Taking Back Control

Taking Back Control

Image by Matt McGee

Today’s post is from Megan at Writing Out Loud. I had the pleasure of meeting Megan late last year. I love reading Megan’s blog for its honest reflection on motherhood, finding your feet as a writer and the joys of renovations! You should really check out this beautiful post Just a Bad Year, on coming to terms with being a mum.


Right. It’s time to get organised.

The beginning of a new year, the chance to re-evaluate priorities and decide what needs to be achieved. An opportunity to reorganise your life.

Having spent much of 2010 in a complete mess, amidst major renovations and changes to my work situation, when 2011 hit I knew what my one resolution would be: to take control again.

I’ve always been organised. I wrote out to-do lists as a child, and continued that habit through my life. Making lists means that everything swirling around in my brain can get out. It’s therapeutic, and clears my head. And, although I love to take opportunities as they come and be spontaneous sometimes, I also crave routine.

Without a list and some form of routine, I just flail.

Take 2010, for example. Being a stay-at-home-mum and part-time work-at-home-mum, I’m around the house a lot. Last year I spent much of that time wondering what I should be doing. The days merged into each other, and I would switch between feeling like there was nothing to do, and knowing there was lots but not knowing where to begin. I did bits and pieces here and there, but the house was a mess (and I don’t just mean renovation mess) and I wasn’t taking any time out for myself. My life felt out of control.

That feeling did my head in, and I ended up in a bad state emotionally (with some other factors playing their part, as well). Hence my need to take back some control this year. It’s time to learn from my mistakes.

Here’s how I’m doing it:

  • Being 2011, of course the need for handwritten lists is diminishing, so I downloaded an app for my iPhone (e-ToDo).
  • I spent some time thinking of everything that needs to be done in my day-to-day life, from exercise to housework (all the things that I found got lost by the wayside if not scheduled into my days).
  • My working days had to be subtracted from the equation for housework and other bits and pieces because, although I work from home, doing things around the house on those days isn’t very time effective. Those days do, however, need to incorporate exercise.
  • I also looked at the structure of my working days. I started breaking tasks into categories, and allotting set times to do each.
  • With the remaining days, I started to play around with scheduling. I don’t like doing lots of housework in one day, so I broke the tasks up to include a little bit each day.
  • Then I set recurring reminders: weekly for some tasks, fortnightly or monthly for some other, less important tasks around the house.

It might all sound a little dreary, scheduling housework and the like, but I find that doing this actually makes it less of a chore. Once it’s done I tick it off my list and, feeling comfortable in a clean house, I can relax and focus on the more fun parts of life.

Like being a mum.

What tips do you have to help regain some control over daily life?