Creating Order- A Summary of the month of what I have learnt and achieved.

Creating Order PSD copy

I have given myself the challenge of trying to create more order in my life. There are areas where I manage well and others where I fail dismally and cause me stress. I would love nothing more, than to have routines and habits that enable life to just flow better. I am hoping that by posting everyday the various areas that need I feel improvement, that it will keep me accountable and I will achieve my to do list for once in my life. 

It has been very interesting doing this challenge over the month. I have learnt a lot about myself. 

Don’t do a challenge in November

While getting my paperwork sorted was necessary as it was causing me stress, the challenge of trying to organise my entire life was too much. November is building up to to the Silly season, and in trying to get organised to send my gifts abroad on time, declutter the house, bring back routines, lose weight and become an organised bunny, meant that I was rather stressed in getting things done. 

I am a social person. 

Ok I knew that, but socialising with friends, getting out and exploring Tokyo, or relaxing with a book or my latest craft activity is more me. Despite the challenge being on, I have continued with these things, so haven’t completed the challenges. 

So what have I managed?

1: Menu planning- that has continued throughout the month, though eating gluten free hasn’t!

2: Weekly planning- that routine has come back nicely. Pleased about that.

3: Evening routine- somewhat. Not all of the parts, but there has been an element of it. Definitely the lunch boxes or at least planning what I was going to put in in the morning. Just that little step has made my mornings so much smoother. 

4: Morning routine- a Quiet time in the morning, is the one thing that I have been working on. It has improved, so I’m satisfied- but not content as I want my Quiet time to as part of my morning routine as making my morning cuppa is! (A non negotiable!)

4: Christmas shopping- mostly done. (Hooray!!)

5: Home office

What haven’t I managed?

1: Christmas cards. 

2: A satisfying amount of my paperwork. See Thursday’s post. 

I might do another challenge, but I think I took on too much. Just tackling the paperwork, would have been a much better task for the month for me. 

If I’d done that, would I have managed it?

  
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Creating Order- Day 14 of a 20 day challenge

Creating Order PSD copyI have given myself the challenge of trying to create more order in my life. There are areas where I manage well and others where I fail dismally and cause me stress. I would love nothing more, than to have routines and habits that enable life to just flow better. I am hoping that by posting everyday the various areas that need I feel improvement, that it will keep me accountable and I will achieve my to do list for once in my life. 

I’m nearly mid way through the challenge and I thought I’d have a look at how things are going…

Bringing routines back:

Getting there. The first couple of mornings when I bought back having a Quiet Moment with God, proved challenging as they I ran into the rest of the morning routine.

Getting there with the evening routine…

Laundry. Hmmmm. That’s still a working progress!

My Biggies:

My paperwork mountain is still there. ūüė©. It’s just all neatly divided into boxes.

Christmas preparation:

This is proving to be even more time consuming than usual. Aaaarrrrgggh!

Health/ Weightloss:

Let’s just say that it is looking like yet another Christmas where I am behind the camera, as I have too many pictures from last Christmas where I look like I will be adding another member to our family in a few months. Cringe…and ‘M’ posted one of them onto Facebook. Double Cringe!!

I need to change that. I have slowly been improving my eating habits, ¬†eating more veg, reducing my wine intake, limiting puddings etc. The gluten free thing hasn’t gone too well, so I still don’t know whether it has been affecting my moods or not. Possibly the build up to the silly season is not the best of all times to be trying a new lifestyle habit!

I am going to keep being positive and being determined.

(I also think I am going to print a few copies of yesterday’s Nike photo, and post it in strategic places -fridge, home office door, next to the Easy Peasy Chore chart- to remind me to keep going.!)

I will get there. Slowly but surely wins the race. That includes slimming up and living a more healthy lifestyle.

Today’s challenge is to breakthrough the bulk of my Urgent To Do List… All the things I need to do before next week.

Creating Order- Day 11 of a 20 day challenge

Creating Order PSD copyI have given myself the challenge of trying to create more order in my life. There are areas where I manage well and others where I fail dismally and cause me stress. I would love nothing more, than to have routines and habits that enable life to just flow better. I am hoping that by posting everyday the various areas that need I feel improvement, that it will keep me accountable and I will achieve my to do list for once in my life. 

“Where are your goggles?” Decibel levels rising in parallel to the frustration levels.

“I don’t know!” My daughter replied, wiping away a tear.

“Why didn’t you do it last night?”

“I forgot,” came the reply.

” And this is the consequence of you forgetting.” Hubby calmly reminded her.
It was 7:03.am on Friday morning. My girls have an early morning club at school, which requires them to be out of the door before 7am. My friend, who was driving them in, had been waiting outside for a couple of minutes and things were getting frazzled to say the least.

It was a valid reminder of the value of doing the evening routine.

To make the morning flow, the evening needs to have its routine and when the evening routine is done, the morning routine will flow.
So what is our morning routine?

The Children’s Morning Routine:

Their routine is pretty basic for now, involving 6 steps:

  1. Get up,
  2. Get dressed,
  3. Have breakfast,
  4. Brush teeth and
  5. Pack bags,
  6. Coats etc on

It’s on their ‘Easy Peasy Chore Chart‘ but they effectively know it. That’s what makes a routine so good- it becomes a habit.

I would like to include a few more items- music practice for the older ones, their folded clothes into their cupboards, reading with my youngest one, but at the moment I am content with them being self sufficient in getting ready, which is why having a routine is so useful and such a lifesaver.

But my routine has gone by the wayside. My depression, Plantar Fasciitus, back pain has resulted in me being in survival mode. I get the basics done- get up, make tea, make lunches, make breakfasts, get dressed, take the children to school. But there is so much more I’d like to do, and I know it is possible to do more, as I have achieved it on the rare occasion. (Survival mode has been in more areas than just the morning routine- I’ve had days when I’ve come to wash the pots and pans and realise that we used them two days previously.)

So in an ideal world, my morning will look like this:

6:10 Wake the body.

: This would involve, getting up without hitting the snooze button and grabbing myself a glass of water with lemon. The health benefits of drinking a glass of water first things in the morning are long. I’m hoping that by drinking this glass, it will kick start me in the right direction.

: Basic exercises. This is basically a simplified version of what my Physio has given me. It involves some stretches and then the crucial strength builders I need to facilitate healing and recovery. I plan to do more thorough (namely cardiovascular and strength building) exercises 3 times a week.

6:20 Wake the spirit.

: I would love to finish reading my Cover to Cover Complete Bible in a Year. I’ve yet to make it past week 12. So, 5-10 minutes reading the daily reading, followed by praying for my husband (with some help from The Power of a Praying Wife). I will also use Stormie’s The Power of a Praying Parent as a guide for praying for my children. Hopefully this would set me up with a positive start, before I come back later in the day to have a more in depth devotion.


6:30 Plan my day.

: Grab my planner, my calendar and daily planner and just use the time to plan my day, so I can achieve the necessities while still having time to accomplish the nice to dos (goals, hobbies, exploring) and the invaluables( time spent with family and friends.)

6:45 Into the kitchen

: Time to get sorted…. Finish making the lunches (at best, taking everything out of the fridge and putting them into lunch boxes, at the worst- making them from scratch.). Make my caffeine fix and breakfast for myself and the family.

7:15 The dining room

: When I was first married, I discovered that ‘A’, and M had a routine of sitting down every morning and eating breakfast together. I found that challenging as I was used to living on my own and just eating my breakfast while making my lunch. Interestingly, we now all eat breakfast separately, but it would be so good to bring us all sitting down at the breakfast table together back into our morning routine.

7:30 Beauty calls…

: Shower, dressed, make up. All pretty self explanatory.

7:50 Reading time.

: Just sitting for 5-10 minutes with J, listening to him read.

8:00 Time to go.

So, that’s what I’d like to do. One day (but not yet) I would like to do more exercise (physical and spiritual) in the morning and have cleared the kitchen and completed the next stage of the laundry routine, so that when I walk out of the door for drop off, I am free to do what I wish.

But that’s one day.

Today is today and I’m going to tackle this in a manageable way- building on what I do already do. If I can crack the first 30 minutes of the day, that would be great.

(I will say that my PF is significantly better, thanks to my visit to the orthopaedic surgeon last week- hence my ability to feel like I can challenge my morning routine.)

So my challenge for this week, is to crack the first 30 minutes. Building into my routine, so it becomes a habit.

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Creating Order- Day 6 of a 20 day challenge

Creating Order PSD copyI have given myself the challenge of trying to create more order in my life. There are areas where I manage well and others where I fail dismally and cause me stress. I would love nothing more, than to have routines and habits that enable life to just flow better. I am hoping that by posting everyday the various areas that need I feel improvement, that it will keep me accountable and I will achieve my to do list for once in my life. 

Today, and for the rest of the week, I will be focussing on the evening routine.  If you follow any blog that covers home making as a theme, such as FlyLady, you will see that an organised morning starts with an organised evening. 

I personally have found that when I’m organised in the evening, my mornings flow much better. 

My evening routine has fallen by the wayside, as by the time I get to ‘arsenic hour’ (though to be fair- my children have graduated from THAT age group), my Plantar Fasciitus is playing up. Besides making walking painful, it drains my energy and saps me of positivity. I hadn’t realised just how much it was affecting me until last night, when I had energy, felt super positive and so scrubbed my kitchen! 

As I write this post, I am sitting in a hospital waiting room, hoping that my PF is going to be a thing of the past. 

So what are our evening routines?


Children’s Evening Routine:

I have an evening routine for my children for three main reasons:

  1. So their morning flows smoothly
  2. So I’m not being harassed with requests of “Where’s my school shirt?” Or “I’ve got swimming today and I can’t find my goggles!”
  3. They may learn the value of being organised the night before.

I have used my ‘Easy Peasy Chore Chart’ for the last two years. I love it. When I made it, I bought trading card sleeves, magnets and some stickers from the ¬•100 shop, a large magnetic white board from a homewares shop, printed off the chores and hey presto- an instant chore chart that the kids love! My son has been using it since he was 2, using the pictures to help him to know what to do. 

  
It has definitely helped in teaching them what they need to do as part of their routine in the evenings and when I enforce it, the house generally looks quite neat in the evening when hubby returns home from work. 

If you would like to buy an electronic copy, please click here and you will be transferred over to their site.

My Evening Routine:

My evening routine isn’t linked to a time. I aim to start at about 10pm, with my light out by 11pm. Realistically, it usually takes me a bit longer (as I get suckered into some sort of game on my iPad) and I generally start later than planned. Ideally, I would like to start at 10pm and lights out by 11pm!

I have 5 things I aim to do in my evening routine and these are the things I will be giving you feedback as to how well I have managed this week…

  1. Clean the kitchen
  2. Load of washing on
  3. Prep for tomorrow
  4. Make the children’s lunches (or part thereof)
  5. Walk through and pick up

In between doing all of these, I like to make a cup of tea for myself and hubby for us to enjoy while we read in bed. 

Here’s to 5/5 this week!
This post contains affiliate links. This means that by clicking on the links and purchasing the products, I will receive a small commission. Thank you for your continued support.

Creating Order- Day 5 of a 20 day challenge

Creating Order PSD copyI have given myself the challenge of trying to create more order in my life. There are areas where I manage well and others where I fail dismally and cause me stress. I would love nothing more, than to have routines and habits that enable life to just flow better. I am hoping that by posting everyday the various areas that need I feel improvement, that it will keep me accountable and I will achieve my to do list for once in my life. 

Friday: Ready for the weekend.
Yip, it’s Friday. I’m ready for the weekend. My week has been manic. 

I love the bonus days we get when its a national holiday in Japan, as its a day where we can do adulty things during the daylight hours. Tuesday was especially good, as my helper was happy to work as usual, so we had built in child care. (Meaning no deadline to rush home to!) The downside of national holidays is that it means that the working week is shorter and though I don’t have a paid job, I still have 5 days worth of things to fit into four and this week was fuller than usual. And it’s left me tired. And sore. 

I’m ready for the weekend. 

But the house isn’t ready for the weekend. 

Again, I haven’t tackled today’s challenge. 

Again, I shall postpone it for the weekend. 

But what does the challenge look like? 

What will I be doing tomorrow morning, alongside menu planning, Holiday packing list and To Do List, competed medical claim forms, while the children are doing their homework? (I’m tired already!)

  • Walk through the house and pick up

This is a phrase I use with the children when they are doing their evening routines. For them it means walk through the house, find anything that belongs to them and put it away ie- Tidy up time!

  • Wash the school uniforms(+dry and fold)

And the PE kit, the swimming kit etc.

  • Clean the kitchen

  
If I was able to keep on top of the tasks and they were up to date, then my Friday challenge wouldn’t have really have been a challenge. But that’s the point of this 20 Day Challenge- to bring back order and routine into my life, so that things flow and so I can become more of a fun Mum, because I’ve mastered this things called homemaking.

(Ok time to wake up now and face reality…)

Do you need a day to get your house ready for the weekend? If not, I would love your tips and pointers, please comment below. I truly would appreciate the support.


Creating Order- Day 1 of a 20 day challenge

Creating Order PSD copyI have given myself the challenge of trying to create more order in my life. There are areas where I manage well and others where I fail dismally and cause me stress. I would love nothing more, than to have routines and habits that enable life to just flow better. I am hoping that by posting everyday the various areas that need I feel improvement, that it will keep me accountable and I will achieve my to do list for once in my life. 

I have mentioned before that I like my to do lists. So in true me style, I spent 1 and 1/2 an hour on the weekend making my plan for the month:

Starting big, working my way down.
What do I need to do to create order that will bring peace to my heart?

Various things came to mind, so I have broken them down into themes for each week day.


Monday: What’s in the week?

I find I need Monday, to revover from the weekend.I try and keep the weekend low keyed and family orientated, to such an extent I do nominal housekeeping tasks, and I try not to ask too much of the kids. Generally speaking then, the house is usually a tip, come Monday morning. 

So I’m keeping this on my list, using it as an opportunity to consolidate on routines I try to do, so the house almost runs itself!

Week One: Menu planning
Week Two: Evening Routine
Week Three: Afternoon Routine
Week Four: The Week Ahead

Tuesday: Tasks

I volunteer at the school allotment and Tuesday afternoons is when we meet at the plot. I also run 1st Tokyo Cub and Beaver pack. I use my Tuesday mornings to tackle the planning, preparation and and if I have time, some of the course work I need to do to achieve my wood badge. (Yip- more paperwork/admin!!) As my Tuesdays are already quite full, I am limiting them to tasks that are on my To Do List and hopefully won’t take too long.

Week One: Christmas To Do List
Week Two: Christmas Shopping
Week Three: Creating a Laundry Routine/ Organising the Laundry Room
Week Four: Christmas Cards

OK- Maybe they will take longer than I’d like them to be… Ho Hum!

Wednesday: Tackling the biggies
My children have after school clubs on a Wednesday, which means that I drop them off at 8:15 and only see them again from 4:30. Effectively, this means that I have from 9am-4pm to get a LOT done. So, I am going to allocate my next 4 Wednesdays to tackling the Biggies, starting with my nemesis.
Week One: Tackling the Paperwork
Week Two: Organising the children’s artwork
Week Three: Photograph Organisation
Week Four: Organising our home office.

Thursday: Health
I am trying to focus on my health at the moment. I don’t know how much of my depression, plantar fasciitus or back pain is diet related. Since moving to Tokyo, I have gained 10kg, that much weight isn’t going to help any foot/ back pain, or self confidence issues which then can impact the mood. I am currently trying to reduce my calorific intake, but I want to make lifestyle changes too. I want to get off the yoyo dieting bandwagon and model to my girls the importance of healthy eating and exercise.

Week One: Fluid
Week Two: Intake
Week Three: Rest
Week Four: Exercise

Friday: Ready for the weekend.
This is a bit like Monday. If we are going away for the weekend, I try and use the Friday to get organised, have the house tidy, laundry all up to date etc. It is also a good time for me to get the car sorted. ‘A’ hates sharing a car with me, as most often it is a mobile garbage truck. I have been trying to improve (and am getting there- Hooray), and would like to start giving the car a fortnightly hoover and monthly wash.
Week One: Home
Week Two: Car
Week Three: Bags
Week Four: Planning

Now that you’ve seen the ideas-¬†lets begin:

Besides, needing to catch up from the weekend on a Monday, I also like to spend some time planning for the week ahead. This helps me feel like I have more control over my life.

My main focus at the moment is my health and diet, so I am kicking off the challenge with meal planning. I am trying to cut gluten out of my diet to see whether it effects my depression and mood. My biggest challenge with no gluten are the breakfasts as I LOVE my cereals! I have found that eggs for breakfast do keep me fuller for longer, but there are limits as to how many mornings I can enjoy boiled eggs for breakfast.

Lunches can be an issue too, as I get a bit bored of salads, so I would like to come up with some more ideas. I also need to make lunches for the children every day, and they are also very hungry when they return from school, so planning a healthy snack for them would be a good idea too.

Weekend meals is another where I fall off the healthy eating wagon, as we tend to eat out at least once (so I don’t have to cook), and gluten features on most menus.
So today’s challenge is to plan a month’s worth of meals, this will include the lunch boxes for the children. There are various menu planners on the web. I like this one from Organizing Home Life or head over to Intentional By Grace, where Leigh Anne has found over 150+ printables, including a variety for menu planning.
I have created my own monthly planner, which is a bit bigger than I planned it to be. I haven’t yet mastered how to attach printables, but should you want a copy of my planner (which I show you this evening) please leave me a comment and I will get in touch.
Happy Meal Planning!

Cluttered house- Can we fix it? Creating Order- Yes we can!

I have been following Women Living Well’s Blogging through the Bible this last week. We have been looking at the book of Numbers, and the summary of the week included the following statement:

“We serve¬†a God of Order.” God created¬†the world in an order. (Genesis¬†1), the Israelites travelled in the desert in order(Numbers 2) , the genealogy of Jesus is in order. (Matthew 1)

He is a God of Order.
He created us in His likeness (Genesis 1:27) which means that we like order. Regardless of our personality types, we all like some form of structure.

When I first become a Mom, my ante-natal group were all discussing THE two books to have when it came to raising a baby:

The Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau

The Contented Baby Book by Gina Ford
The Baby Whisperer was all about baby led routine and the Contented Baby Book was all about clock led routine. Whether baby led or clock led, both provided an order in the baby’s life that would result in a happy baby.

Even at an early age, we need order.
Personally I need order in my life. To such an extent, I create To-Do Lists, Goals, Daily Planners, Weekly Planners and such like, with the wonderful intention of becoming more organised.
Generally I am, but there are certain areas in my life, where I am not and periodically, when the disorder becomes too much, I start to get stressed.


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Some days I realise that I can’t be Supermom, but there are days when I wish that I could be. I believe that having an order, will help me become more efficient and more of a “SuperMom” who bakes with her children, does crafts with them, who is active with them.
So during the month of November, I am going to create order- routines and habits that will enable me to have more time as I become more efficient in daily tasks, routines and habits that will help my health, tackle the clutter in my house which is creating clutter in my mind, creating an order to Christmas Organisation so the holidays are filled with fun and then there is  The Biggie:
Our home office and paperwork.

Aarrrggghhh paper work.

Cluttered office

Something that always plays on my mind, something I’m forever saying to my family and friends- “I need to do my paperwork today.” I would not last a day in a bookkeeper/ secretarial job. It is NOT my strength. But it is my biggest stress!

So to keep myself accountable, for the next four weeks, I am going to tackle my clutter and disorder and create order each week day based round a theme. Each evening, I will post some photographs of my progress. This way, I should finally accomplish the tasks and bring about more peace to our home.

Tomorrow, I’m starting with menu planning.

I would love to see others joining me. If you want to join me on this, please do- let me know in the comments below and each day post a picture of your progress in the comments on my page.
Here’s to creating order and peace.

Any guesses as to what program J was watching while I was writing this post?
This post contains affiliate links. This means that by clicking on the links and purchasing the products, I will receive a small commission. Thank you for your continued support.