My life has changed a lot over the past six or seven years. The changes have come hard and fast and sometimes it’s been difficult to modify my systems as quickly as the changes have come. But during those times, there are least ten things I’ve done consistently that helped me stay on track regardless of what was going on.
1. Use a planner. Having a planner helps me stay organized and on top of things. It’s a place to record information; appointments, of course, and things I need to do.
2. Pay bills at a set time each week.
3. Go to the grocery store once a week, with a list and a menu.
4. Tidy the house (that includes making the bed) and sweep or vacuum the floors most days regardless of whether I get any other cleaning done or not. And generally that’s the first thing I do after getting up, getting dressed and eating breakfast.
5. Do laundry – wash, dry, fold and put away. I like doing mine on Monday, Wednesday and Friday but I haven’t been able to stick to that schedule consistently these days. So I have to do it when I can. The important thing is, though, to stay caught up as much as possible.
6. Open the curtains and let the sunshine in. For me, there’s something about opening up the house so I can see outside that makes me feel better. At our last house, we had an amazing view so looking outside was a delight. Here the views are typical neighborhood views but I still open my curtains.
7 Eat regular meals. I may not always make the best choices, but I don’t go for long periods without food.
8. Take breaks. I’m home all day, so most days I stop at 3:00 p.m. and have a soda and read for 20 or 30 minutes. I also stop working by 9:00 p.m. at the latest (usually 8:30) and sit on the couch with my husband and watch tv. I like to quilt or work Sudoku puzzles or write in my planner while we’re watching tv.
9. Go to bed at a decent hour and get up at a decent hour. I’m not an early bird and I’m not a night owl. I like to call myself a day person. And as long as I get enough sleep, I can handle almost anything.
10. Just say no. I say no a lot. I know my limits and I try not to exceed them. That’s where using my planner helps. When someone asks me to do something, I check my planner. I don’t just look at that day, I look at all the days around it. If I see I have a lot going on, I’ll most likely say no. I don’t want to be busy every single day. I can’t be busy every day. And the truth is, you can’t say yes to everything. You have to choose. You’ll most likely have to say “no” more than you say “yes”. Even if you’re a high energy go-getter, you still can’t say yes to everything.
Those are my top 10 strategies for staying sane regardless of what’s going on. What are yours?
Other organizing articles are available in the Organizing Index.