{SQT} Seven Ways I’m Organizing My Life Right Now

The first month of 2016 is gone. How are those resolutions treating you? I’m not doing too badly. Certainly, there’s the usual craziness and the fun that comes with home ownership (furnaceĀ on its last leg, new roof is still leaking, etc.) but on a day-to-day basis, I’m not a frazzled wreck. I think it helps that I’ve finally got some routines and practices in place that reduce the frantic / want to die feelings, and guide me through the day without feeling constricting.

If you’re interested in what exactly helps a special needs, homeschooling mom of five get through her day (besides wine at 5 p.m.) please continue reading.

seven quick takes friday 2


1. I have a planner that I use on a regular basis. Since I started using my smaller size planner in a binder, I’m able to keep all my notes, goals, etc. in one place, where as before I was keeping my ‘To Do’ lists in my planner, then scribbling ideas and everything else on 50 tablets scattered throughout the house. I’ve got my monthly calendar, my weekly calendar, a weekly to do list, a master to do list, a section for notes, a section for blog ideas and a section in the back where I detail my daily routines (more on those later.) I would be lost without my planner. People that don’t use planners confuse and frighten me. But we don’t think about those types of people do we planner? Now lets go snuggle on the couch.

2. I have a large wall calendar in the kitchen where everyone can see what’s coming up. I fill it out around the first of each month with our reoccurring activities, upcoming special events, and my husband writes in the feast days. If it’s not on the planner, it does not exist.

3. I created morning, afternoon and before bed routines for myself that I follow everyday. Some of the things that make up my routines seem trivial, but I was often forgetting to do them every day. And making something as simple as ‘Lay clothes out for tomorrow’ part of my before bed routine makes getting dressed 100 times easier the next morning. I’m no longer in my robe until lunchtime. And because ‘Check Laundry’ is part of my afternoon routine, I’m leaving less clothes in the washer for embarrassingly long periods of time. Routines make me feel like I’m really winning at this adult thing.

4. My day follows time periods, and the completion of tasks, vs. needing to complete certain tasks at certain times. So, I do my morning routine whenever I wake up. I don’t set an alarm unless I need to be somewhere. Sometimes that means I’m up and ready for the day with my routine complete by 7:30, sometimes 9:00. I don’t worry about when I get it all done, just that my morning routine is done in the morning (before lunch), my afternoon routine is done in the afternoon (before supper) and that my before bed routine is completed before my head hits the pillow.

In the past I tried to do everything at certain times and then would get frustrated when something (ahem…the kids) would distract me from doing that one very specific thing at its allotted time. Now, I’m less stressed letting things happen when there’s time rather than shoehorning them in as scheduled against all odds.

5. I do certain household tasks on the same day of every week. I plan my week and update my planner on Sundays. Tuesdays are meal planning and grocery shopping day. Friday’s I mop the kitchen. I know certain things will get done at certain times so I don’t allow myself to worry about them other times. If I notice the floors are extra dusty, I don’t freak out about the mess or drop what I’m doing to clean them, I just exhale and know that they will get cleaned on Monday. Or if Thursday comes and we have special plans to go out in the afternoon so I can’t get the fingerprints on the glass doors cleaned, I don’t care because I know it will get done the following week. As someone who likes to entertain, this makes it easier for me to have folks over without a last-minute cleaning fury (which usually includes lots of yelling and exhaustion on my part.) This doesn’t mean my house is spotless, with seven people here all day most days, it’s hard to keep on top of clutter and the messes that accumulate on every open surface, however tackling one thing as part of my afternoon routine each day makes the overwhelming task of running my house seem a bit more bite sized.

6. I get reminders of what needs done throughout the day on my phone. Even though I’ve followed my routines for a few months now, I still get a ‘ding!’ three times a day reminding me to check my routine lists, which I always try to do. These reminders stay on my lock screen until I tap them away. You’d think youĀ don’tĀ need reminders after a few weeks, but I’m still amazed what I forget on the days I don’t physically read the list of things I need to do.

7. I’ve also got routines for my children to follow. Our school day follows a predictable pattern, and they each have a list of chores that needs completed before they can play games or watch videos on their tablets. I don’t constantly chide them about their school work or chores. It just gets done or there’s predictable consequences. If ourĀ expectationsĀ and plans were not made clear through our school schedule, screen contracts, meal plan (on theĀ refrigerator ) and large calendar in plain sight, my day would probably be spent answering a lot more questions, telling kids what to do or yelling at them for not doing something.

Because I am currently happy with the status quo, I’m sure something will explode (like the furnace) within the next 24 hours. Hopefully, this year’s patron saint has it under control.

What keeps your house from falling apart? Or how do you keep on top of your resolutions? Be sure to write it down then link it up below. Don’t forget to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Quick Takes. I look forward to reading your posts!


  1. Routines are the best! It’s so true about laying out clothes before bed for the next day. I find that it saves me an embarrassingly huge amount of mental energy. I don’t have to talk myself into (task) because it is just part of my routine. So great.

  2. Hey Kelly!! Great organization tips, I love your set up for morning, afternoon, and evening routines with phone reminders and clear schedules and responsibilities for your kiddos… Golden.

    I linked up twice today, so to link my last 7QTs that was all about command centers and has a free monthly calander. I think we are on the same “get organized” vibe this year.

  3. I am finding more and more that routines and following goals are essential in my land of crazy. who knew?!?!
    For me.
    Making a bed.
    Getting everyone dressed first thing in the morning
    Praying every morning
    and doing a load of laundry a day …
    those have been life changing.

    I didn’t write my quick takes about these things though, I hope that’s okay?

  4. Thanks for these great tips. I especially find the morning/afternoon/evening flexible boundaries a helpful concept as I struggle to balance faithful practices with necessary freedom.

  5. I have the planners, I have just been having trouble making sure all of them have the same info. The kitchen calendar seems to be the last to be updated. I like how you picked a day to do that. Good idea.

  6. I’m the same way with setting aside periods of time to do things, and not necessarily do things at a specific time. If I have to do something at “x” time, and it doesn’t get done because something else happens, that could cause stress that I don’t want. Nope, I just plan out to try and do this stuff in the morning, afternoon, & evening, and see what I can get done when. And having a wall calendar is great!!! I used to just use a small notebook planner, but now that I use a wall calendar in addition to that, things feel a lot more organized. Instead of rummaging around for my notebook to look something up for myself or my husband, we can just glance at the calendar and see all the major events of the month laid out in front of our eyes. So helpful!

  7. Kelly, Nice! I just was turned on to Gretchen Rubin and her work regarding habits and happiness. It has inspired me to keep a planner which I think has totally changed my life. I keep a daily to-do list. These are things that need to be done TODAY–like I need to do laundry or else I wont’ have clean underewear! Then I keep a seperate, ongoing to-do list of things (hem upthe curtains, order frames for family pics, etc) that I would like to do but they are not dire. When I get the daily tasks done, I can then choose to check something off that other list. Somehow this helps me feel like I am totally in control. I am going to keep this little notebook around forever so I can look back and see what life was like in 2016 when I had four really little boys underfoot. It will look different from 2020, that’s for sure! God bless you and your awesome work being a great mama and a very inspiring Catholic blogger!

  8. I love this. I am so overwhelmed by my 3 littles (and the one cooking) that every task seems to daunting right now. It goes like…do load of laundry, clean up mess made while I was distracted…mop floor, cracked head for someone because they inevitably woke up from nap and could not resist walking on wet floor. Clean bathroom, someone ingests something bad! What’s a mama to do! When I crawl out of this first trimester I need to establish some sort of routine!! Thanks for this!!

  9. This is awesome. I do most of the things you mentioned (at least theoretically speaking) but I really like the idea of #5 and doing certain chores on certain days. I’ve thought about it but never implemented it. Maybe this will be my inspiration. šŸ™‚

  10. I don’t have anyone’s life to manage except mine, but I don’t know how I would manage *that* without routines and a to-do list. Even blogging is so much easier since I started keeping an editorial calendar, checklists, and a couple of templates!

  11. You are so on top of things! I’m pinning this for later because I know a day will come when I’ll be wondering how to get my life organized (with a new little one coming SOON)!

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