Let’s talk a little more about Time Management as a life skill. I already told you how not to do everything at the same time. Let’s talk about another time waster that we are all so fond of: Worrying.
I like to think of worrying as your brain behaving like a toddler telling you facts. Toddlers make up stuff all the time. It doesn’t mean that they are lying. No, they just have a very big imagination. We, I believe, don’t really grow up. We may seem to have given up on imagination and fairy tales and make believe but our brains still does that. When we were kids, we gave ourselves nightmares. When we grow up we gave ourselves ‘worry’. The license to fret over every little thing too. To obsess, to be anxious, to worry.
If we look at all the ways we worry, it would come to a very long list. We magnify our problems and look at it under all those microscopes. Micro-detailing things, as I like to call it. We forget that we are wasting our time and our energy doing it. In fact, we don’t realize it!
What I’d like to say is: Don’t Fret, Just KISS!
KISS, stands for Keep it simple Stupid. That’s another of the gems I collected years ago and I love love it. What it really means is that we should simplify our lives actively.
|Go ahead stick it on your wall or your desktop. We all need to be reminded of it all the time!|
My problem, as with most moms- Stay At Home or otherwise, is the chores. I always feel that if I didn’t have chores to do, I’d accomplish a lot and go a lotta places. (May be get my PhD too! What? I can dream, can’t I?!)
So as I were saying, when you think of a problem, put on your thinking hat. Chores, are just that, a chore. We all have them. We all hate them but we all have to do it. Some of us are super successful, some are not and some so smartly, outsource them. If you are like me who wants to do it all then this post is definitely for you. Let’s find ways to KISS together.
Here is my take on problem solving: Think of your problem as a giant cookies. You can’t put the whole of it into your mouth. You wouldn’t be able to chew or swallow, even if you tried. How would you eat it then? Yes, you’d take a bite, chew it properly and then swallow it. You don’t wanna be a Cookie Monster either. As we all know, Cookie Monster only creates crumbs. We don’t want the extra job of having to be the one sweeping the crumbs too, do we?
What I am saying is that when you have a problem:
- Break it down to as many small do-able tasks as is possible.
- Clear one task before you move on to the other one.
- Make sure the whole problem is solved before you pick on another bigger one.
- Don’t fill your list with more things before you have removed, erased or ticked off one task. Never head EAST, remember.
- Don’t get into the habit of jumping from one thing to another either.
I also believe in working fast when you are doing chores. You don’t want to be the one doing chores all day, would you? Think about why it is possible to clean a whole messed up house, from dishes to vacuuming to putting things in order in two hours, if you have a guest coming over all of a sudden. The reason why we accomplish that, is because we are racing against time. We don’t want to get caught with a duster and a mop in our hand when they arrive! Exactly that! You know you can work fast. So do it often. One way I find easier to achieving those results is when I promise myself something. ‘If I clean up the dishes at night, I’ll sleep in till the kids wake me the next morning.’ That, has never happened so far but I love getting up to a clean kitchen. It just makes my day start so happier.
Here are a couple of ways, I try to keep things together.
In the Kitchen
- Get into a habit of clearing and cleaning up stuff as and when you get it or make it. That goes for clearing the counters, wiping the appliances, doing the dishes, putting them away and most importantly the grocery.
- How do you clear grocery? No, don’t just put them in the fridge, freezer or pantry and forget about it. Cut the vegies and fruits and freeze them or do whatever it is you wanted to do. You bought carrots and cabbage for the coleslaw? How long does it take to run them through the processor.
- Sort the meats, chicken and fish. You want to grill that chicken, make kabobs of that mince? Instead of putting it away to be tackled later, add the spices or marinade and then freeze it. You eliminate one step for your very busy weekday.
- Make Freezer Meals. I always cook two or more portions more than I need and then I freeze it. It saves me a lot of stree when I cannot cook anything at all. I also make half cooked meals. Things like pizza base, boiled macaroni, fillings of various sorts, get the idea/
- Cheat. When you cook, cheat. I always look for shortcuts when I cook. Canned beans, store bought tomato paste, store bought frozen vegies and frozen meals. (Always read the ingredients for what is in there!) Try using what is readily available in your 5 minute meals. Some frozen vegies, some pre cooked frozen chicken, left over rice… voila! Fried rice. DISCLAIMER: I DONT use canned or packaged stuff anymore. We are like that now.
- Plan your meals. Always plan your meals. I didn’t do this until very recently and this made life so much easier. You know exactly what you are having and so does everybody else in your family. you have all the groceries too because when you go shopping, you know exactly what to buy. Then there is also the choice of having time to do the preparations in advance.
Home and Laundry
There are just too many things needed to keep your home and hearth in order. When do you declutter, vacuum that rug, clean those floors… aagh! The bathrooms! You just don’t know when to do the laundry… or you do it everyday and you need control? We all have some laundry trouble and more so if you already have other things to think about. This is what I found working for me:
- Make a Schedule. Whatever works for you is just fine but just make sure you aren’t doing everything all the time. Laundry 3 times a week (i.e, Whites/darks/coloured), Vacuum twice a week, the floors once a week. Get the idea?
- What about wardrobes: Hang everything. No… I mean the clothes. I have gone crazy about that. I hang everything that I can and those that I can’t… I roll them and place them in rows. they look neat, visible and they stay put even if they fall out for some reason.
- Put the sheets in their cases and roll the towels.
- How to keep your house looking clean and longer? Get in the habit of giving your house the once over every night. You cannot be everywhere so involve your family. Make it a tradition that every night before going to bed each of you does their share of house work. This is how we do it:
- Kids: Every night before bed: kids put the toys and books away. He arrange his bag for school the next day. She just puts her stuff away. They put everyone’s shoes away at the door. (We have a common shoe storage)
- Hubby: Every night before bed he sorts the change, receipts and the mail. He has to put the media and laptops and chargers back where they belong. That is as easy as putting his hands into his pocket and putting the laptop and chargers in their places, actually!
- Me: I clean the kitchen counters and dishes if any. I also sort and start the laundry for the next day.
There are days when we don’t do it all and things look a mess but that is okay. We go back and do it again. Somedays the dishes will be and the laundry needing to be sorted but… Atleast life is simple. Don’t worry about it. Things will get done. As a mom, I cannot do it all. With two kids, I managed. With two kids and a pregnancy, I struggled. With three kids and an illness, I gave up. I am not ashamed of it because I know my priorities and I believe, I am doing good on that front., so it’s okay. As I said, don’t fret… relax. It is okay to be less than perfect. Perfection kills. Life will go on but your health if you destroy it worrying, you can’t get it back. Trust me, I am living this. You have one life, one body. Don’t waste it worrying.
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