Over the last week or two I have been working on creating a solid base of organisation to avoid chaos! The next month holds lots of activities both personally and work wise:
- Mr I’s football finals.
- Problogger Training Event – I curate the content for this event and will be moderating two panels. Lucky for me it is being held on the Gold Coast, so I will be away from home for four nights in the middle of September.
- Master 12’s confirmation.
- Freelance writing – I have two assignments due in September.
- Course creation – I am going to be teaching a blogging course (more details to come later about this) and I need to complete the materials by mid September.
- School holidays – term three ends September 20. I like to try and get ahead with my posts, so I am not online as much over the school holidays.
There have been times when our family activity level has looked like this and things have become messy. I wrote about one of those times in this post earlier this year. While you can never truly predict how things will pan out, I am doing what I can to ensure I give myself the best chance of avoiding the chaos this time around.
Here are some of the things I have been doing:
Monthly menu plan
I have made sure I have created weekly plans that cover past this busy period. Even though I am shopping weekly now, I find it still more time efficient to plan monthly and have the shopping lists ready to go. If you haven’t tried menu planning this way take a look at these posts:
- Family Menu Planning FAQ and Monthly Menu Plan
- Monthly Menu Planning Time Again, This Time With Added Video!
In a recent newsletter I shared how now as the children are older and the youngest is in his last year of kinder, I have tweaked my routine. I have been adjusting it over the last month or so and have settled on a routine that I can stick to most of the time.
Routines for me, give me the ability to go on autopilot when life speeds up. There are times when I have a lot and I can find myself becoming overwhelmed and a little paralysed as to where to start and what to do. Creating a routine for myself takes lots of thinking away and I can just do – or I can choose not to do if I wish and go and have morning tea with friends if I wish! However, I know that if I roughly stick to this routine, the house will run pretty smoothly.
I like to schedule in household tasks into certain times of the day. It is like making a commitment that I will do them. This is quite important for me as I work from home. To be honest, I would rather be blogging and writing etc than folding the washing or cleaning toilets and it is easy to say I need to work over doing some of these mundane tasks!
But and it is a very big but, if I let these things slip, I find it stressful. I find piles of washing sitting in the corner stressful. I find kids complaining they can’t find their school socks because they are in said pile of washing stressful. I am far from a neat freak, but dirty toilets and mess over the bathroom basin I also find stressful. They are a glaring reminder of work I have not done.
And as I have mentioned before, if I start to get stressed, I find my mood permeates the rest of the house. Awesome stuff – a big cycle of unhappiness! So as boring and mundane as it can be, I am sticking to my routine over the next few weeks as a coping mechanism to avoid chaos.
The table below is what my week looks like. Please note it does not include everything, just the basics, the minimum to keep everything ticking along nicely. There is much more to do around the house and the kids and my husband all contribute to this too.
I shared a template where you can create your own and tips on how to do it in this post – Writing down your week.
Time with the kids
The trick for me then is to complete the necessary work commitments, keep the house to a level that is good for my stress levels and also find time for the fun bits of family life. I can always tell in the behaviour of the kids if I have not been spending enough time on the fun stuff – generally more whinging, more demands and needy behaviour.
I am taking a simple planned approach to this too. For example a couple of nights a week I am doing netball practice with my daughter. Only 15 – 20 minutes, but enough for us to connect and have some fun. The 7 year old loves board games and chess, so making sure we play these over the weekend when we have more time. The preschooler and I already have a routine where we play a game or do a puzzle together after lunch on the days he is home, so we are continuing with that.
With the 12 year old he is quite into running / exercising so we are doing that together through out the week. The 14 year old is a bit different as he doesn’t necessarily want to hang out with me per se or play a board game. But he does like to discuss current affairs, music and memes! So I am making an effort to have these conversations with him, with no distractions when the younger kids are in bed.
I will check in mid October and let you know if I managed to avoid the chaos!
How to you prepare for busy periods of family life?