A little over a year ago, a friend showed me how she was able to keep track of everything when she had three very young children and helped me set up my own system to try out at home. It has been so wonderful and has really aided me in organizing my work here at home. I was talking today with a friend about feeling overwhelmed with everything going on in our respective lives and I started telling her about "my cards." So, for you, Morgan, here are the pictures- and anyone else who might be interested.
Here's how it works: each day of the month has a divider (as seen in the picture below), and each activity (whether a chore, something fun, an errand, etc) has its own card that is color coded by frequency. For example, everything I do daily is a white card, everything I do once a week is a green card, every other day is orange, monthly is pink, bimonthly is blue, and yearly is purple.
I also am beginning to use this as an address book and it also stores my grocery money and other random tidbits I need to access later like birthday gift ideas, errands I need to run, etc.
Each day as I finish up the tasks, I fill in the date for "last done" or "skipped" if I didn't get to it that day and then file it under the next day that card will come up (like grocery shopping gets filed a week later). I only allow myself to skip a card twice in a row, so if I have skipped it two times, the third time it comes up, it needs to be a priority. This keeps me from putting off unpleasant chores indefinitely, like deep cleaning the fridge.
So, why bother with this? Why not just do a traditional chore chart? For me, this has been so great. I don't just keep adding stuff to a to-do list until I keel over and die of exhaustion. I actually finish the work for the day and sit down with Jesse to spend time together. Every once in a while I get busy and put the cards aside (like when we were traveling so much this summer) and I always feel so scattered again and have such difficulty focusing and prioritizing. As soon as I put my cards back in order again, I feel so much better and our home is a much more peaceful place. I also am sure to have cards for "fun things" like knitting and reading. That way I am sure to make time for those things in my life.
In case anyone is confused or trying to figure out what in the world I have for cards, here's a list with samples:
- Daily: spend time in Scripture and prayer, clean kitchen, sweep kitchen, tidy up the bathroom, tidy up living room, sort and file away mail, dinner prep, read, devotions with Jesse, etc.
- Every other day: vacuum living and dining room, knit or sew, wash/fold/put away diapers, return phone calls/emails, etc.
- Once a week (spread through the week): grocery shopping, laundry, wash towels, change sheets, clean the bathrooms, clean out the fridge, dust, vacuum bedrooms, invite friends over, etc.
- Once a month: go to Costco, deep clean the pantry, shop for gifts and cards for the month, file stuff in filing cabinet, etc.
I also have cards for things like Christmas traditions that only go in December, purging clothes every other month, etc.
So there you go, Morgan! :)