I hope all of you are having a good day so far:)
As the title suggests, in this blog I will talk to you about how I stay organized and efficient, that is enough to take care of two boys under four, and one under 33 😉
I am constantly improving my organizational skills, which are becoming quite good (I think) due to several reasons. First of all, before I even had my kiddies, the nature of my job (research scientist) means that I have to stay super-organized and on top of my research, and that of other scientists in the field. Initially, all that was required was a good diary (one day per page) and a lot of planning (week in advance), to break down my experiments to smaller parts so as to manage and do several in one day. That has since evolved:)
After I got married and my eldest was born, I took some time off work mainly due to postnatal depression (didn’t realize that I had one until years later), but also due to bullying in work and my baby boy being constantly sick while attending crèche. As an outlet and to change my environment during bullying days (1st and 2nd jobs), I decided to get a second B.A.(Hons) degree (Business with Project Management). This was an opportunity for me to meet people outside of scientific circles and I absolutely loved it. I believe it was instrumental in helping me battle my depression.
I took 9 months to decide what to do with my life, whether to stay in academia or to join an industry and used that time to get a Post-graduate certificate in Biopharmaceutical science, in case I decided to go down that road. So, even though I was staying at home and minding my 2-year-old son and running the household, I was also attending college two nights a week and doing an online course (3 days a week (6 hours)).
That was the time when I understood that I had to improve my organizational habits in order to keep on top of everything. That time to my one-page-per-day diary, I added Google calendar notifications (especially for exams and tests) and a wall calendar with all of the courses and important dates highlighted.
After those 9 months, I decided to give academia a third try and I got a job in a new field, but with a lovely and understanding boss (I am still working with her). After about a year of working with her, I got pregnant and gave birth to my baby Matthew. Now that was when I had to completely re-evaluate how to stay on top of things and still get some me time and achieve personal goals as well as those of everyone else.
As a mum of two, I quickly became overwhelmed with everything that I needed to do and keep on top of, priority being taking care of boys. I realized that my methods needed to evolve, giving myself plenty of reminders (both visual and as alarms on the phone) of what needs to be done and when. I might have been a bit excessive by some standards, but to be honest, it works for me and until I find one of them not necessary, I will keep using them.
As soon as I was back in work I realized that I have changed. I started to detest clutter, and am currently trying to slowly achieve a minimalist lifestyle surrounding myself with things that I need and love, and not shopping and gathering things around me for comfort (like I used to before Matthew). So the first 3 days I spent clearing out my desk from all of the unnecessary clutter that was preventing me from focusing and knowing where everything was.
That enabled me to come up with a system that allows me to stay on top of my job (so far:)):
- I keep a To-do list for the day in my diary (three days per page (I no longer need a whole page and it was a waste paying more for the bigger diary)). My overall To-do list is stored on Trello for desktop (https://trello.com/), which is synced to my Trello app on my phone.
- My appointments are put into my Gmail calendar (for work and for equipment use) and this is synced to my phone to remind me the day before.
- I have a wall calendar to visually remind me of upcoming major events such as research meetings or conferences.
- I plan out any major presentations weeks in advance and allocated a small amount of work each day to achieve it by the due date.
- I read new research in scientific papers on the train, while I travel into work.
For my personal goals, I use Trigg Life Mapper, which I described in my earlier blog (https://babybluerascals.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/trigg-diary-helping-getting-organised/).
I use Trello app for an overall list of everything that needs to be done and the board that I created within the app is divided into to do, doing and done. So for example, I have a board dedicated to Alexei and in to do list I have things like: bring to swimming, de-clutter toys, work on listening and being gentle; on doing list I have working on being kind;; and on the done list I have: to find a new bed.
I also linked my hubby to my Trello boards, such as To do at home, shopping list, kids, and purchase of the house (we are currently in the process of buying a house). Kids board contains their timetable for days that he is minding them, and any important dates such as swimming, bath days, and other appointments). I make sure that he remembers what needs to be done by sending him a reminder message as well.
As my kiddies are minded by someone else, when both of us are working, and just to make sure that my babies are fed, I batch cook food at weekends. All anyone has to do is to reach into the freezer and defrost the food as needed.
During the evenings, especially before the days that my boys are away from the house, I make sure that their clothes are laid out and their bags are packed (toys, school bag, spare clothes, food, etc.).
For dinners, I plan out main meals on Sunday and write on a magnetic fridge calendar for my hubby to see if he is at home and not me. Also on the fridge is a list of daily tasks that I would do if I was at home ( I know I know, a bit excessive, but it is a good reminder and keeps the house running smoothly).
I (or my hubby) also try to do one wash and one tumble dry load a day as if I leave it even for a couple of days, the washing takes the whole day and boys run out of clothes. I also Hoover the living room and kitchen every day and the rest of the house every week.
In the evenings I put on a dishwasher load and wash whatever needs to be by hand. In the morning, I make sure to empty the dishwasher so as dirty dishes can be put in it straight away.
I also make sure that I have a me time every day to rewind and plan out the next day and revise everything that needs to be done.
In the mornings, if I am the one that has to drop boys off, I make sure to get up half an hour before waking them up to have time to myself and get ready for the day ahead.
I also make sure that I have a special space in our house (Dining room) to take a break if I need one. Usually, I spend it with a cup of tea or coffee and either watching an inspirational YouTube video or reading a book.
I hope you find this useful,
Hope you have a wonderful day.
P.S. The pic below was taken this morning and it perfectly summarised how I was feeling tranquil and ready for the day.