It’s 7:00 a.m. and you reluctantly drag yourself out of bed to start the day. But, right from the moment go, things begin to spin out of control. Your maid calls in sick. Your children inform you only in the morning that they have run out of exam stationery. There is a message on your Whatsapp reminding you of the surprise party for a friend for which you had offered to bake a cake! And, as if all these weren’t enough, you have to leave early for work to attend a prescheduled meeting. Your stomach tightens and your head feels heavy. You wish you could just crawl back into bed and the day would get over.
The above scenario is no exaggeration. For, households in which both parents work and have very young or school/college-going children will vouch for the above without batting an eyelid. So, how do some parents make it work without a hitch?
The secret to a stress-free household lies in one word – Organisation. But, being a busy parent, how can you get organised when there is so much to do? Where do you even begin? Listed below are six tips that are guaranteed to help you take control of your life.
- Stock up: Buy groceries and toiletries in bulk at the beginning of the month. Always have extras at hand to save you from last minute trips to the shop. Refill your perishables during the weekends without fail. School and project supplies can be purchased twice a year and stocked up so that children can help themselves to it, without having to bother you. Last but not the least, once you bring your shopping bags in, put the stuff away neatly in pre-designated places.
- Cut clutter: Do you really need so many pairs of shoes? How about giving away all those extra coffee mugs and just keeping one for each family member? Research has proved that one of the keys to an organised home is embracing minimalism. The less the stuff, the more the space and less the stress. Teach your children also to live with less. One rule to follow would be to give away something you own every time you bring in something new. So, remember, the lesser the number of things to organise, the easier it is.
- Teach and delegate: While you may be tempted to do everything by yourself, it is also important to teach and delegate tasks to members of your household and to your helpers. Depending on their age, children can be taught to do various chores around the house. Make sure they pitch in to do at least one household task every day. Similarly, train your helpers to work efficiently and be punctual. For days when your routine is disrupted for whatever reason, keep ready a back-up plan like getting help from your spouse and so on. Save telephone numbers of caterers who deliver home-cooked meals to call and ask for one on days when you have too much to do.
- Plan the day: Most households struggle with disorganisation as they don’t have a plan for the day. An unplanned day can be extremely stressful and daunting as you will need to flit from one task to another. Be it deciding about meals or working on tasks at the office or taking children out for extracurricular activities, make sure you plan your day the previous night. While organising your day, do not forget to fit into your plan enough extra time for those little tasks that pop up unexpectedly.
- Wake up early: Doing so, at least during the weekdays, gives you some more time to organise yourself before the day begins. Start by setting the alarm of your clock half an hour earlier than your usual wake-up time. Keep the routine for a month and advance the time again by another half hour. The benefits of a calm and an organised morning has to be experienced in order to understand the difference it can make in your day. So, get over the urge to browse Facebook or Netflix when you are lying down to fall asleep to have an early start the next day.
- Write it down: Do not trust your brain to hold it all — the birthday party, the dentist appointment, the pending tuition fees. Make a date-wise list of every task you need to do. For, keeping track of everything mentally can sap your energy. Invest in a diary or download an app on your phone that will keep track of all that you are supposed to do without fail. Keep keying in engagements as and when new ones pop up. Set reminders or alarms for the most important of them. Remember, writing it all down is the key to organisation.
While you get ready to practise the above, remember that, to stay sane and stay organised, it is also essential to pick out your priorities and say no to the rest. Happy Organising!
Anitha Bennett is a freelance author who has written books for children from preschool to preteen levels. She also conducts workshops for parents, teachers and children.
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