Create a Daily To-Do List

I’m working my way through Tsh Oxenrider’s ebook One Bite At A Time, tackling each project in order. All previous projects can be found here.

Project 39, Create a Daily To-Do List, is something I used to do religiously. Lately however, I’ve gotten away from it. And by lately I mean “since having children.”

I’ve lost my zest for the daily to-do list when my life is more daily routines than daily to-dos.

Except, I adore checking things off of a list – it’s why I’m being more intentional about posting monthly goals, because I get the virtual satisfaction of crossing them off my list. So I’m going to give it another try and make those {repetative} to do lists, modified from one of my old daily dockets, created by yours truly. Yes, I am a big geek, and yes, it made me absurdly happy to have that personalized daily docket. I used to do so well about it when I had an easy way to print them, but printing for me now is a huge pain in the rear, so I never bother.

If I can ever get myself to a print shop or something, I’ve updated my docket to fit my routine now. {In other words, I took out certain things I used to be able to accomplish during naptime and got a little more realistic about what I can accomplish in a day.}

Because apparently an obvious solution is right in front of me.

This morning, I was writing out my memory verse on an index card like I do every morning. It helps get it into my brain by writing it daily, and then I have it to carry around in my pocket and pull out whenever I have a moment to review.

Cue light bulb moment!

Flipping the card over, I wrote out what I wanted to accomplish today. There isn’t much room on a 3×5 card, but that’s ok, because let’s be realistic, I’ll never manage to get to much “extra” beyond the regular daily routine. There was plenty of room for the non-routine items I hoped to get to.

So, I can’t say how it’ll work long-term, but I’m going to try this. I’m pretty excited about it, honestly, and feeling silly that it never occurred to me before.

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House Reboot, Week 2

That’s right, I’m including all the week’s reboot posting in one day.

Why is that you wonder? Because I did so very little rebooting this week, that’s why!

My sister-in-law came for a brief visit with her two kids, and instead of ignoring them to clean my house, I visited with her while the kids all played. We put up the pool in the backyard. We went to the zoo. We ate ice cream.

Cleaning did not happen, other than the basics of washing dishes so that we would have something on which to eat our next meal.

She left this afternoon, so it’s back to our usual routine. I’ve got a mountain of laundry to do, a grocery list to finalize, and a grocery store to visit. Once that’s done I need to make a cake or pie or something for my husband for father’s day. Only then should I get started on any “extra” cleaning projects.

But right now I’ve got a sleeping baby and a son who is hanging out with his daddy in the basement watching a movie. I’m about to shut this computer down and read a book.

It’s summer you know? The house reboot can wait a little longer. :)

House Reboot, Days 2 and 3

In a shocking turn of events, I managed to get AHEAD with the challenges. Day 1 was just to tackle my closet, but I added my dressers as well (and baby girl’s too because it’s actually in our bedroom since that’s working out the best for now).

And then Day 2′s assigned task was to deal with your dresser(s), and Day 3 was a catch-up day! So for maybe the first time in my life I’m not behind in a cleaning/organizing challenge.

I’m enjoying the feeling because I suspect it won’t last long once we get into areas that are more difficult for me (cough paper).

Rather than bask in the glorious status of not being behind, I assigned myself to work on the basement storage area. Food, luggage, entertaining supplies, and especially KIDS STUFF (outgrown clothes, clothes to grow into, baby gear, toys that are being rotated in and out of the playroom).

It’s ugly down there.

I’ll share pictures of the chaos, but I haven’t gotten them off my camera yet, and that’s a slow process.

Tackling My Closet and Dressers {House Reboot, Day 1}

Yesterday I described my issues with distractions, and how I attempt to avoid them (or at least minimize them).

But Day 1 of Sarah Mae’s House Reboot Challenge wasn’t over – I still had to address the Martha Challenge. Today it was tackling my closet, and believe it or not, I don’t have much to clean out. You’re skeptical? Well, it’s because we moved just last year so I did a major purge. I do have clothes I don’t currently wear, but I’m holding on to them because they’re part of my multi-stage wardrobe. (Multi-stage wardrobe means early pregnancy, late pregnancy, nursing, not pregnant or nursing). Since I’m not entirely sure if we’re done having children, I’m not ready to get rid of the maternity clothes. Right now I’m wearing my nursing clothes, but I do hope to eventually get back into some of my not-nursing-friendly shirts.

But! I still needed to work on my closet because I am LAZY and it was a messy mess thanks to me being sloppy about putting stuff away. I expanded the challenge to include my dressers because I am terrible about dumping items on top and then never putting them away.

So, here is my shameful closet:

1 Closet before

dresser (for my pjs, shorts, sweaters, linens. It also holds some of my husband’s clothes):

3 Dresser 1 before

dresser (that holds undies / socks / similar items):

5 Dresser 2 before

6 Dresser 2 before top

and dresser (for baby girl’s clothes):

9 Dresser 3 before
(yes, I am very very embarrassed to post this.)

The closet still doesn’t photograph all that well, but it is back in order. The boxes on the floor are my giveaway box (which I take to Goodwill when it’s full), and two boxes of outgrown baby clothes – one for our items which go into the basement in case we have another girl someday, and one for her cousin’s borrowed items that also go into the basement until I either mail them back, or we have another way to get them out to them.

2 Closet after

I had the first dresser cleaned off in two minutes. Put folded sheets into bottom drawer. Match the boy’s socks and take them into his room, bringing along tray of vehicles he’d left in our room. Move magazines into my “office” to see why I’d set them aside in the first place.

4 Dresser 1 after

The second dresser took three minutes to tidy up the surface, and that’s mostly because I went to get a cloth to wipe up my the powder that scatters when I do my makeup in the morning. Otherwise it’d have been one minute, max.

7 Dresser 2 after

8 Dresser 2 after top

Baby girl’s dresser took five minutes, because I needed to fold some of those clothes, and hang some of mine that had also gotten dumped there one night when it was late and I was tired.

10 Dresser 3 after

(There’s a photo bomb by one of my “good” distractions!)

It feels a lot nicer.

Dealing with Distractions {House Reboot, Day 1}

So, Sarah Mae’s first challenge for her house reboot challenge discusses distractions. You mean I’m not the only one?

I could feel happy that TV isn’t my issue, but that would be beside the point – TV may not be, but let’s talk about the computer, or more accurately, the internet.

It’s hard, because it’s not all bad in a pull-the-plug-entirely way. But do I still manage to waste time using it? Oh, yes, definitely.

I’m getting better – one thing having children has done for me is to make me much more careful about how I’m spending my time – but I still need to be careful or before I know it I’m spending hours pouring through the archives of Suri’s Burn Book (unfortunately, this is a true story of what I did just last week. I stayed up way too late laughing at the posts, but oh did I regret it the next day.)

    I’m most successful at avoiding distractions when I:

  1. Think about having to admit how I spent my time.
    “So, what’d you do yesterday?”
    “Well, I goofed off on the internet and read all the comments on a month’s worth of posts on a snarky blog. What did you do?”

    Yeah. Suddenly it’s easier to click that “x” button.

  2. Keep my to-do list and goals nearby and look at them regularly!
    I’ve been posting monthly goals (and I’ve got a LOT planned for June, post upcoming), so when I keep them nearby and look at them frequently it keeps me focused with my time. I want to be able to post that I accomplished what I planned!
  3. Give myself some veg-out time
    Some people seem to be able to go full-tilt all the time, but I’ve learned that I just don’t operate that way. Working with my personality, I allow myself to read the comments on blogs that have really thoughtful and helpful comments. I read fun blogs in little snippets of time (my iPod touch is great for that!) but don’t allow myself to read them when I’ve got bigger chunks of time.
  4. Remember that success breeds success (and unfortunately the opposite is true too)
    When I’m productive, it’s easier to keep on being productive. But if I goof off for an hour, another half hour slips by in a blink, and then suddenly it’s the entire evening. It’s easiest to get a good start on the day (Hello Mornings helps me here!) and get rolling on my to do list, because then I’m inspired to keep working and try and knock everything off the list.
  5. Keep my bigger goals in mind
    Similar to #2 above, but this is related to my kids. Would I be proud if they were following my example of how I’m spending my time? This usually is all I need to ask myself (I just don’t always remember to ask myself!)

I’ll be back later with an update on how I did on the Martha part of the challenge. There will be pictures, even though I’m cringing at sharing them.

How do you deal with distractions? What’s your biggest distraction – tv? computer? something else entirely?

One Bite at a Time: Project 25 {Organize Your Photo Collection}

This is another one of those projects that’s going to take awhile, so I can’t completely call it “done.”

However, I am caught up on sorting my monthly photos and getting them ready to share with family – I am just spacing it out so I don’t flood everyone with them all at once.

It’s always satisfying to me when I read Tsh’s write-up of that week’s project and I realize I’m doing something right. In this case, it’s curating my photos. Since the boy was born, I’ve been culling my photos and pulling out the best of the month, then I share them online in a Zenfolio account (sorry, can’t share the link because it’s got some photos I’m not ready to share with the world.)

What I haven’t been so good about is archiving the photos and getting them off my hard drive. While the Zenfolio (not an affiliate link) account works as an archive, there are more photos that I would be upset to lose than I share each month. And getting all those pictures off my hard drive would probably be good for my computer too.

Tsh recommends ThisLife, and since the first 1000 photos are free to store, I thought about signing up for a tester account for all the second-tier photos. But then I realized that I already pay for that Zenfolio account, and I have plenty of space there – and it allows albums to be marked as private, so no worries about overwhelming family with too many photos. I can just make two albums for each month – one that is shared, and one that isn’t. Why didn’t I think of that before!?!

So, I’m in the process of creating those albums and uploading the pictures. There are a lot of photos, so it’s a slow process as I have computer time. But I’m chugging along with it, and I wouldn’t have if not for this project, so once again, thanks Tsh!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

One Bite at a Time: Project 22 {Declutter (and Rotate) Your Children’s Toys}

Project 22, Declutter (and Rotate) Children’s Toys, is another one of those projects that I think need to be done over and over and over again.

I’ve decluttered the toys, and separated them into boxes that can be easily rotated. And it all works well, for a few days, or weeks even. And then slowly I realize that the toy explosion has taken over the play room again and the rotation has stopped rotating so it’s time to get it going again.

That doesn’t even take into account the endless influx of toys thanks to birthdays and holidays and general grandparent generosity, so it really is a neverending project to keep the toys under control.

And that’s ok, because the toy rotation thing? It works. The boy is so delighted to see some of those toys again after they’ve been put away for a week or two, and he plays much better when he has a more limited amount to choose from. Plus cleanup? Is so much nicer when everything he owns isn’t strewn across the house.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.