How To Stay Organized…Or at Least Make it Through the Day

Are you struggling to keep up with daily tasks and things on your to-do list that just never seems to get done? Here are a few ideas and a daily look at how we stay organized and how you can too.

Are you struggling to keep up with daily tasks and things on your to-do list that just never seems to get done? Here are a few ideas and a daily look at how we stay organized and how you can too. #organized #todolist #stayorganized

How to Stay Organized

The first part of this blog post was written 9 years old in 2010. I thought it would be fun to compare what life looked like then with now and also how it looks the same, even with the addition of 3 children.

A few weeks ago I was starting to feel like my brain was coming unraveled. There’s work, and there’s blogging, and there’s keeping up the house, and there’s taking care of the animals, and so much more. This summer and fall was nothing short of insanity for me, there was all of the above plus taking care of a 3000sq ft. garden and canning and preserving. At 10:00 at night I’d be sitting in my chair working hard on writing some articles for the next day for the blog and thinking that surely my brain was going to explode.

I’m happy to say I’m staying more organized now, finally! I’ve come up with a plan, it works for me, it helps keep my brain in order throughout the day and I actually get even more done! The key is learning how to organize my time. Something I tried to work on before but didn’t work out so well for me. I needed a better plan and I needed a good one that I could stick with.

So basically what I did was come up with an “adult chore chart” for myself. A list of what I needed to get done during the day in order to maximize my time and keep my sanity. I put my plan in a folder with prongs. Each week when I come up with my menu I take all the recipes I want to make (I keep all my recipes in sheet protectors in binders) and but them in the back of the folder. In the front in my daily “chores” and my weekly and monthly cleaning “chores” that I need to do. I also have a spare space to write in what I want to blog that day and other things I need to get done including any groceries I need to buy if I’m going to town that day. I also wrote on the front sheet what I’m making for supper so I can get out anything I need to thaw in the morning. The “chore” sheets are lists I’ve come up with that I put inside sheet protectors(so I don’t have to print off a new one each day) and I check out what I’ve gotten accomplished and I can see what I have left to do.

Here is a screenshot of my printable checklist.

Some recipes for this week that I pulled out of a magazine. I never keep old magazines. I pull out what recipes I want to keep and throw them in my recipe binders.

Below is an example of my daily schedule. Everyone’s schedule will have to fit their needs but you can get a basic idea from this. This is my winter daily plan. Of course, I’ll have to come up with a new one in the spring/summer and in the fall with the gardening season.

Before Breakfast
Make bed (My grandma always told me to do this every day and I never knew how “picked up” it made me feel until I was doing it at my own house.)
Put in a load of laundry
Check emails
Open chicken door and collect eggs

Breakfast

After Breakfast
Clean up dishes
Unload Dishwasher
Pick up kitchen
Get out things for supper

Lunch

After Lunch
Clean up dishes
Quick clean up around house
Put laundry in dryer
Check for eggs

Supper

After Supper
Clean up dishes and run dishwasher
Put away laundry

That’s my daily plan. Like I said on my daily plan sheet I also have what I need to blog, what I’m making for supper, and anything else I need to get done. Having these lists help tremendously with what I need to get done during the day. But don’t think I’m perfect, I have days where I don’t feel like following the list and so I slack off. But at the end of the day, I feel so much better when I get the things done on my list that I need to do then when I just sit around.

As many of my regular readers know I also like to stay organized throughout the week. I have a plan for my blog and what gets posted on what day. I do all my baking on one day and then I don’t have to worry about it the rest of the week. And with my meal plan, I know what I need to make on that day. It all works together!

blueberries

Update in 2019

It’s funny how some things are so different and yet some things are so similar. While I have a similar daily plan, my timing has shifted to make room for being a mother which of course, is my top priority during the day. Here’s a look at what things look like now during a similar time of year. (Not summer)

On the weeks that I feel like I need more organization, I like to use my printable Weekly Checklist and To-Do Lists.

Before Breakfast
Quiet Time
Exercise
Writing Work
Make Breakfast

Breakfast

After Breakfast
Clean Up Dishes
Unload Dishwasher
Make My Bed
Start a Load of Laundry
Get the Kids Dressed
Get things out for supper if necessary
School and Reading with the Kids

Lunch

After Lunch
Clean Up Dishes & Kitchen
Clean Up School Supplies for the day
Finish Laundry
Quick Clean Around the House
Fill Berkey
Baking
Make Supper

Supper

After Supper
Clean Up from supper and clean kitchen
Bathe Kids, prepare them for the coming day, and tuck them in
Work
Spend time with Hubby

This is really a simple outline and I’ve posted more details about our day here in my “Day in the Life” post as well as here in my Time Management in a Simple Life article.

The Key to How to Stay Organized

The key to all of this organization in the day is actually very simple and comes down to one main thing….having a routine. In the beginning, you can write up your plans or create a checklist, but over time, these simple daily things will become a routine that will help to keep your day organized and on schedule. Things will always come up that will attempt to derail your plans, but if you have a routine to default to, things can get back on track quickly.

What about you? Do you have a daily or weekly plan? Does it help you to stay organized or do you find it hard to follow?

This blog post on How to Stay Organized was originally published on Little House Living in December 2010. It has been updated as of April 2019.

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5 Comments

  1. At my home I split my daily chores up between days, If something is going to come up. I double up on my chores. I have been a mom so long until I can plan my meals in my head no need for writing things down, I can just do it.My chores are lighter now that my two oldest children are grown. But there are still one child to tend too.Of course my sweet husband too so my life is changing as far as chore and meals go. But different needs pick up and take their place. writing things down helps many people, I do have a special recipe book homemade of course,like you with all those recipes I want to try in them. So while my life is one way another mom's needs will be much different, Have a great evening.I am just getting older thats all!!!

  2. I also like to make a menu for the week. It helps keep the stress level down in the afternoon before dinner. Since I am not the only one eating dinner, why should I have to guess at what my family would really enjoy eating this week? So when I sit down to make out the menu for the week I do it at dinner time with everyone present. They each get to pick a couple things that they'd like to have. With leftovers it usually takes us through a two week menu. My daughter with usually pick a theme night. Such as picnic night. Hamburgers, pea salad. Husband always wants homemade soup or Mexican night. I can make one trip to the store and everyone is happy. If they don't particularly like dinner tonight they know it will be their favorite coming up soon! No complaints! Happy mom!
    Debbie

  3. Debbie: That's a great idea! I also show the menu to the hubby before I make my final plans otherwise I know he'll be unhappy but as long as I put one pizza meal in each week he's good to go.

  4. I, too, split up my recurring chores over weekdays. When I first got married, I realized I was spending all my Saturday mornings doing chores instead of spending time with my family. So, I now do one chore every night when I get home from work and don't have any cleaning to do on the weekend.

    Menu planning has been an amazing time-saver, too. I plan menus by the week which means I only have to go to the grocery store once each week. I know my grocery store so well by now that I can even organize my list by aisle! Another time-saving part of this is that I can visit my grocery store (the base commissary) on my lunch break so I don't have to go after work 🙂

  5. I just started meal planning. Mostly because it is so cold and snowy now that I want to cut my grocery trips down to every other week. But it has been a life saver. Not only is there less fighting (with hubby) about what to eat tonight, we have cut down on eating fast food, and no longer need to trash spoiled food. Unexpected bonuses =)