organization

Time Management: A Full-Circle Attitude Adjustment

Posted by on Jul 5, 2012 | 3 comments

Hello Crafting Crazy friends!  I’m sure it seems a bit like crickets chirping here at my corner of the internet.  I will say that potty training a 3-year-old boy, dealing with a sick dog, and learning so much behind-the-scenes  material about blogging and photography has really thrown my brain for a loop. So today, I’m throwing out some material that I shared way back in April over at Chronically Distracted.  It’s actually very timely for me- I need to re-evaluate my time-management…. yet again!   I’d love to hear how you do it, too.  We can always learn from each other, right?  Enjoy!

………..

I’ll be honest here: I’m really a bit of a mess these days.  I’ve gone through a huge transition (for me) in the last eight months, and I’m still sorting myself out.  Here’s my backstory in bullet form:

  • elementary music teacher for 12 years
  • had three kids between 2007 & 2011.  Bam-bam-bam (done).
  • After becoming a mom, I didn’t want to teach anymore.  I wanted to be with my babes, but had to wait a bit.
  • Resigned from teaching in June of 2011.  Hooray!
  • Took on dreams and reality.  Dreams= being with kids, crafting & blogging.  Reality= we ain’t got no cash flow! Must earn cash!
  • Took on a WAH job that I love, but this new life is throwing me for a loop!

There ya go- me in a six-bullet-nutshell.

Today I’m going to share with you my full-circle journey in time management.  I say full-circle because while I have learned a lot in the last few months, I still feel like I am right back where I was when I started.  The difference?  My attitude is much more relaxed about time management than it was when I started because I made some minor changes in my approach.

What I wanted was to have a picture perfect day-to-day life.  I wanted to play with my kids, keep my house clean, work, craft, blog, cook, be a wife, and smile through it all.  Instead, I found myself tumbling into bed at night feeling stressed out that I didn’t get enough done, and wondering how I was going to “catch up” the next day.  I was also short-fused with my kids- I was inflexible with them and it showed.  It was time for a change.  Some action.  Some order.  So I got some books and I started reading about time management and organization.

One book instructed me to draw up a fairly detailed weekly schedule.  “This is exactly what I need!” I thought to myself.  “I need to plot out my week and just follow the schedule!”  So I tried.  I sat for several hours developing a schedule, and for one week… I was quite successful.  I did the laundry for our entire family of five in two days flat- folded and put away.  I cleaned a little each day, and my house looked awesome.  I assigned different tasks to different days in terms of blogging and work.   I even called my sister and told her that I really liked this new time-management thing- it was really helping!

I learned a week later, when “life” happened (husband working late, kids getting sick, etc.) and the schedule went out the window…it wasn’t realistic.  It was too rigid for me.   I’d allot time to blog while my kids were napping, but then one of them wouldn’t nap and I’d end up disappointed and stressed about not being able to finish what I started.  Or something would come up and I’d have to put the intended agenda on the back burner.  Does this mean the book was a waste of time?  Not at all.  It helped me prioritize and helped me examine the different hats I wear in my life.  And through trying a rigid schedule that I wanted so very much to live by, I realized that now, as a WAHM, I have to approach things differently.  I have to roll with the punches in a way I haven’t had to before.  Most importantly, I have to change my attitude.  Instead of getting frustrated when the kids have to take priority over editing photos or blogging, I have to take a deep breath and remind myself that they are the reason I’m trying to work from home- I want to be with them, not working away from them at a traditional job.

So here are those minor changes I mentioned earlier.   Maybe some of these would help you, or maybe they’ll spark an idea that would work even better for your situation.

{Get. Out.}  I get out of the house by myself at least one night a week, but usually/hopefully twice.  I go to Starbucks, I take my laptop and papers, and I work.  Without interruption.  I put the baby to bed and head out the door while my husband puts the big kids to bed.  I come home and I’ve accomplished something, not to mention I’ve had some hot chocolate that I didn’t have to make.

{Prioritize.}Family comes first.  Work comes before my blog.  This will hopefully change slightly as I craft and blog more and get more experience under my belt.  For now, I have to prioritize, and work gives me income, which is most important for my family right now, so that’s my focus.

{Keep it clean. But sane.}  One thing I did keep from that rigid schedule:  I still clean a little each day.  It just works better for me.  For example, Wednesday is bathroom day. (I hate Wednesdays.)  We have a decent sized house- if I leave it alone too long then it’s such a hassle to try and catch up.

{Wash it up- when needed.} I do NOT have a “laundry day”.  For some reason it irks me to wash a small pile of clothes every dang week.  I’d rather have my kids nearly run out of clothes and do a huge load for each of them.  So I do laundry as it needs to be done, no sooner.

{Ask and you shall receive.}  When I need help from my husband, I ask for it.  I don’t assume that he realizes I need it.  Thankfully, he obliges as often as he can.  If I need an extra night at Starbucks, he tells me to go.  Likewise, when he has projects crop up at work and has to stay until 2 a.m., I have to go with it.  He does, after all, bring home the bacon, so he should probably do his job.

{Give it Up}  I gave something up.  Sometimes you can’t just do it all.  For me, right now, that something is the self-induced pressure of getting to the gym.  I even wrote a post about rededicating myself to the gym once I was done breastfeeding my youngest, and that milestone has come and gone.  I have two mornings a week when my two big kids are at preschool, and technically I could take the baby to the child watch place and workout for an hour and a half.  The problem is that my baby naps in that window, and I think naps are super important for babies.  I could also drag all three kids with me to the gym, and… eventually I will.  But I need to feel more balance in my life in other areas before I throw a workout routine in the mix.

{Say “om.”} I relax.  I hate it when people say to “just relax,” but I need to.  Four-year-old giving up naps (somethingIholdsacredwhichgivesmepersonaltime)?  Deep breath.  I can handle this.  Nearly-three-year-old taking forever to potty train?  No biggie.  He’ll get there.  I’m trying to see the big picture- nobody naps forever, and no one cares when you stopped wearing diapers once you’re grown.  Right now I need to just meet my kids where they are, keep tabs on my attitude, and enjoy the moment.

Do you have any time management tricks?  Do you need a schedule or something more loose and fancy-free?  Do you throw a schedule out the window if things get crazy, or stick to it even more?

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…and so, it is finished (for now)

Posted by on Apr 27, 2012 | 3 comments

Man, oh MAN!  I had my work cut out for me!  Granted, I did not have eight hours of uninterrupted Pinterest editing, which made it a challenge (Yes, I do place diaper changes above editing my pins).  I did not get nearly as far as I thought I would.  You can tell in my first post from yesterday that I had high hopes to accomplish a lot.

In reality?

I cleaned up one board, my former Food and Drink  board.  Now it’s my Main Course board.  I also added:

Sweet Tooth (for all of the tasty desserts and sweet treats I’ve found)

Side Dishes

Apps. As in Food. 

Drinky Drinks for adult beverages (I need to pin more of those).

Breakfast Bliss (Breakfast is my favorite meal)

Snack It Up

Breads. Carbs. Love.

I can now find pinned food much more easily, so that will be nice.

I’m so glad I figured out a way to edit a pin board quickly, but it still took a lot of time- especially when I found pins that weren’t “legit” due to a lack of a good url, or an incorrect url.  I still have work to do.  I didn’t get to “give credit” where it’s due on every pin.  But my intent is clear:  I want to be a good pinner.

I’m not sure why it’s important to me.  Possibly because I’m a crafter, and I’d like to know that if someone pins content I created, I get credit for it.  Or that if someone pins something of mine, and someone sees that pin, they’ll be able to find me on this huge thing we call the Internet.

Regardless, I plan to continue to update my boards until they are all updated.  I’ll be sure to post when I “finish”- if that ever happens.  I do plan to not add any pins until I’m done, unless I see something I absolutely can’t bear the thought of forgetting about.

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Operation Organization: Art Station

Posted by on Feb 10, 2012 | 0 comments

I realize that this is not rocket science.  It’s a simple plastic bin with labels.  But I LOVE to see how other people organize their crap, so I thought I’d share what I did in this situation.

I was going absolutely bonkers.  For reals.

As I mentioned in my recent post about Anna’s mail slot, she is a very creative little girl.  She comes up with crazy Tinker-Toy creations, she builds amazing things with blocks (engineer, architect perhaps?), and loves, loves, loves to draw.  She loves art so much that I have to throw things away on the sly, lest our house become a fire hazard of paper.   I’m still working on a system to determine what stays and what goes, but what was more pressing was how to contain her supplies and her completed work.

I mention in my “About Nat” page that I am a practical crafter.  While I LOVE looking at DIY art stations with cute, color coordinated tubs, repurposed antique holders and such, that is not me.  If I put a lot of energy into something that is likely to get used, abused and tired, it will make me mad/frustrated/annoyed if it doesn’t hold up, stay perfect and pristine.  So with something like this, I like to go with easy, plastic bins from Wal-Mart.

I think this thing cost about $17.  I may get another when Jack gets more into art, but right now I’m lucky if I can keep up with the sticker trail he leaves all over our house.  He has one coloring book right now.  That’s all he needs.

What I like about this thing is it can only hold so much, so every once in a while I go through and downsize to prevent further insanity.

I started with simple labels on the drawers.  From top to bottom they read:

  • All done!
  • Not done & Blank Paper
  • Coloring Books & Stickers
  • Art Supplies
  • Activity Books

The labels however, did not stick to the plastic bins- they kept curling up.  So I sliced up a scrap of paper and stuck them to the paper.  Then I used some adhesive squares to stick them to the drawers, and now they stay nice and flat.

The art supply drawer is great:

The kids can pull out a tub (Target $1 section- they always have these) of crayons or markers, take them to the table, and then put them away easily (in theory).  Or, in reality, when it’s time for dinner, it doesn’t take me forever to get their crap out of the way. 😉

I’m sure there are cuter ways to do this- if you have one, please do show me.  If I see something too cute to resist I may do something different, but for now, plastic bins rule this particular roost.

 

 

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Operation Organization: Front Hall Closet, part 1

Posted by on Nov 17, 2011 | 1 comment

*Note:  I’ve decided to make this a series since I have lots of organizing to do.  I’m a bit type A in this area, so I will hopefully have some good stuff to share with you as I strive towards knowing where all of my crap is .

 

A long time ago I posted about our hallway closet.  I love that closet.  The rest of our closets, however, have been on the back burner.  Back at the beginning of this year my husband and I bought Elfa shelving from The Container Store during their huge Elfa sale.  If you live near a Container Store you should check out that sale- it’s rad.  The shelving we bought, however, has been sitting, waiting to be installed.  Now that things have calmed down on the baby front we are ready to dive back into some house projects, and this is one of them.  We also did not paint this closet upon move-in at this house, mainly because we had nearly 2,000 square feet of house to paint, and this closet was low on the totem pole of paint.

It’s in a tricky spot, right by our front door, and it doesn’t have a light inside it, so these shots will not be the best photos.

I emptied it out, and here’s what it looks like empty.

I can’t believe I’m showing you this, but here’s a corner up close, so you can see all the cobwebs, dust and faded paint.

When I demoed (sp?) the existing shelving it was really more difficult than I thought it would be.  I had to pry the shelf supports off and they had the longest nails I’ve ever seen.  And the dividing board that separated the hanging garments from the rest- it was like moving a mountain.  Okay, not a mountain.  But it was hard. What I was left with was lots of holes in the drywall.  Lots.  That top “oops” and left-pointing arrow are pointing to a hole I didn’t get on my camera, but my husband had to patch it by sawing out some of the existing dry wall and replacing it with new stuff.  Neat.  Oops.

And here’s where we are today:  ready for installation.  I’m waiting for Emily to go to sleep so I can put in the shelving.

The only challenge we have once finished is what to do with this crack in the flooring and baseboard where the previous closet set up was.  I’m thinking a rug?  Not sure…  This flooring will get replaced eventually, so we’re not patching it up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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More Mod Podge Projects

Posted by on Jun 21, 2011 | 9 comments

This post is going to make me look like a Mod Podge addict, which I very well may be.  But in actuality, I did these projects randomly over the last six months, and I’m slopping them all together into one post because they all work in relatively the same way.  I love how a little bit of fun paper can add a pop of color and make things so much nicer to look at.

Project #1:  Bathroom stool

Anna uses this stool from Target to make it easier to sit on the potty (I just tried to find it on their website and the only color that shows is blue, and it’s out of stock- sorry!).  The only thing I didn’t like about it was that it was all-white, and it got dirty from her little feet so easily.  So, I just traced the top on some 12×12 scrapbook paper that I liked, and found a complimentary page in another pattern for the sides, and presto:  new look.

Project #2:  Ikea Stool

Similarly, we use this step stool from Ikea often and all over the house- in the kitchen, in the laundry room.  It actually now sits in the front hallway most often, but since I’ve Mod Podged it I don’t feel so bad because it’s kind of cute now.

Project #3:  Tubs in the Laundry Room

Lastly, you may have seen my post, Operation Organization, where I Mod Podged a bunch of tubs to help organize our hall closet.  We still plan on adding more tubs to that closet, but in the meantime, our laundry room was out of control.  I’m sorry to say I don’t have a “before” picture, but the two shelves over our washer & dryer were just covered with all of our dangerous chemicals, cleaners and such.  It’s the only place in the house I’m okay with having heavy chemicals because the kids can’t reach anything up there. So I headed to Ikea to get more of the big tubs and set this up.  It’s helped so much- we can grab what we want easily and it forces us to limit what goes up there.  There are a few things in the middle that are too big for the tubs, but that’s okay.   Still looks a LOT better.

The process for all of these was the same:  layer on Mod Podge.  Add paper.  Let dry.  Mod Podge the top.  Let dry.  Done!  I did use a brayer for both of the stools- I love the brayer!  If you have questions about any of these shoot me an email!  Also, I have noticed that the tubs in the laundry room are rippling a little bit- I imagine because it’s rather humid in our laundry room when the washer & dryer are going, but it’s not horrible.

I’m linking up to Today’s Creative Blog!

I’m so happy that Briana from Sweat Peas and Bumble Bees also asked me to link up to her party, What I Made Wednesday.  Thanks, Briana!

Lastly, I’m linking up to Fingerprints on the Fridge’s “Feature Yourself Friday”!

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Health Record (Freebie!)

Posted by on Jun 15, 2011 | 1 comment

This project is not rocket science.  Nor is it the coolest invention ever- but I haven’t seen anything like it, so hopefully it’s helpful.  It’s been bouncing around in my head for quite a while now.  It came about when my son, Jack, started having chronic ear infections.  At one point I took him to a Minute Clinic and the nurse asked me, “How many ear infections has he had in the last six months?” I had no idea.  I sheepishly said, “Well, it just seems like he’s been sick all the time since… since….”  but I couldn’t tell her when.  It wasn’t until I got home and started talking through the timeline with my husband that we could put a finger on when it started.

This was when I realized:  I need a health record for the kids.  I’ve seen them in old-fashioned baby books, but I’m not the kind of person that can remember once I get home to log everything into the baby book.  I also know there are some phone apps out there that will keep track of your health, your family’s health, etc…  But in this case I want something I can write on, something I can show someone else.

After not finding anything online that fit the bill, I decided to give it a try on my own.  I knew I wanted it to be small, and decided that something the same size as the kids’ immunization records would be nice.  I keep those in my purse at all times so that I don’t forget them when we go to the doctor.  I knew I wanted to keep track of when they were sick, what they had, and what, if anything, the doctor prescribed.  This is my final product:

 

I got the little nurse and doctor graphics online from the Mircosoft Word website.  This is not the craftiest thing, but I’m just as practical as I am crafty.   Here’s the inside:

And here you can see that they are just slightly larger than the immunization records we have.

And here’s my favorite part:  you can download pdfs of the cover and the inside and print them yourself!  All you need is some cardstock, a paper cutter, a small hole punch, and something to hold it all together- I used plain brads, but may replace them with something cuter if I find it.  Here’s my only request: please leave a comment if you download, and if you are a blogger, show me some linky-love, too. :-)

You should be able to click on each of these links (two total) and download the pdfs.  You will end up with four covers- if you have extras give them to a mommy friend or as a baby shower gift- I wish I had thought of this when Anna was a baby….

 

Health record cover

health record inside

Once you print, just slice and dice your pages in half twice, punch a hole in the corner and secure with something- voila!

Update:  I’m linking up to “Serenity Now’s” Weekend Bloggy Reading.  If I don’t go into labor in the next 24 hours, I will be reading up on all of her links, too.  Thanks, Amanda!

 

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