I often lament the fact that more of her skills didn’t rub off on me!
As I seek to become more organized now, however, certain phrases and tidbits I heard my mom mention through the years have come to mind. I find myself wanting to revisit those and put them into better practice.
Here are a few I remember with the most clarity:
Handle the mail only once.
She was referring to paper mail from the real mailbox, and as most of us still receive items in the mail, this still applies. Bring in the mail, open it right then, and put it where it needs to go–junk mail in the trash, bills in the box or file or wherever you keep them, catalogs and magazines in their place on the shelf, rack, or table on which they normally reside.
This is opposed to bringing in the mail, flinging it onto the table, moving it to the counter when it’s time for dinner, scooping it off the counter (because you need the space) and onto the coffee table in the living room, etc., etc.
I think the same concept can apply to email as well. “Bring in” the mail when you have the time to read it. Then, either respond right then, file it in a folder, forward it, or delete it. Handle it only once.
Start early when working on a project.
Oh, this is one I struggle with! I am such an excellent procrastinator! I get that from my dad. My mom has always been really good at getting things done way ahead of time. (Total side note–what is funny is when they are getting ready to speak at marriage conferences together, Mom’s part is ready 2 months in advance and Dad is still working on his the night before.)
With today’s technology, there are all kinds of ways to give yourself reminder notices and calendar checks. Set small deadlines as part of the process. Add in some rewards and incentives for getting things done early–a white chocolate mocha, for example (or whatever drink or activity is a favorite of yours!). The point is to try and help yourself enjoy whatever must be done by giving yourself time and space to be creative.
Do extra when the time is available.
This can apply in more than one area of your home or personal life. As a small example, when my mom bought chicken she would cook up extra in order to have it ready for a second meal later in the week.
A while back, every Tuesday and Thursday I would take my youngest to Tae Kwon Do. It was an hour-long class, and I had to stay with her. So I learned to take a book, my blogging notebook, or my checkbook and budget folder. Sure, there were times when I needed to watch her so she could show me something new; there were also plenty of days when ample time was available to focus on getting something done.
I think the lesson in this statement is to take advantage of the time you have NOW in order to save yourself time and energy LATER.
Work first, then play.
It might sound old-fashioned, but her theory is that play is so much more enjoyable when the “work” isn’t hanging over your head.
Small steps can be made here as well. Laundry overwhelming? Make a goal of doing 2 loads (washed, dried, folded, and put away) and then treat yourself to some reading, a game, a movie…anything that is “play” for you.
I know this one comes down to balance. Sometimes you (and your family) need to play despite the work that has to be done. Sometimes that’s the healthier option. Take this axiom with a bit of caution, based on the needs of your family.
There are many more lessons I learned from my mother, but these are the ones that have come to mind most recently as I challenge myself to set and accomplish goals.
Have you learned any organizational tips from your parents?