Friday, January 22, 2010

drowning in good ideas

It's funny, I sat down to post last night, and looked at Jill's latest post first. She wrote about just what I was going to. I went to bed instead.

But today, I'm going to do it anyway. You know, because this is my record. So feel free to skip it, if you like.

Collette invited us to an 8-week organizing class taught by Marie Ricks from I think I am a prime candidate for such class. So much, in fact, that after attending the lecture last week, I felt completely overwhelmed. I didn't do one thing differently last week. I think Jenn said it best when she said, "I'm drowning in good ideas."

This week was different. I felt really motivated, and I've already started to make some changes.

But first, my notes:

Kitchen organization ideas

- Clear off the counters. When we place something on the counter, it gives everyone else permission to put stuff there as well. (Isn't that the truth?) If you keep surfaces clean, people are less likely to dirty it.

- Are the items on our counters "friends" or "freeloaders"? If something could go somewhere else, try to find it a different home. (example, she found she didn't really use her knife block, so she got rid of it. And she hates the way toasters look, so she keeps hers in a cupboard.)

- Put the things you use most within easiest reach.

- Get rid of anything that doesn't work.

- If there is anything that doesn't really belong in the kitchen, move it.

- Use drawer dividers, even ones that you make out of boxes if necessary, to maximize your space and minimize shifting.

- Drawers are more useful than shelves. Wherever possible, use dishpans or other inexpensive, open containers to create a pull-out drawer.

- Store like things behind like things, unlike things next to each other.

- Go to work with what you have and make it work for you.


- Papers that are confined or kept for the long-term should be in files. Papers that you use frequently should be in binders.

- Create a household binder with a tab for each family member. Store schedules and the like behind each person's tab. Have a numbers tab where you keep important phone numbers, account numbers, etc. Copy everything in your wallet and file it here for use in case of theft.

- Journal binders. Create a binder for each family member with tabs for each year of his/her life. It's just as easy to file them in a binder as in a file, and it will be complete when a child leaves home. Children will be much less likely to organize their papers later on, so this is a gift to them. File important papers and a sampling of the best school papers from each year. Be selective about what you save and file.

- Create an identity binder with copies of important documents. Keep one in a safety deposit box. Include detailed physical descriptions, photographs, fingerprints, copies of social security numbers, driver's licenses, birth certificates, deeds, insurance info.

This is where I felt completely overwhelmed. I think this is all good information, and I'm keeping it to work on at some point. Just not right this minute. Now on to the part that really got me thinking and moving.

Time management

- He who prepares early prepares without work. (example: looking at your Primary lesson at the beginning of the week means that your mind will subconsciously be working on it all week long, making connections, getting ideas -- much better than waiting until Saturday.)

- The law of firsts: When you put the most important things into your day/week/month first, everything else fills in nicely. (examples: pay tithing as soon as you are paid, exercise in the morning, do your visiting teaching by the 15th, read scriptures in the morning, pay bills at the first of the month)

- We cannot neglect the law of firsts with our families and have our children grow up to be safe. If your spouse will not support you in this, do it alone.

- You will be blessed by aligning your priorities with the Lord's.

- Evaluate activities that are important vs. activities that are urgent. Try to address the urgent things that come up before they become urgent. Most of us live on the edge in one way or another. (examples: letting our prescriptions get to the very end before we refill them, running out of printer ink or gas in the car, etc.) Move away from urgency.

- What are we avoiding or postponing? Address those things.

- Think of your life as a wagon wheel. You are the hub. Take care of yourself first, then your spouse, then your children and any of the other spokes coming out from you. Then turn your attention and energy (if any remains) outward to the world. So many of us have this reversed.

- Figure out what your prime time is every day. When are you most alert, have the most energy? Do important tasks then. Take advantage of your natural energy highs and lows.

- Take advantage of your most alone time every day. True alone time means that no one is asking you a question, you don't have to answer the phone, and there is no media interrupting your spirit. Use your most alone time to: plan, prepare, think, and ponder. We all have more peace and calm when we have at least some alone time every day.

- A child who is loved well becomes a mighty force for good. Whatever stage of life you are in, saturate yourself with its joys.

- Only when we give up what doesn't matter are we empowered to do what is really important.

- Schedule more "launch time" and "land time" for your tasks and activities. We live in halfway houses of clutter because we don't take time for landing, or putting things away completely.

- Don't answer the phone 20 minutes before you need to leave or you will be late.

- The spirit of a family on Sunday is determined by the mother's mood as she enters the chapel. Increase your launch time.

- Address whatever is not working and figure out how to make it work.

- Never wait uselessly. Have a plan of what you will do during wait time: read, write a note, find an opportunity to teach something to your children.

- Whenever you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else, and vice versa. Pull back and evaluate so you can make decisions with wisdom.

- Take control of your own life.

- Don't mistake activity for accomplishment. Do things less often, but better, and double your capacity. A different approach can make you much more efficient.

- Give yourself permission to play. The person who never plays is not fun to be around. Allow yourself, your spouse, and your children to see the fun side of you. (I am choosing to interpret this as playing games and doing things that are fun to me. Quite often, the things that Eva wants me to do are not fun to me. At all.)

- Alternate what you are doing to give yourself energy to go on. Vary active tasks with sedentary ones, boring tasks with stimulating ones, activities we enjoy with those we don't. Stop before you are tired whenever possible.

- When planning your day, divide it into 6 sections: already in cement, things I would like to do, odds & ends, dinner, sit-down activities, and inspiration. Also, make your life easier by figuring out what you'll serve for dinner before noon.

This, in particular, made me think. I am queen of making lists, but often I'm not so good at prioritizing tasks. I tried it yesterday and was thrilled. I certainly didn't accomplish everything on my list, but I did do the most important things.

Better still, I felt completely in charge of myself yesterday. I felt like I could do anything. I felt like changes were on the horizon. Like this was going to be a great year. It was so empowering!

(So what happened today? Well, it was Creative Friday and I didn't really have any other obligations, so I didn't even make a plan for the day.)


Neighbor Jane Payne said...

I'm so glad you posted your thoughts on this Michelle. One, because repetition is useful and two, your take is helpful.

This sounds like an incredible opportunity. What good ideas.

Becky said...

I love this post Michelle! All of these ideas are so great...and I'm glad you posted them, because even though I discovered your blog through Jill's, I read it because of you :)

P.S. I read way more often than I comment for which I apologize....

Natasha said...

The household binder idea is one I want to implement. And as for not aswering the phone 20 minutes before you leave home-- I have recently been thinking a lot about when not to take calls (like during afternoon homework time) and it has helped me feel less frazzled for sure!

Amie said...

I enjoyed reading these notes again. I actually printed Jill's handout last night and filled it out for today. I got almost everything done. Of course, it is also Friday and the week tends to come together at the end.

I would love to attend this class.... but wonder if I would just nod my head in agreement and then do nothing as usual. Dang it.

Denise said...

Your post is very aptly named. I love all of these ideas and am going to print this post to keep for pondering. All of it seems so worthwhile; much of it seems like a pipe dream for me right now. *sigh* How do I find the happy medium?

jt said...

I love all of these ideas! I wish I could take this class- i love organization!
I started a Household Management Notebook a few weeks ago because of This week I've been working on finishing it and I have categories for Important Info & phone numbers, Schedules, Food, Ideas, etc...
I also keep 3 files on our bar where we typically 'dump' things and everything coming in has to go in one of those 3 files or thrown out. (I think they are To File, To Do, and... something else I can't remember.)Then I file them accordingly. It keeps our surfaces clean, except for the occasional pile I have to make for Timm who doesn't always comply with the protocol. It's already a huge help! (When I actually use it, that is.)

patsy said...

I love these ideas!
I have to admit it all sounds overwhelming to me though. maybe it's just january blues..?

You sound so positive & thrilled about it- I love that.

pasta w/ shrimp-mmm that sounds great!
I hope your creative day was a good one :)

Price Cream Parlor said...

I think that this is the best class ever - is this for homemaking or whatever it is being called now?

I love that you are able to go with friends and then bounce ideas off of one another!

Susan said...

Sign me up!

I am equally motivated and overwhelmed by this post. I'm going to try to concentrate of the motivated part.

Thanks for the thoughts.

Jill said...

I think it's cool that you created your own version of the day planner and that you put it to use immediately. It seems like a natural fit for you with your great list-making ways!

Cara said...

I don't have time to read this whole thing right now but I can guarantee that I will be back tonight to read it ALL!! I so need this and am excited to try some of the things! Thanks for posting. This is why I love blogging so much - you learn things♥

rebekah said...

Information overload! I need a planner to organize all of the good information I've come across lately.

jenn said...

I love your list. I, again, made no progress but am getting closer. I can feel it.

I hope you withstood the wind assault- our house survived but the garbage cans did not and the amount of debris in my outside stairwell is gonna make me crazy!

wende said...

i really love this - i am trying this out next week for sure. i would love for you to elaborate on the inspiration section.

thanks for sharing! what a great class!

Gail said...

Wow, your notes are great. Please keep posting about this class.

I am particularly inspired by the launch and land idea and the divided list.

paws said...

Thanks for posting your notes. I was able to glean a few gems that I put into action immediately. Very satisfying.

Kath said...

I love this last idea of dividing the day into 6 categories. I can see that helping my productivity immensely. Thanks for sharing!

amy m said...

I'm glad you posted anyway because the things that caught your attention may have been different than Jill. Plus it's good for people like me who don't write as fast.

I'm like you and am great at making lists, but am not so good about prioritizing or at least I find it easy to put off the things I don't want to do. I like the way you made your list by dividing it in sections. Are you going to buy the app things? Do you think you can easily use it for this?

Amanda L. said...

Between your post and Jill's I'm so inspired! I am totally committed to putting our house in order before #4 comes and I've been busy cleaning/organizing. But I need to work on time management and helping my kids to be able to help themselves better.

The note that stuck out to me tonight was about the spirit on Sunday. There are too many Sundays when I walk into the chapel frazzled because I had to get three kids ready and out the door by 8:40 (my goal is always 8:30) and someone threw a fit, or their shoes felt funny and my lesson didn't print right or something. Gotta work on that!

Fun for Eva to be taking dance. Oh, I need a little girl again. Boys just don't get that excited about soccer know?

Michelle said...

I want you to know that I have tried to read this post 3 times - but end up having a small panic attack about half way through. I have delusions that there was a time in my life when I was organized - but now...I feel like a lost cause. I cannot keep up with simple daily tasks - let alone, take control of the hidden and not so hidden chaos in my home.

I will try to read it again. I hope this class helps bring you peace of mind. You can be my inspiration!

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