By Taryn Dryfhout
People always assume that my life is super-organised. I can’t count the number of times I have had another mum ‘awe’ at how busy my life is, and comment that I “must be so organised”. You would think… but no. I live in a constant cycle of disorder, and disarray. Organisation just seems to keep evading me. Even when I try to get organised, somehow it fails. Donna Reed would be ashamed.
When I was a new mum, I was very organised. Four children later and any delusions I had about being organised have gone out the window (along with my patience and my will to live). Being a busy mum means having a ‘to do’ list that never ends – even when the washing is away, the dishes are clean, the food is prepared and the kids are bathed, there are drawers in the house brimming over with clutter, furniture which needs to be pulled out and cleaned behind and a closet that has become a ‘floordrobe’. I am constantly drowning in chaos, clutter and confusion.
Recently, I decided that I needed to prioritise organisation, to get on top of everything. I’ve started a few new things and have resurrected some old ones and so far, so good. So, I thought I would share my wisdom with fellow ‘study-mummies’. It’s not very wise, but I’m going to hit you with it anyway.
Use a Planner
Between school drop offs, sports, work, uni and appointments, you cannot remember it all. If you are anything like me, your brain will be a wild jungle full of child-related jibberish:
“Must pack an extra pair of underpants for her for school.”
“What colour? Maybe the blue ones.”
“She likes blue. I wonder why she likes blue?”
“I don’t like blue so she didn’t get it from me.”
“Maybe it’s because her Dad’s eyes are blue. Why are her Dad’s eyes blue? His parents both have brown eyes.”
“Brown. BROWN. Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown is upside down.”
“Chocolate is brown. Chocolate. Malteser’s are chocolate. There’s Malteser’s in the cupboard.”
**Goes to cupboard and forgets about packing spare underwear**
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why we have planners. Pick one and use it.
Prepare Dinner in the Morning
If you don’t have a slow-cooker, buy one. If you can’t buy one, prep all your veggies in the morning and take the meat out of the freezer. Put any other ingredients you will need on the bench. Doing this has made our after-school rush much easier. Plus, we don’t have to haemorrhage our bank account buying takeaways five nights a week. Winning.
Schedule Your Procrastination
Procrastinating is how all good assignments are born. Busy ‘study-mummies’ need down time so block it out, even if it’s just an hour, twice a week. If there’s a daddy in the picture, (or a grandmother, aunt, or neighbour who isn’t a serial killer) this is where they come in. It doesn’t have to be a hot stone massage – just an hour of Netflix, painting your nails or browsing on Pinterest. Whatever floats your boat, schedule it (into pre-discussed planner).
Carry a Notebook. Always.
If you are like me (old-school, have an unreasonable hatred for Google Calendar and like a diary that fits into your bag) then this is where you will write things down. Appointments, things to remember, people to call – everything. Even if you think you will remember it. You won’t.
When I have forgotten my diary, I use my phone to email myself a reminder. No, that is not a psychological condition. Replying to the email might be.
Create a Workspace
After five years of listening to me whinge about having nowhere to work or study, my husband bought me a box body and converted it into an office. It has revolutionised my productivity. When I am working, nobody is drawing on my notes, spilling my coffee or asking me about Spongebob. Whatever space you have at home – make it sacred. It is not a dumping ground, or a place to chat about little Tommy on the playground. Let everyone know that when you are in that space, you are a force to be reckoned with, and may God have mercy on the soul of anyone who interrupts you.
That’s my organisational steps for now. Is everything running super smoothly yet? No. But being a little organised is better than nothing, right?