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Time to Be Resourceful

When I created this website I chose the name Resourceful Mommy because I fully intended the content to be useful, clever, helpful – maybe even a little enjoyable. But lately I’ve been so overwhelmed with keeping track of my own “to-do” list that I’ve been of no help to anyone else.

Today that is going to change.

Last week my husband, who is hands down the most helpful husband and father this world has ever seen (okay….so in my opinion at the very least), was out of town on business for five days. During that time I picked up the child-care slack (he’s usually in charge of bath), the daddy jobs (ewww, the trash), and managed to also keep the kids from completely falling apart emotionally from missing their daddy terribly.

What I didn’t manage to do was blog, post to other sites, or chat with my friends on Twitter.

To some those things may sound inconsequential, but to me – a fledgling freelance writer with article commitments to other sites – those “things” are huge. It meant that I wasn’t creating new content for my followers, I wasn’t driving readers to my site, I wasn’t providing content to other sites, and I wasn’t helping out my friends who, by the way, also weren’t given the opportunity to help me either.

It was clearly time to be Resourceful again!

1. Create an Appropriate Work Space
When my husband arrived home at the end of the week I was ready with a plan. I needed to move beyond the family organizational tricks I have been using for some time and actually put some time and effort into managing my writing clutter. Hubby was on board – until I told him that step one was to completely transform our guest room.

For our seventh wedding anniversary last August, my sweet husband bought me a laptop and a wireless router (I told you he was the best). It was not only a vote of confidence in his wife’s writing career, but it was also an attempt to move me from my office/guest room to wherever he happened to be in the evening. While that’s wonderful in the evenings when we’re hanging out on the bed watching television together, that’s not the best idea for during the day when the kiddos are napping and I’m supposed to be working. Not only is a bed just about the worst place to sit when you’re hoping to find some late day motivation after chasing two preschoolers around all morning, but no one wants their bedroom to be cluttered with sticky notes and hard copies of e-mails.

The desk in the guest room seemed to be the logical place to finally get my ducks in a row, but I was stymied by the metallic silver wallpaper, purple calilily chair rail border, and the pinky peach ceiling left by our home’s previous owner. So what was the only natural solution to my dilemma? Hand the kids over to the husband and lock myself in the room for the entire weekend until the room had been completely transformed. With peaceful sage walls and a creamy white ceiling reflecting the light from the double wide window, I finally had the soft palette surrounding me that would help me clear my mind and write. The final touch – framed cork board to keep track of deadlines and two mini white boards to jot down quick things to remember as I’m faced with daily information overload.

2. Move Beyond the Strike Through

Over the course of the last month, I moved from being responsible only to my own website to being accountable to two other sites on a weekly basis. A to-do list with a series of strike-throughs no longer served my task management needs. I needed a way to display visually that a weekly task had been completed while still keeping that task on my to-do list for the next week. What I created was a very basic yet incredibly useful system of placing a red check mark next to the assignment once the obligation had been met. Come Sunday evening when the work week begins again, I simply remove every red check mark and am left with an organized chore list, free of scribbles and lines.

3. Put the Task in Your Line of Sight

Cork board, thumb tacks, and to-do lists on desks are wonderfully helpful, but for those last minute out the door (and often out of your mind) reminders, you’ve got to place the note directly in your line of vision. These tasks are very rarely related to my work, but more often apply to pre-school or other kid associated duties. When “being a mom” was the totality of my job description, it was far easier to remember everything associated with that job. As more layers have been added to my life, remembering to make and take homemade play-dough has fallen down a couple of notches on my radar. That’s why this year I’ve put a magnet clip on my door. If I need to remember to take six apples to the Hummingbirds class, I place a reminder right where my eyes will look on my way out the door. The entryway table is overlooked, the hallway bench forlorn – but that spot on the door right about the five foot range catches me every time.

4. Never Lose Your Keys/MP3/Checkbook/Cell Phone/Pacifier Again

Clearly not every item that you need to monitor can be stuck to cork board with a pushpin or hung from your front door by a cute, pink magnet. But keeping track of the things that keep you on track – and on time – are just as important as remembering to submit your article on time. Find a location – perhaps by the front door – and a system that works for you, and then stick to it. If you choose a hook for keys, use it each and every time you walk in the door. If your husband is scrambling each morning to find his wallet, make sure he puts it in the same catchall each evening. There is nothing better than finally getting shoes on each and every kid and being able to reach for your sunglasses to find them exactly where you left them.

5. Use an Erasable Calendar to Save the Earth and Your Family’s Social Life

I keep a master paper calendar in a little book to be able to keep track of doctor’s appointments for all four members of my family, social outings from playgroups for toddler to pick-up b-ball for Dad, and writing “to-do”‘s for me, just to name a few items. But nothing has been better for helping my husband and I both make the family’s agenda a top priority than our erasable white board calendar. Every month we simply erase and start again, and with it’s kitchen wall location, we never forget to check the calendar to see what is coming up in the week ahead. By removing our work obligations, we’ve cut down on visual clutter……somewhat. Those kids sure do an awful lot for preschoolers!

Now hurry up, bookmark this page before you lose track of it. Happy organizing.
Coming Up Next: I Won Something and It’s Really Made Me Happy & A Virtual Assistant That You’ll Literally Want to Meet…

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