Tuesday, October 4, 2016

How I Use Checklists to Stay Sane

One of my favorite things to do is to share something that's worked really well for me, something that I love or that has made my life a little easier.

As a new mom, my brain is super fuzzy at times. In those first few weeks I'd put a fussy Lincoln down and think, "Okay, I have a few minutes... What needs to get done around the house!?" So much of keeping up with house work is mundane, but I'd still forget what I had and had not already done (like, move the wet clothes into the dryer *insert eye roll*).

I created a little solution for myself. Now, I love a paper planner as much as the next girl, but since so much of what I need to do during the day is the same as yesterday, I have a continuous list on my phone.

If you want to try something like this, I suggest sitting down with your beverage of choice (and no distractions) and think about everything you have to get done in a day. This can be as specific or general as you'd like. I kid you not, in those first tiring weeks with Lincoln I had each meal of the day on my checklist because I'd be so tired I'd forget to eat. ;)

I have my lists separated by daily and weekly. So, for example, my cleaning that only needs to be done once a week is in a separate checklist called weekly, and the things I do every day is in a checklist called daily. I use the reminders app on my phone.

I used to do the weekly tasks on different days (mop on Monday, bathrooms on Tuesday, etc.) but with a new baby that just isn't working for me. It's enough for me to remember to drink water in a day, let alone find time to clean the bathrooms. So, I have weekly cleaning set to the weekend for now. This way Andrew can help me either clean while Lincoln naps or hold Lincoln while I clean.

If I have spare time on a weekday, I can look up something on my weekly tasks that fits the amount of time I have. For example, if I only have a few minutes, I'll dust, but if Lincoln has just been put down for a nap I might mop or vacuum.

Here's where it gets good, though: I set it as a reminder. So my daily tasks pop up on my phone every, sing. day. No need to write down the things you do every day in a planner, because when I check it off it pops right back up tomorrow.

Most people can probably just remember things, like unloading the dishwasher and putting clothes into the dryer, but I have learned the hard way I am not that person. This keeps me organized without wasting time by writing it all out.

And to keep myself from getting overwhelmed, I stagger the tasks. This way I can get one or two things done in the hour I have while Lincoln sleeps but I don't have to think about which ones I should do. It pops up at that hour and I do it.

I've also had to learn to be gracious with myself. I have a new baby, so laundry doesn't always get done, and I definitely don't exercise every day. These are general guidelines, though, to help me have the peaceful home I want for my family. And yes, getting water makes for a peaceful home. Because if I'm not hydrated, I can't feed my baby, and he cries. It's like the book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" over here; much cause and effect. ;)

I cannot tell you how much peace this has brought to my mind and soul. I love a clean house, but with this season of life it's so difficult to remember what I need to do in order to make that happen. If your current system isn't working, I suggest you give this a try.

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