reminder lists:
beauty products to check out
books I want to read
gift ideas for friends and family
things to do with my love
things to do with the boys
If You Don't Use it, Let It Go
I am a firm believer that cluttered surroundings make for a cluttered mind, so I am continuously sorting through different areas of my life and home, letting go of anything I don’t love or need anymore. With the exception of emotionally significant keepsakes, I stick to the rule of “If I haven’t used it in a year, I can live without it.” If you are someone who tends to hold onto things that you don’t need, I bet you’ll be amazed at how freeing it can feel to clear your space of everything but the items you truly use and love.
Donate. Donate it, put it on Facebook Marketplace, or check out our Giving Back page for other ways to let go of these items - then revel in the peaceful feeling that an uncluttered life brings.
Maintain Regularly. Don’t forget that this decluttering process has to happen continuously as you acquire new things and go about your daily life. I try to choose one little area of my house to reorganize each week, and as a result, no one area of my house ever gets too out-of-control.
Use Technology as Much as Possible
For those times when it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day, it may be time to look at which of your daily tasks you can either automate or get help with. There are so many apps out there that are geared toward saving us time, and it’s worth checking out the ones that service your area.
Banks/Other Money Transfer Options - can deposit checks, transfer money, pay bills/credit cards, and send or receive money to/from friends and family. PayPal, Venmo, Chase QuickPay Zelle, Apple Pay, and Google Pay are among the popular options for quick and easy money transfers.
Socialize - use apps like Zoom to connect with (and see!) friends and family.
Exercise - there are many options for exercise at home. My favorite barre studio B Present Fishers offers on demand barre classes that you can take whenever your schedule allows, as well as live virtual classes throughout each day!
Take Responsibility for Your Life
Everyone has disappointments, failures, and setbacks. However, it's how you choose to deal with them that make a difference. Successful people avoid playing the victim role and take credit for their successes and failures. Further, they ask themselves "what can I learn from this?" and they move on with grace. Stay true to yourself and master these habits; good habits will help catapult your dreams into reality so you can truly live your best life possible.
Elevate yourself. What do I mean by that? I mean, always work on yourself. Eat healthy, workout, read more books, journal what is going on in your feelings. Schedule your days: have a morning routine, a nighttime routine, take care of your relationships, try and be a better version of yourself every single day!! Knowledge is power, so if you don’t know something learn it! Read about it, do research, watch youtube videos, listen to podcasts, etc. Do whatever it is that brings you joy.
Love yourself. Love yourself on days when you are not creative, productive or upbeat. This is life. It is going to have ups and downs. It is ok, to be sad when going through a rough season. Love yourself anyway! Always be sure to reward yourself for your hard work. Even when you didn’t get everything planned done to make sure you pat yourself on the back for everything you did achieve. Reflect on the day. Make a note of what you did well and what you could have improved. You might want to have a journal specifically for your productivity reflections.
Be present. This time is hard and it makes it even harder not knowing when it will end. Try to get past the end and be present now, for you, your significant other, and for your children. We will all be back to our lives outside of our homes again soon, so let's embrace this time while we can to focus on our relationships and to reach out to anyone who could use us during these difficult days.
What has helped you stay organized through chaotic times? Leave us a comment below or tag us on Facebook or Instagram @thesimplelifeindy, we would love to hear from you!
Now is the time to slow down and get organized. Stay home, stay healthy, and enjoy each day you have with your family!
Photos taken by: Lindsey Kate & Co. Photography