Organization and Planning: My Routine [Printables]

Wellness mama daily schedule organization Organization and Planning: My Routine [Printables]

[Note: My printable organization/planning checklists are at the bottom of the post..]

I was hesitant to use the word “organization” in the title because this is one of my weakest areas. I get emails from readers asking how I make time for family, homeschooling, cloth diapering, projects and blogging, so I wanted to share the tips and tricks I’ve found.

I am by no means an organizing/cleaning guru… and my husband would be the first to attest that I have room for improvement in this area. Currently, there are toys on my floor and dishes in my sink, but my kids are playing happily and dinner is in the oven.

During an average week, I do 5-8 loads of laundry, cook three meals from scratch each day, attempt to keep the house clean, homeschool the kids, nurse the baby 8-10 times a day, and try to keep up with this blog. (and try to go to bed before 10 p.m… yeah right)

Besides the obvious fact that I’m probably crazy, I’ve found that I have to focus on organization and routine to be able to keep up with it all and that I also have to accept less than perfection (*ahem* my house right now) in different areas while focusing on the more important ones.

What Started It All…

When I only had one child, I was able to keep our 1 bedroom apartment clean and cook a hot dinner before my husband got home and even managed to brush my hair and do make-up most days.

Once one child turned into two, then three, then four, it seemed like there was such a volume of work to do that I couldn’t make time to do it all.

I felt like I was constantly mentally overwhelmed with the idea of everything that needed to be done.

A friend suggested that I read a book that had helped her, A Mother’s Rule of Life, and it literally changed how I ran the household and reduced my stress load almost instantly. (Note: It is written from a Catholic perspective but is universally helpful to all moms!)

The basic idea was just that you have a routine and plan for when every job needed to get done and how it would be done. This relieved the mental energy of worrying about when you would vacuum the floor or change the air filter.

Also, rather than scheduling everyone in the family to always be doing the same activities (which I was doing) it had scheduled activities for each child (school, play, chores, etc.) so the children could get used to doing these things and knowing when they needed to do things. It eliminated the “I’m bored” because they knew when I would play with them, when school would happen, when they were responsible for picking up and cleaning, etc.

What I do…

I created a rough daily outline of our day, so at any given time, I know what we should be focused on. Since my responsibilities change so much day to day, I outlined the activities I had to get done each day and scheduled time for the things that would come up each day (online orders, vet visits, playdates, etc.).

I also assigned major “chores” to each day of the week so that laundry was two days a week, cleaning bathrooms was one day a week, full mopping of the house was one day a week, etc. This let me not stress about the clothes in the laundry basket or the spot on the floor because I knew it would be cleaned soon.

I have scheduled times for meal planning, catching up on emails, reading to the kids and even relaxing (yes, I schedule time to relax…)

I also created checklists of all the things necessary to thoroughly clean each room and put them on paper (sweeping, dusting, picking things up, folding, etc.). This way, when I tell one of the kids to clean a room, they can reference all the things they need to do and not just pick up the floor and call it done. (I drew pictures for each item for the little kids).

We do school in the mornings after breakfast and I work and do blog related stuff during their nap/quiet time. After dinner as a family, we clean up, bathe the kids, read books, say prayers, and the kids are in bed by 8.

After the kids are in bed, I finish up work stuff and spend time with my husband.

For everything that is on the schedule, we aren’t at the age of sports and extracurriculars yet, which helps open up the schedule, and while we have a TV, we can’t even get cable in our area, so we don’t watch it.

I’m a long way from perfect at managing it all, but I’ve found that the system at least helps me keep up with it without being stressed all the time.

My “Football”

To keep all the schedule, planning, meal plans, etc. organized, I have a 2-inch binder that is my “football.” Just like the President supposedly has a case with all the top security information (the football) with him at all times, this binder has all of my important information and is basically my home management encyclopedia.

In it, I have:

  • My daily outline of the rough times that I’ve scheduled for everything to happen that day. This is in a plastic sheet as it is pretty static.
  • My daily “Most important tasks” of my top three things that must get done that day, what I’m cooking for dinner, what my workout is, how much water I’ve drank, etc. This changes daily.
  • Weekly Routine: The jobs that I do each day and when they are doing during the day. Laundry, mopping, deep cleaning rooms, cleaning windows, etc.
  • Monthly Jobs: This lists has jobs that happen each month repeatedly, along with jobs that only happen during a certain month (changing of the kids wardrobes, planning the garden, outdoor work, etc.)
  • Meal Plan: Changes weekly but is planned ahead of time so I can shop for the week all at once and pre-prepare some items.
  • Room Cleaning Checklists for each room in the house
  • Daily Chores Sheet for each person in the house so that when it says “Morning Chores” on my daily outline, everyone knows what he/she should  be doing.

I highly recommend the book as she walks you through the planning and organization much better than I have. If i would be helpful to you, I’ve attached my printables that I use for organization. Included are: Daily Outline Sheet, Daily Chores Sheet, Weekly Routine Sheet, Monthly Routine Sheet, Meal Plan Sheet, and Room Cleaning Sheet, along with my daily “To-Do list” Sheet.

Click Here to Download the Organization/Planning Printables

If these are helpful to you, please share via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest so that others can use them too!

How do you do it all? What are your best planning and organization tips and tricks? Please share, I need all the help I can get! icon smile Organization and Planning: My Routine [Printables]

Reader Comments

  1. says

    Thank you for this. I do FlyLady, but it hasn’t extended to my studies or my blog yet, I’m afraid. I love the idea of separating the top three priorities from the rest of the to-do-list! I really have to get started on using sheets like this!

  2. Erin says

    Kate
    I have a variety of posts on organisation, http://sevenlittleaustralians.blogspot.com.au/search/label/Organisation
    with 5 darlings of your own I’m sure you understand my need, actually it was when I had 5 kids I knew it was time to get organised or drown.  Can’t believe years later and now 9 kids I actually can write about organisation!  still it happened I learnt a little along the way, hard earned indeed.  
    thinking you may particularly like ‘large family logistics’
    http://sevenlittleaustralians.blogspot.com.au/2011/01/large-family-logistical-tips.html

    a fav tip there was to designate a different colour towel for each family member, buy two of each and so simple. 
    when you children are older you may like our washing plan
    http://sevenlittleaustralians.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/soap-suds-and-pegs.html

    each child has their washing day, and every child over the age of ten does their own.  with 15 loads plus /week something had to be done.
    Then again I also talk about how I only shop at the supermarket once a month, have done so for years now, save time and money.  also shop in the early hours or after dinner at night.  

  3. guest says

    WOW, thanks for sharing this!  I was just wondering recently how you managed to “do it all” and live the lifestyle that you do.  You are truly an inspiration :-)

  4. guest says

    WOW, thanks for sharing this!  I was just wondering recently how you managed to “do it all” and live the lifestyle that you do.  You are truly an inspiration :-)

  5. jacey says

    I’d be interested to know what “chores” you have your young kids do. There is only so much a little person can do….empty dishwasher, make bed, brush teeth, pick up up toys, get dressed. Do you have them clean?

  6. Wendy & Chris McClure says

    Thank you for these printables! I’m in the process of revamping my notebook and these will help immensely. Do you make all of your own forms? I would love any others you might have… :o) I would even be willing to pay; I’m just that compulsive about the way my notebook looks. Fonts have to match, etc. LOL

  7. says

    I’m working on tweaking my routine right now so this is very timely! I used to grocery shop every week (meaning a trip to Costco, Fred Meyer, the butcher and the farm for milk and eggs every. single. Saturday.) but am trying to get on a schedule of going every two weeks (pay days). I think this one change is going to free up so much time! And isn’t that what organization is really all about?

  8. 4Mama4 says

    Hooray!  There are others like me!  I just read a Mother’s Rule to Life (before I really read your website)…I feel like this is a signal grace!  I’m a mommy to 4 also…ages 8, 6, 3 and 8 months.  Thank you!  You are helping me organize my life!

  9. AmyA says

     These forms are an awesome resource!   I am chronically disorganized. I have 4 kids, 3 of whom are school age and go to three different schools, and I work part time.  I feel like I can never find the time to get anything done! Most days, I’m just grateful that I managed to get dinner on the table.  Our weekends are chore filled, trying to catch up on laundry, household cleaning, etc.

    Going to try your method for sure. Thanks!

  10. says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is exactly what I need…Once children numbers 3 & 4 came along it all just got really hard, add to that husband who grew up in South Africa with servants!! and you have chaos.  He is darling and very well meaning….but leaves stuff everywhere. I love the idea of a list for each room for kids to use :)

  11. Ella says

    Thank you for these! Brilliant! I can so relate to that one child = clean one bedroom apartment, hot meal, mama looking good too … and we only have 2 actual babies, but we now have a whole house, 2 cats & 3 chickens in the mix as well – it sure does make the work load seem unbearable. I think your check list will come in handy. Now to pry my tush from the warm comfy sofa.

  12. valeri blossom says

    this is entirely fabulous! i’ve been trying to come up with my own system (or using a combination of several journals and two datebooks) to keep myself motivated to organize my daily schedule/rhythm. this year i’ve been better than all my previous years alive, but 2014 is going to be even more efficient. thanks for offering these printables! the fly lady stuff never resonated and while i took what was meaningful, i largely ignored the daily emails and rarely visited the website. i recently paid a lot of money for a business/life/inspirational coaching type package and again, just not resonating. the value is there, in some respect, but i won’t renew because i’m simply not getting much out of it but i must say, your site is going to be like my holy grail – the first thing i read in the morning and the last thing i read at night. right place, right time. not only does it all resonate, it’s all stuff i’m already implementing but you’ve paved the way and i am immensely grateful <3

  13. Jennifer says

    Katie, do you mind if I ask if you’re Catholic? I’ve been a follower of your blog for a while now and I love it… I’ve implemented so many of your tips and I somehow had a sneaking suspicion that you’re Catholic. I am too! My fiance and I are preparing for marriage and hope to have a large family someday (God willing) – so I’m pinning tons of your blog posts to prepare! Thanks for all of your hard work!

  14. Trinity says

    Hi Katie!

    This looks AWESOME! I can’t find the attachment/link for the printables though. Where’d it go? Thank you :)

  15. Janet says

    Hi Erin, thanks for the great info. I don’t see where to get the printables though. It’s not showing up where you say to click.

  16. Karsin says

    It’s awesome to see health as a priority in a daily routine. You need to manage yourself to tackle the rest of it!!!

  17. Loti says

    Katie
    Thanks for sharing your recipes, information, knowledge etc etc etc…..seems I learn something new every time I’m on your website. Thanks again.
    One thing….I can’t seem to get the link to your organizational and planning printable to work.

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