I’ve made it no secret that my focus this year is to be less reactive, and more organized in life. Last year I was literally flying by the seat of my pants and I just didn’t like how it felt. Life isn’t meant to be rushed. It doesn’t have to be so chaotic.
Read more about this in a recent blog post: This is not going to be my life.
Even though, as I sit here writing this, my “to do” list seems extremely overwhelming and the sentence “just keep swimming, just keep swimming” is on replay in my head …I really do feel that balance, while it’s not a destination or a task you can just check off your to do list… IS something we can all strive toward, and some days even be close to achieving.
As I said in a previous podcast episode, I feel like the notion that balance is bullshit that’s been spread through the online motherhood community over the past year or so … has gone too far. It’s given this false sense that moms should be hot messes all the time. It’s like we are supposed to say SCREW IT and just EMBRACE THE CHAOS.
While in theory that sounds great and I do believe that we should embrace the chaos that does come with motherhood, I still think that striving for organization and implementing systems is a good idea. It helps us feel LESS crazy and LESS chaotic every day. It is the key to a better life, and honestly a better childhood for our kids.
So, with that, I’ve decided to start implementing more systems in my life. When I say systems, I mean things that I do monthly, weekly and daily, to keep my arse in gear!
I expect that there WILL be months when I don’t do these things. There will be months where I fall off the bandwagon… but like I said, as corny as this sounds… this whole “striving to get my shhhh together thing” is a journey and not a destination.
So, here are 10 things that I am trying to do at the beginning of every month to set me and our crew up for a more organized life. This is especially important to me this month, because as I said, this month has proven to me that this really isn’t an all or nothing thing!
1. CLEAN OUT YOUR FRIDGE
Sorry, I put the least glamorous task first…. but…
Raise your hand if you have expired salad dressing in your fridge right now. How about your cupboards? Until last week, both of my hands would be waving in the air.
The other day on Instagram I said that there is something about going to the grocery store with a list, and my reusable bags that make me feel like I really have my shit together. I should have added having an organized fridge to that list, because that makes me feel like I am REALLY on top of my game.
There have been times where I have found items that were over 2 years old in my cupboards. I’ve even found stuff that was here before I moved in.
And well… the clutter is taking up space, contributing to the disorganization, and tricking us into thinking we have food that we actually don’t.
So now, every month I am going to do my best to get those moldy blueberries and expired Greek yogurt containers OUT of the fridge, so I can start fresh!
2. SCHEDULE GIRL TIME
Last year I wasn’t great with scheduling time with my friends and then when it came down to trying to find time to get together, there just wasn’t space in the calendar. Months would go by without a girl’s day or meeting a friend for coffee. The social events I did attend were with my husband’s work or the blogging community.
This year my goal is to make more time for the girls!!! At the beginning of every month I am reaching out and getting those lunch dates and girls nights in the calendar, because they are a major priority for me this year!
3. SCHEDULE YOUR DATE NIGHTS
On the same note, date nights are a huge focus.
My husband and I love the idea of scheduling date nights weekly but with the kids extracurriculars and work schedule, it’s not doable for us to have the same night every week. So, now we’re doing it on a month by month basis.
I’ve always been someone who preaches the importance of date night, especially to stepmoms (after all, our husband is why we are a stepmom in the first place, it’s important to keep that relationship forefront so we don’t end up resenting the extra stressors that come with this role) … BUT this year we kind of slipped, and we noticed the difference in how connected we felt to each other!
It’s time to get that lovin’ back on track!
4. REFLECT ON THE PREVIOUS MONTH
Sit down and really think about the precious month. How do you feel about it? Do you feel productive? Did you meet your goals? Are you on target for any big goals you set this year?
Write down your wins and the things you’re going to do better this month!
Monthly reflection is a great way to stay on target for goals you’ve set this year. This way, come December you don’t realize that you’ve crapped the bed on your New Years resolution and are no further ahead than you were this time last year.
It’s also a great opportunity to PIVOT if you need to.
For example, my new year’s resolution was to work out in my morning routine. I am up at 5 am most days of the week so I thought it was an excellent time to get my workout in. Well, I’ve realized that just doesn’t work for me… so I’ve decided to revamp that resolution and plan for my workout at a different time in the day! Pivoting is okay. In fact, it is often crucial to meeting your goals.
5. SET ONE GOAL FOR THE MONTH
What's one thing you want to really master this month? Is it daily work outs? Daily journaling? Do you want to become a morning person?
Think of ONE thing that you want to focus on… not a bunch!! Change is gradual and it’s all about baby steps. When you focus on improving too many things at once, you’re more likely to fail.
6. DO THE BOOKS
This is big for me this year. Tracking finances and expenses and seeing where we are at with finances is something that I am not great at. I’m an out of sight, out of mind person and I procrastinate on this HUGE! Come tax time it becomes pretty stressful!
You should HEAR the conversations my husband and I have about my business books… a few weeks back he asked for my Ledger and I was like “Come again, what in the world is a ledger?”. He was less than impressed.
But he was right. Keeping track of everything is a great way to stay on target (both personally and professionally) … As this platform grows and we go into saving mode in our personal life… I’m realizing just how important it is to know exactly where you are financially.
7. SCHEDULE IN WORK-OUTS AND DOWNTIME
Blocking out time for self-care and relaxation is KEY because it’s the first thing that falls off the to do list when things get busy.
Make it a priority.
Block out time in your calendar to read a book.
Decide when you’re going to get off your phone for the night… perhaps commit to putting your phone on airplane mode at 8:00pm and reading before bed.
I believe it’s Marie Forleo who says, if it’s not scheduled it’s not real. Relaxation and self-care are just as important as all those other important! It’s time to start acting like it.
8. SYNC YOUR CALENDAR WITH YOUR PARTNER
Sit down with your partner and review the month ahead so that you’re all on the same page. Review the kids’ schedule, your schedule, any last-minute events. GO over everything you both have on the go for the month so that there aren’t any last-minute surprises.
NOTE: this is also something you should do at the beginning of every week!!
9. CLEAN OUT YOUR CAR
I don’t know about you but I think it’s damn near impossible to keep a clean car when you have kids. NO matter how hard I try it just gets disgusting…
Monthly car cleans can be game changing, and a sure way to avoid finding rotting muffin underneath the seat.
10. PICK ONE AREA OF THE HOUSE TO ORGANIZE
Instead of trying to organize your whole house in one day, try picking one thing a month. Then, if you finish and want to keep going, do it.
One junk drawer, one closet, one toy room, one area of your house.
I highly recommend picking the areas that are causing you the most stress and wasting the most time.
For example if your messy closet is clogging your time in the morning because you’re spending so much time looking for that favorite black shirt every week, then focus on that.
If your junk drawer is out of control and this where you ALWAYS put your keys… then focus on that area.
Think of decluttering as a time and energy saving strategy – if you get that area under control, you’ll waste less time being hot mess express looking for your keys next month!
And that’s all I’ve got! The last thing you need to do is put this all in your calendar. Just pick a day at the beginning of the month and block out some time to make it happen!
Again, like Marie says….
if it’s not scheduled, it’s not real!
- MARIE FORLEO
IS BECOMING A MORNING PERSON ON YOUR LIST OF GOALS THIS YEAR? I’ve got you girl!
I have a podcast episode all about my morning routine and what I did to train myself to get up every day at 5AM. Straight up, doing this has literally made me a better wife, mom, stepmom and blogger! Check out the podcast HERE!