Often times it takes doing things the hard way before you learn. Some of you, who are organized by nature, may wonder why this is such a revelation. This is written for those of you who are not naturally organized and are learning every day how much it pays to be so.
I, for one, am tired of running around in circles and being stressed by trying to keep up with it all. If you are not a naturally born organized person you try adding a few kids to the mix and see if you don't lose your mind. I have seen people with large families who run like a well oiled machine, and large families who don't. In comparing the two, it is the families who are organized that operate the greatest.
I have a long ways to go in getting organized, but one of the biggest things I can do right now is to be a better manager of my time. The other day I was giving my eighteen month old a bath. She likes to play for a bit after her bath. Since leaving her in the bathroom by herself is not an option, I found myself sitting on the toilet and feeling like I was wasting time. One day while sitting there I looked around and saw how terribly messy my bathroom is. It truly is one of the messiest rooms because most people don't see it so I don't clean it as often. I decided from now on while waiting I was going to make it a habit of cleaning or picking up something as I waited. Suddenly, on a consistent basis my bathroom is looking much better.
Why has this not crossed my mind before? Being neat does not come natural for me. This is such a small thing that requires no more than about fifteen minutes. However, when you are spending fifteen minutes in an area on a consistent basis, it is amazing how much cleaner the place becomes.
I was talking with a friend of mine the other day, who also has really young kids, and is not naturally neat. Both of us have the same problem. We clean all day, feel like we never stop working, yet the house does not look clean. She said to me that she starts all these things, but rarely finishes them. I realized that is the same thing I do. All day long I work, but I do not follow through or finish the job very well. I may wash clothes all day, but then they lay on the bed waiting to be put away or folded. At the end of the night when I am ready to fall into bed, there is the mountainous pile of clothes. By this time of night I just move them all unfolded over to my little table. In the morning I start washing again, adding to my already huge problem. I have started forcing myself to fold and put away the ones I get out of the dryer. If you actually turn on the timer, it takes less than ten minutes to fold and put away. It is silly that I can not stick to something for fifteen minutes at a time.
I take on projects that are too big. The other day it was so pretty outside I was itching to get out there and work. Rather than set my timer for fifteen or twenty minutes, I just went to work. I decided to weed all the thistles in my back yard. I went to work and weeded for an hour an a half. ( had no idea that much time went by as my daughter was sleeping and my son was happily digging in the dirt as well) Suddenly, I realized I had thirty minutes before I needed to leave to give some horseback lessons. I flew around trying to gather snacks for my kids, get my daughter up and shoes on, and get out the door to make it on time. Two hours later, when my husband came home, he surely wondered what had happened. The back yard looked like an armadillo had been digging all over, with weeds strewn every where, inside the dishes were all over the counter because I had not cleaned up our lunch dishes before I went outside, there was stuff flung all over the living room as I had been racing through the house gathering things to take, and piles of unfolded laundry on our bed. Does this sound familiar? I had truly worked hard all day, but if anyone had walked into our house it would look like chaos.
From now on I have to make myself set the timer. If I had pulled weeds for fifteen minutes, I would have also had time to wash and put away the dirty dishes, fold the laundry, get the kids ready and not been rushed. The house would have looked neat and I would not have been all stressed out and yelling at the kids to hurry out the door.
I can look at these patterns of behavior and see that if I were more organized my day would feel and look more productive. It doesn't take special containers or gadgets ( although those might help too) but simply following through and finishing one thing at a time.....little by little.