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How to make 2013 count

Make 2013 count

I know we’re already seven days into the new year, but for most of us it’s the first day back at work or, at the very least, getting back into some sort of post-holiday routine.

I don’t know about you, but for me the mention of the word “routine” makes me think about getting organised. It’s the first thing I think about when faced with going back to work after the holidays.

Now, while I like to think I’m a fairly organised person, I’m always looking for ways to do things better and more efficiently. Like most moms, I’m busy. I juggle two children’s activities with a busy work schedule and I try to fit in time for friends, some time to exercise, and as much quality time with my husband as I can. So doing things efficiently is important so that I can do more of the fun stuff and spend less time on the grind.

I gave some thought to the things I do to stay organised (and sometimes forget to do, but know I should do because they DO work and they’re worth sharing) and I went looking for a few new ideas to up the ante on my organisational skills for 2013. Out of this, I’ve compiled a list of the top five organisational tips I think all moms could put to use:

5 top organisational tips that will help you make 2013 really count:

1. Make a to-do list every evening: jot down between 3 and 5 things you need to do the next day. Don’t waste time with the obvious things like cooking dinner or taking the children to school. You do those things anyway. The idea is to guide your thinking when your brain is in overdrive and you’re not sure what to do next.

2. Do the most difficult, challenging or unwelcome task first: by getting THAT thing out of the way, not only do you feel empowered to move onto the next item but you’ll get through the rest of your day with a lighter heart and you’ll enjoy the next few tasks more. If it’s going to gym, just do it. Go as early as you possibly can and you’ll feel amazing about what you’ve accomplished. If it’s a doctor’s appointment, try to make an early one.

3. Spend a little time now to save a LOT of time later: Yes, we all feel exhausted at the end of the day and our weekends are packed with shopping, running errands and possibly squeezing in a few social activities, but it’s a really good idea to set aside time to do a BIG tidy up at least once a month. Here’s how:

1. Drop the little ones off with a baby sitter.

2. Draw up a list of the room/rooms you’re going to tackle in the allotted time and what needs to be done.

3. Work quickly. Don’t dilly dally over each item. If you don’t know where it should go or have a place for something, set it aside and organise what you do have a place for.

4. Donate or throw away anything you haven’t used in a while. (Be honest with yourself. You know when you’re just holding onto something because you don’t have the heart to get rid of it. If you know you can find a new home for something, it may not feel so bad.)

5. Turn your attention to those items that don’t have a place. If you’re out of energy or time, place them in a box in the garage until you have a few minutes on another day to re look the items. Otherwise, take the items to an area of the house they should be and make a spot for each one. (The key is to find easily accessible places for items you use regularly so you’ll spend less time dreading getting down to the task and more time just doing them.)

6. You don’t have to tackle every room every month. Do one or two rooms a month until each big job has been tackled. After that, little maintenance clean outs are fine and a lot less time consuming.

You will be amazed at how much time you save when you’ve got a place for everything and you’re disciplined about putting things away once they’ve been used.

If you’re not the only person in your home using things, make sure everyone knows that they’re responsible for putting items away where they were found. This is something even fairly young children can learn to do and will go a long way to helping you keep an organised home.

4. Delegate: Learn to trust people with tasks in all areas of your life. For some this may need baby steps as it’s not easy to let go of the things we feel we need to control. Start by asking someone to complete a small or unimportant task for you and see how great it is when the task is done and you have a bit more time for really important things. Build up to more critical tasks as you learn to place your trust in others.

5. Write it down: When we’re busy, have lots of responsibilities, children tugging at our skirts and so many people demanding our attention, we forget things. Keep a pen and small notebook with you or find the MEMO function on your phone. As soon as you think of something you need to remember (even if it’s where you saw an item of clothing you’d like to go back to try on, a quote you want to type out and keep or a clever idea for a recipe) write it down so it’s not adding to the clutter of information accumulating in your head.

I hope you’ll find these tips helpful. The cleaning one may be a bit daunting, but the others are simple. Try them. You’ll be amazed at the difference they can make in your life.

Then focus on filling the rest of 2013 with all the fun stuff you didn’t have time for last year.

Wishing you a fab one!!

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