This morning, sitting on my newly dusted (and polished!) leather sofa while the baby was having his (all too short) morning nap, magazine in one hand and cup of coffee in the other, I came across an article promoting Joanna Gosling's new book, Simply Wonderwoman: A survival guide for women with too much to do. I never bypass a self-help feature in a magazine, and this one I read with particular interest.
The article listed 10 tips for managing your time more efficiently to ensure you lead a happy and clutter-free organised life. Some were things that will never happen in this household (waking up an hour early to do chores - yeah right) or are too hard to implement due to circumstances (sharing childcare). A couple were things that aren't an issue for us (keeping your keys in a set place so as never to lose them). But there were also a couple of useful and relevant tips that I'm planning to try out. These are:
Do things straight away If you need to make a call, send a letter or email, or arrange something, do it at once. Then you can forget about it. When you know you've got to do something and never quite get round to it, it becomes a hassle. So next time something demands your attention, ignore your procrastinating inner voice and do it. Job done!
This is, without a doubt, a sensible tip. I have tried it with some success in the past, I just need to keep remembering that it's important to do.things.straight.away (note to self: cut out article, highlight appropriate text and stick on fridge door; read daily).
Keep track of paperwork You need three boxes for this: one for receipts, one for things that need to be filed and one for things that need to be dealt with. When letters come in don't pile them high on top of several months' worth of magazines, bills and other letters, just stick them in the correct boxes. Set aside 20 minutes one morning a week to go through the boxes and deal with them. If you do little and often, it won't pile up and overwhelm you.
Now this is one I've never tried before. Considering this is what my hallway table (the one where all the post gets dumped) looks like at the moment, I guess you could say that keeping track of paperwork should be considered a priority.
I'll tell you what, if this tip works, I may even buy the book. Stay tuned.
Once upon the time, when I was gainfully employed outside the home and hadn't yet had kids, I used to think that working part-time from home while looking after a baby would be a doddle. Having now done it for four months, I have come to the conclusion that it isn't, unless a) you 're Wonderwoman, or b) you have help.
Since the only Wonderwoman ability I have is creating mess out of nothing, I guess we can forget a). Having tried to do it without help, and unwilling to sacrifice my sleep or my sanity or the baby's sanity, I have reached the point of drastic measures. These include a) asking for help from whoever is within shouting distance and stands still long enough to be chained to the sink or ironing board pleaded with, and b) paying a professional for their services.
That's how my visiting mother-in-law ended up doing several hours of ironing last Sunday (thank you, Mother!) and a lovely girl called Maria spent an hour this morning ironing the hubby's workshirts (10 minutes per shirt, would you believe), followed by 3.5 hours cleaning and tidying up our home. Which, according to Maria, wasn't long enough for the standard of cleaning her company expects her to deliver, but hey, it was 3.5 hours' more TLC than our home would have had otherwise - and it really looks much better for it.
Maria will come again after Easter and then weekly to help us keep on top of things. She even mentioned cleaning the windows. I think I may be in love.