Too Much on My Plate

I read a lot. Blogs, books, news articles, ads… So much information and so little time. Some of the most fascinating things I read about are how people organize their lives, trying to glean tips to make my own seem so much less of a rat race. In a busy world, with lots to take care of, organizing the mess seems like the most logical thing to do. And I love lists.

Earlier this year I attempted to pile too many things on top of myself that I could not possibly accomplish. A fresh year, a new place to live, a new job, earning my certificate. Everything was new new new! I felt like I could conquer the world, so long as my hubby stayed silent and let me. Now, almost half a hear later (I know it’s only been 5 months) I realize I bit down hard on a tough piece of steak and I have been chewing, but not really accomplishing anything.

My biggest downfall, putting way too much on my list that I either won’t, or cannot, accomplish in the limited amount of time that I have. So, last week, I tried something new. Priority! You would think that me, being a nurse and a business owner, would have this down pat. I am a machine at work. Death by fire in a float pool for over a year will do that for you. Still working on the business thing, mostly because I DO TOO MUCH OTHER STUFF.

So, here is my plan, and I would encourage everyone to think about their day to day and really consider what you want to get done versus what you have to get done.

First up, routine cleaning. Boring as all get out, I know. Eventually I want to be the mom who has the spit spot house, but I don’t want to spend hours cleaning every day. How? HOW? Well, honestly, I don’t know. This one will fall into the habits category. I decided on a simple cleaning schedule that knocks out the majority of the work in small steps.

This is the cleaning schedule I use, with some modifications. Since there are only two of us I don’t have as many dishes or laundry to do. However, I do carpet clean once a week, because dogs and humans are gross, dirty creatures, so it makes up for it in the end. Morning chores are making the bed, either loading or unloading the dishwasher, and either starting a load of laundry or folding and putting away the load of laundry. Then, each day, I pick a bigger thing to clean. Monday’s are bathrooms. I knock this out to give us an nice start to our week. Tuesdays are vacuum, mop, and carpet clean. It makes the apartment smell fresh and clean, and takes about 1.5h to complete as long as I don’t take breaks in between (which I am doing right now). Wednesday is Organize Day. Again, I spend less than two hours on this project. Thursday I dust surfaces and give a good scrub to my kitchen counters. If I don’t work, I tackle a big project, like cleaning the windows, or my car out, or the kitchen appliances. One week in four I don’t have to do nothin’! Friday I vacuum again. Saturday, if I am not working, I do one of the Thursday projects. Sunday is a free day from cleaning, other than my daily things.

House cleaning done, the next group on my list of activities is working out. For some reason I am addicted to BeachBody. I should probably become a rep, considering I have bought four of their systems. Anyway, right now I am doing their 21 Day Fix, which I will extend to 28 days (see if I can squeeze out a little extra before I blow it up on our anniversary!). It’s a pretty good system for anyone wanting to try it. I am going to get their Piyo system here soon and give that a go too. That will be another post on all their stuff I have tried.

Back to the schedule. On the three days I work I only do the 21 Day Fix. On three of the days I don’t work, so long as it doesn’t fall on leg day, I also do the C25K app, which stands for Couch to 5K. Each workout is only 30 minutes long. Really, I play Bingo on my phone longer than it takes me to complete a workout, so there is really no excuse for not having time. I won’t make those excuses anymore.

Next up is House running and Money. Budgeting, bill paying, weekly scheduling, monthly scheduling, meal planning, meal prepping, and shopping falls into this category. Depending on the task’s time frame is where I put these into my schedule. This is a good launching point for anyone starting to schedule their time out to get more accomplished. If you work a 9-5, just do one task a day. KISS is the name of the game. Keep it simple, stupid. If you work 3 12h shifts, like I do, double some of these tasks up, such as shopping and meal prep. This is another on of those things I want to have ingrained as a habit before babies start popping out. It is also one of the biggest time sinks in most peoples lives and creates a lot of stress. Take your time, make the tasks small so that you can complete them. You can always add more stuff in later, and I plan too.

Last, but most definitely not least, is Hobbies and Fun. For me this includes cross stitching, crocheting, crafting, blogging, writing, reading, and video games. Yes, I do schedule this stuff in on my need to do list. I don’t have to spend 7h doing it (but I do anyway), but if I do get half an hour in or so, I can check it off my list of things done. There is a reason for it. I won’t sacrifice the things I love doing simply because it doesn’t seem productive.

There you have it. My list of things I do during the day. I have them all written down so I can check them off in my weekly planner. The list is short, usually between 5-10 items that need to be completed that day. There is purpose behind it being such a short list. I used to fill each day up with dozens of things I wanted to get done. I never completed the list and by the end of the week I could see all the good intentions I never finished. It was defeating. Now I have a list, that is manageable, and I complete it most every day. Sure, there are days when some stuff gets missed. Yesterday I didn’t write on my novel, but I did read a third of a novel. Balance.

In time I will add more to the list. I plan to increase on a monthly basis. Right now I am in the midst of a month. As I feel I have a good handle on what I am currently doing I will add one or two things a day and keep it like that for a month. This hinges on making good habits and getting them to stick. Overloading myself has not worked. Now to try a different approach.

What about you? What do you do to relax? How do you work your schedule so you get everything you want and need to do in a day done? Let me know. Until next time, Let’s make it happen Cap’n!


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