Friday, 3 October 2014

The Lists

During my self-help book phase, many moons ago, I remember this statement from a brilliant book ('Being Happy' by Andrew Matthews):

 'Lists work. They work for shopping, and they work for life.'

I've said before on here that I barely have time for shopping lists, but the result of this is when I get to the supermarket, my mental list of what we need completely disappears from my brain and I end up buying all sorts of crap that we don't need, like biscuits and yet more storage containers that are on special. Only to be reminded when I get home that we really needed important stuff like toilet paper or washing-up liquid.

So, in other words, without the all-important list, grocery shopping trips are chaotic, messy and inefficient. And I've just had a bit of an a-ha moment when I think about this in relation to staying in control in my life, particularly now that I've returned to work. Too often the feeling of being overwhelmed (aka messy, chaotic and inefficient) envelopes me, especially now that I have so little time to get personal or admin things done. It is honestly just so hard with the four little ones around, or even just with two or three of them!

To help me feel more in control (and instead of just winging it and hoping for the best, a tried and tested method of mine that rarely works) I have put up all these different lists around the house, detailing routines, things to remember and important dates. For a few bits of coloured paper with my scrawl all over it, it sure has made a difference to my internal peace. Since putting the lists up, the feeling of having things written down somewhere has given me a sense of control back, which does well to challenge the overwhelming stuff.

List 1: The babies' routine - for my mum to follow while I am at work.
List 2: 'Busy morning' routine for my work days. Involves a 5.45am start to get me out the door at 7.20am.
List 3: 'Early run' evening routine. For use on days when there is no kindy pick up and we can get the big kids fed and washed early, and off to bed at a decent hour. Nice, because these evenings tend to be less manic.
List 4:  'Late run' evening routine. Very useful to help us keep on track with getting everyone fed and cleaned up and avoiding bed times blowing out too far from the 7.30pm mark.

Mummy's List: this is my mini whiteboard list with all the things I have to get done, most of them boring and annoying but important all the same. I am really bad for procrastination and getting overwhelmed by having 'too much to do' so this helps me manage items on the list and get things done. I have a priority system, so I only have to work on items listed with a (1) next to them, meaning all the (2)s and (3)s can wait. At the moment the list is full to the brim and there are loads of number (1)s!!!

Important dates: this is a chalkboard for those important dates coming up, like themed kindy days and birthday parties for the big kids.

So for now, this is helping. If you wake up with dread some days, thinking of everything you have to get done, and where on earth will you start, I suggest making a list first and foremost. Stick it up somewhere. Hope it helps you!

By the way, I totally recommend reading 'Being Happy'.

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