The Blog

Brushing Up Your Routines: How to Stop Chores From Growing Into Huge Projects


Being organized and staying organized might seem unfeasible in a busy household, but if you can distinguish a chore from a non-negotiable routine, you will be surprised with the time-saving results. When we change the way we think about our routines, maintaining our “busy” lives can be more manageable.

Approach home-life organization as you would your personal hygiene.  Do you shower daily?  Do you brush your teeth every morning and at bedtime? I think we can all agree that these are two things we do routinely every day.  It’s not only a healthy practice, it’s a dedicated daily ritual, right?  We find the time to make sure it happens.

Everything else we want to do in a single day spills onto some grandiose list for each of us to do, which sometimes never gets done at all.

I’ve coined the brush your teeth model as the guideline to help my client’s manage their life-organization. Brushing your teeth is not something you schedule, it is something that you just do.  Even moreso, these two times of day punctuate both the start and finish of any given day. So why not use this model as a consistent reminder to check in with yourself? It’s that rare time that you must stop and pause, at the beginning and end of your day. Here’s how to take advantage of this ritual;

1. In the morning, brush your teeth and brush up your productivity.  

Use this time to do one thing that will make your “later” easier.  This should only take you 5-10 minutes. Add this wiggle room into your your designated morning routine every single day. Maybe throw in the laundry, empty the sink, load or unload the dishwasher. Clear a counter. Pre-sort the mail in categories to save you time later.  Set the table for dinner.  Perhaps keep an empty bin handy, and do a quick sweep in the den. Return items back to their designated homes or just corral them in the bin to clear spaces. Deconstructing these annoying chores to a day-to-day practice will prevent them from accumulating into a bigger weekly chore.

The reality is that when neglected daily, these chores can mount into way bigger projects.  Paper piles grow taller, busy hubs become too cluttered, dirty dishes litter sinks, and hampers get overflown with an insurmountable of laundry.

When to-do’s get too big, they are simply not approachable. You’d be surprised how a cluster of just 15 minutes of preparation can ultimately save you exponential time later. Jump starting the task can be very effective.

2. In the evening,  brush your teeth and brush away tomorrow’s potential mistakes.

Before you go to bed, sync your schedule and calendars so they align. So often, we jot down appointments on scribbled notes, put reminders on our phones, but fail to write it down on our paper or virtual calendars.  Too often, important dates fall through the cracks and we miss important events and appointments.  This is great opportunity to organize the next day. Collect your thoughts, write down a doable plan for the day. Maybe a plan for the week is too big.  Keep it simple. Think about what has to get done tomorrow. Trust me, you will sleep more soundly knowing exactly what the next day will look like.

No doubt, maintaining a busy household and lifestyle requires attention.  It cannot and will not run smoothly all by itself.  Sustainable organization can be achieved with just a small change of a dedicated routine. Find the time to tend to your home, schedule, and things, as you would to brush your teeth. It’s as imperative. A healthy life-balance requires it.

Brushing up on these skills every morning and every night will keep things under control.  Consider breaking down some of your weekly chores into daily routines, it will improve your life in countless ways.

Read this post on single page to comment →

The Rise of Home-Based Business Could Be The Demise Of Home-Life Organization

Did you know that a new home- business is born every 11 seconds?  Recent polls reveal that there are more people working from home than ever before.  It is the indeed the face of the new economy.  The landscape has been altered by tighter budgets, down-sizing both professionally and personally, and more role reversals within families in decades.

Even more astonishing, it was reported that 24% of people who work outside their home do 8o% of their work at home.  The ramifications of this new dynamic can be daunting and turn the average household into a more unruly one, at best.

Life, for all of us, has changed dramatically.  The “stay at home” mom may be a working momas well, and the dad/husband perhaps now needs to create a new workplace for himself within the home.  Dual income families are rising, and adapting to these multiple roles can be problematic if not organized and managed well.  It is increasingly harder to draw the line and separate work-life from home- life.  Home-based businesses can impede on family balance.

Creating the optimum workplace within the home (if not already designated) poses significant trouble.  The influx of mail can potentially double, and sorting it can be overwhelming, time consuming, or maybe even unmanageable.  If not attended to in a timely fashion, the paper piles can take over, invade many more horizontal surfaces and clutter the home.  The home “worker” could become the new home “wrecker.”

The need to organize is critical.  Juggling and managing the responsibilities of working at home, and parenting simultaneously, can present a multitude of challenges.  Time-management is paramount and essential for the family’s healthy functionality.  Having one or more family members working from home demands a heightened sense of organization.  The prior spousal roles may be irrelevant and may need to be re-defined.  Setting parameters, finite scheduling, cooperation, and sharing responsibilities are key components for succeeding in this effort.  Mealtimes can be a nightmare. It is complicated for sure, stressful, and maybe even messy.

The luxury of being home and surrounded by your family can be arguably both a good and bad temptation.  Can you escape into a work zone when you can hear the kids screaming, playing or laughing in the background?  How does this affect one’s ultimate productivity? Is it possible to create an isolated professional environment within the home?  Can you enforce and maintain a virtual “DO NOT DISTURB” sign all day amidst the household chaos?   My guess is, no.

Moreover, it is more likely to get distracted with other non-work related tasks.  Since you are home 24/7, you might be inclined to multi-task and engage in other things that need your attention around the house, and impose a respite from a tough work day.  To be invisible in your own home while working, is difficult, if not impossible.  And how about knowing you are only steps away from the kitchen, you find yourself wandering there and glaring into the fridge multiple times of the day? Snacking throughout the day is an appealing distraction, although there are detrimental consequences if abused, but that’s for another blog.

Whatever the case, it’s an opportunity to balance your work, family and lifestyle with a keener sense of  time-management. Prioritizing is the first step, and then you can implement a well-oiled system that works for you and your family.

For some of us, working out of the home is a welcomed escape, but  for others, it’s not always a choice.  In light of the economic climate, you are lucky to be just working anywhere at all, albeit your home.   Those who have always done this, no biggie.  But for the demographic which has since returned back home to their new workplace….this is clearly a new America.

On the brighter side, the increasing trend of home-base businesses’ may impede on the overall home-life organization, but if the worst interference means a gentle hug, a kiss, or a passing smile in the middle of a hectic day,  it’s not too shabby.  Find the happy in that.

Read this post on single page to comment →