Having to manage your time and tasks can either be your closest friend or fiercest enemy, depending on your organizational abilities, discipline, and execution.
As a busy working stay-at-home mom, business owner, wife, friend, neighbor, sister, daughter, (and numerous other roles), there were many times in my life where I ran on pure, raw energy, jumping from task-to-task with no real (or clear) control over my day.
Much like a puppet on a string, I allowed my life to be controlled by an invisible force called responsibility. Let’s just say that Mr. Responsibility and I were NOT friends, and we clashed on many occasion resulting in stressful, joyless, and exhaustive days.
Fast-forward to this year and the snapshot of my life paints a much more balanced, happy, and controlled existence.
So what am I doing so differently today that allowed me to become the puppet master, pulling my own strings?
Below are some of the things I have implemented over the years, through trial and error, that allowed me to slow down, take a breath, and organize my day in a way to accomplish the things that needed doing. I hope you will find some inspiration in some of these ideas.
10 Ways to Take Control of Your Life:
1. Grocery List Chalkboard
When a food item runs out, the person to finish the item is responsible to list it on the chalkboard. When it’s time to go shopping, I take a picture with my phone. If it’s not on the list … Oops! Sorry! (Maybe next time you’ll remember to write it down).
The way it goes in — is the way it comes out rule. I’m serious. If you really want to throw your t-shirts in the laundry inside out, you’ll get them back, but in the exact same manner.
3. Meal Planning
I write the week’s meals on a piece of paper or the chalkboard and do all of my prep work on Sunday afternoon. This includes washing, cutting, and storing fruits and veggies. This way, we always have grab-and-go produce ready for lunches, snacks, or to cook healthy meals with during the week.
4. Enlist The Kids
AKA: Walk the dog, clean the kitchen, bring in the mail, and take out the garbage. (Hey, if you can’t get help from your kids, then why have them in the first place? :-) )
5. Date Night
It may not happen every week, but a date night with my husband to reconnect is a mental and emotional lifesaver for me.
6. Turn Off The Electronics
I’m a workaholic so sometimes I need to consciously turn off my phone and computer and just spend time with my family or myself. The world is not going to fall apart if I disconnect for an hour.
7. Don’t Overbook
It took me a long time to figure this one out. But I literally do not schedule more than 2 commitments in one day. For example, I may have a parent/teacher meeting and a business conference call on the same day. If a customer wants to also schedule a meeting or call, I give them other optional days from my schedule.
8. Pick Up Stuff Every Night
I take 5 – 10 minutes before bed every night to pick up anything I left hanging around the house. The same rule applies to my husband and children. This way, we start with an organized home in the morning.
9. Don’t Fret the Small Stuff
If we’re running late for church, or the laundry is piling up, or the dog needs a bath, or the linens need changing, I don’t allow these needed things to wreck my day. They will all still be there when I have the time to address them.
10. Schedule Exercise
Whether it’s a long walk, a yoga class, or some time on the treadmill, I treat my exercise like work. If it’s scheduled, there’s a better chance it will get done.
How you do take control of your life? Would love to hear your tips and strategies for maintaining balance and order on a daily basis.
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Jan Pinnington is a Nutritional Consultant, wife, mother, and “consummate foodie.” She specializes in teaching nutrition and healthy recipe preparation to kids. In an effort to fight childhood obesity, Jan’s company, Healthy Hands Cooking, teaches other women across the U.S. to do the same. Her philosophy? Love what you do, do what you love, and share your experience with others.