Improving Me Series – Coming Up With a Plan That Works

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We recently talked about my desire to improve myself, instead of just coasting through life. That is when I came up with the “Improving Me” Challenge. If you are interested in attaining your goals and becoming better in an area of your life, look back at the previous post for inspiration and ideas.

Here is the 2nd part of the challenge.

I took a lot of my inspiration from reading other blogs. There are a lot of great organizational blogs out there with good tips on how to be organized, and many of these offer free printables as well. I will include the links to these below in case anyone is interested in them.

However, I also knew that what worked for one person might not work for me. So I catered my plan on my own strengths and weaknesses, and also added in my goals in my cleaning schedule and made it more of a routine than a schedule.

I also notice that I gauge time around meal-time more than the hours, since some days we eat lunch at say 11 and others it might be 1pm. As long as I set a routine for something that happens before or after meal-times, I think that can help me stay on schedule more than an intricate hour-by-hour map.

So, looking at my master plan I made a list of things I needed to do on a daily basis (clean, exercise, work, spend time with my husband, play with the kids, me time) and then things I wanted to do on a weekly basis (Cleaning out the fridge/wiping out the microwave, cleaning the tub, meal planning, etc.). Then I put a guess next to it on how long it will take me to do those things. If it totaled more than 15 hours then I knew I was either going to have to double-book it (blog while kids play in the room) or get rid of something (cut down hours I work per day).

Then I split up my times before and after meals. Before breakfast I really only have about 1hr to 1hr & 1/2 if I am waking up at 6am, since the kids get up anywhere from 7-8 a.m. Then it usually takes me about 15 minutes to get them ready, then I do breakfast. I also know I have a long chunk of time in between breakfast and lunch (anywhere from 3-4 hrs), so that’s why I chose to do my weekly chore here. Then we have lunch and I usually try to tire the kids out so when quiet time comes around I have a good solid 1hr – 2 hrs to myself to work. 🙂 However, I try not to rely on this since sometimes it doesn’t happen – so that’s why I set aside more time to work after kids are down at night, and I might have to work a little more on Saturday if I can’t get everything done during the week.

Another family rule we have established to help me get to bed earlier is that “Mom is off by 8”. I can’t control all the time when my kids go to bed, but I can control when I am done. 🙂 I read a cute blog with this tip, and we tried it out and low and behold – it works! Instead of me trying to rush everything to get kids to bed so I can get to sleep before 2 a.m., the kids are actually excited to hurry and get in their pjs before “I’m off”, and Jim has been more conscious of the time and more helpful with getting everyone ready because otherwise he’s saddled with putting all 3 kids to bed by himself. The kids love that I will give them all the attention and care in the world (and extra books read to them), and it turns out being a win-win for everyone (except Jim I guess when 8:00 rolls around and they aren’t ready for bed. haha) This is a family rule that Jim okayed, so it works for us.

Also, I have seen a lot of great weekly cleaning schedules out there where you assign a cleaning task per day. I opted not to do that because I knew that wasn’t something I could keep up with. I have productive days and then I have lazy days (or rather days where I just can’t seem to keep on top of things because I have a grumpy baby or a toddler that pees through all her underwear… get the picture?). There are also times when I feel like taking on a lot of things and times when I don’t – and sometimes it all comes down to how much work is on my plate. So I decided just to list the things I need to do and then cross them off through out the week.

This was my final product:

I don’t do well with binders because I need a visual reminder in an easy to see location (plus can you imagine grabbing and putting away a binder each time you want to mark something off your list? I’m getting tired just thinking about it). Instead I chose to put it in a sheet-protector and stick it on our fridge, and then use a dry-erase marker to mark off the things that I’ve accomplished.

You can print out one that is customizable for your own goals HERE.

For those of you interested in the challenge, here are you next challenge goals:

1. Seperate your priorities in to daily, weekly, or monthly goals and estimate how long it will take you to do the goal. For example, if you want to incorporate exercise in to your routine you can put the time allotment you want to work out next to it, such as 45. Don’t forget to put in the amount of sleep you want to get each day as well.

2. Give yourself a few hours of “free time”. So instead of scheduling for 24 hours only schedule for 22. That way, if you run behind schedule you can still have a little lee-way to accomplish your goals – and you might even get to relax for part of the day if you don’t.

3. Make a plan that suits your tastes and personality. Your plan might not look the same as mine. There are a lot of great schedules out there that can give you inspiration. Here are some I found:

1. Source: Designfinch.com – A large assortment of free printables – including cleaning & menu planners, grocery lists, etc.

2. Source: DotDotDotThis.Com – Monthly & Weekly Cleaning Schedule with daily chore reminder on bottom.

3. Source: PaintedGold.Com – Housecleaning schedule with links at the bottom for chore list and groceries. 🙂

4. Source: attheendofthedrive.blogspot.com – Cleaning Box Idea

5. Source: TipsandPix.Com – Cleaning printable

6. Source: sparklesandbugs.blogspot.com – daily routine, daily chores, “Zone work” for that week, and then ends with my night routine

7. Source: bloominghomestead.blogspot.com – Week at a Glance Cleaning Schedule

8. Source: organizingmadefun.blogspot.com – Weekly schedule with daily tips on the bottom

9. Source: TipJunkie.Com/Clean – 4 different cleaning printables depending on your tastes and personalities. Love it!

10. Source: moneysavingmom.com – Time Management Routine

Find a plan that works for you and your personality. Having some kind of plan is better than no plan. Good luck!


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