Sunday, November 21, 2010

10 tips for being organised ~ Tip #3

Tip #3
Have a back up plan - before you have the main plan

I'll explain Tip #3 in a minute.... but before I go there I have to say... Tip #3 is a PRACTICAL tip.
Unlike Tip #1 and Tip #2, this one is practical.

If you've read the first two tips and are saying 'At last! Practical is what I need! I was wondering if we'd ever get to the practical!'... or anything else that sounds even remotely like that... then my educated guess is that YOU need to go back and immerse yourself in both tips one and two. Pray that God will open your heart and eyes to anything that you can learn from them.

Without having a handle on both the first tips, then you will go jumping from one practical tip to the next, from a variety of sources... and nothing will ever come together. I know. I've been there, done that and bought the T-shirt (well, the organising books actually!)

So - back to Tip #3
Have a back up plan - before you have the main plan

or as I call it 'My Out of Routine Recovery Plan'

I use it every time that life is upside down. Be it returning from an emergency trip interstate, or at the end of a week like last week when there was too much to do in too little time or just when I've had a backwards day or two and I don't know which way is up. Maybe it's after coming back from a family holiday or camping trip... I use it at the point where once I might instead start searching (probably online) for some 'new' organising help, information and ideas.

Step 1 - Get the children occupied... be it sleeping, TV, outside - whatever... at this point it doesn't matter. Just get them out of your head for an hour or two. If this is not possible and they'll be clinging on... then I just say 'Tough, get over it and make it work'... if you use that as your excuse, you haven't done your homework on Tip's #1 & 2 and you don't have my sympathy! If you work better with some cheerful music or essential oil burning - now is the time to get that happening now. I like Andre Rieu if I have the headspace for the extra noise and as for essential oils, something citrus is always nice and energising. Now is not the time for vanilla! Down a glass of water and move on to step #2

Step 2 - Figure out the next couple of meals. Yes, even if it's 7pm and the next meal is breakfast... ot it's 8am and lunch is hours away... get the next 2-3 meals SORTED. Again at this point, don't worry about health so much as full tummies. This is not about your usual standards and the ideal way you would like to live. It's about finding short term sanity so you can start to move forward to that ideal. 2 min noodles with tuna, a bowl of wheat biscuits and milk, baked beans on toast, a bag of frozen potato gems... WHATEVER... just know what the next few meals are and write them down. (one day, down the track, not to far away from now - you will actually have a spare casserole or two in the freezer for days like this.... so keep the faith but just don't aim for it now unless you already have something like that in the freezer okay?). If the next meal happens to be NOW or when you are working through this list, that's fine - make it happen when it needs to and be thankful you're now on top of it... and then just move onto the next step.

Step 3 - Spend no more than 30min and get the 3 wet areas looking/working better. Note: looking better... not 'up to scratch'. Put the dishwasher on or run a sink of dishwater and load it with dirty dishes - or both.... put a load of washing in the washing machine and turn it on - for me, this used to be a rewash of the load I had left in there and had now gone smelly (oops!) (to fix this, add your usual detergent (again!), make it a warm wash and add a teaspoon or cap full of eucalyptus oil... this should get rid of any musty smell from the wash).... now get back to those soaking dishes if you have any and wash a few, dump another load of crusty dishes into the sink.... now to the 3rd wet area... the bathroom basin(s). Quickly put things away off the surface (no, don't straighten the cupboard now, just get the bench surface clear(er) ) and use a wet cloth to give the basin and bench a decent wipe over and then the dry cloth in your other hand to dry both. 2 minutes TOPS at the basin, okay?
Now, of the suggested '30min tops' I suggest for these 3 wet areas, you are probably only halfway through that... so finish up the dishes if you can... if there's no time left, no worry... you'll get faster as you practice this. Half the hassle of being organised is knowing what to do next!

Step 4 - Spend a couple of minutes clearing what you can off your dining table and give it a quick wipe down and dry. However much you do, it's going to look better than it did right - don't aim for perfect, just improve it!

Step 5 - Set the timer for 10minutes and GO! Spend the time doing a 'quick pick up' of your main living areas... the lounge/kitchen/dining table floors... as much in the bin as possible... as much in the right place as possible... the rest, just move it off the floor.

 Step 6 - Vacuum the middles of the areas you just cleared. Again, just make it better - not perfect

Step 7 - If you were feeling 'sticky' as you were moving around doing all these, grap the mop and mop the middles - 2 minutes okay?!

Step 8 - Grab a glass of water (dehydration is one of the top causes of lack of energy!!) and sit down. Breathe.  Take a moment and look at what you HAVE done... not what is still to do. Feel good about it!

and in about an hour, the house is starting to come together, though sometimes it's crazy enough that I work through half the list again right away. Either way, a lot of stress has been reduced and I can focus again on long term things.

The important thing is to make a list like this that is yours - one that works for you. Also, make sure you don't get hung up on what's on the list. It's designed to cover 'all possibilities'... so if you're working through it and 'hey presto' there's no washing to put on.... then it's just 'Yippee' and you move on to the next thing... or maybe the table doesn't need clearing, or whatever... as time passes, the portion of the list that doesn't need working on grows - go with the flow, skip over it and pat yourself on the back instead. Still don't shorten the list though... because the day will come when it ALL needs doing, for one reason or another and it's great to not have to think about it.

PS: A lot of disorganised people I've met or know online will procrastinate by convincing themselves (all too easy to do) that they first need to sit and relax before tackling the house. I promise you it doesn't work. Jumping in on a list like this will  have you feeling so much better, so much sooner than half an hour or so on the computer or watching TV ever could... stop fooling yourself and just DO IT!!



  1. I love your attitude! And you are so right, if I sit down and say to myself "I just need 5 minutes to veg out" it always turns into 20 or 30 or 45 minutes and then I'm discouraged b/c so much time has been wasted doing nothing.

  2. I'm enjoying catching up on your posts:) I love reading tips on getting better organised as I feel there is so much to learn in this area for me:)
    I could really relate to this one having just been away for a week! I thought to myself for next time that I should have some milk frozen in the freezer for our return and atleast one meal frozen for when we get back! And there you've said the same almost!
    Other than that, it was just a matter of getting up and moving and getting things done with a clingy dd (coz she's been exhausted with everything that's going on)!

  3. Oh, you are the most organised person I (virtually) know. Your FB updates make me tired!!

    Totally agree with many of your tips!