By Rosemary Marchese
Physiotherapist and mum of 3 fit kids
7 organising tips for busy people
Busy doesn’t have to mean frantic. Busy is a word that is often used to make people feel stressed out. I like to think of busy as just being occupied. You are busy when you are asleep too! You just have to be organised to avoid that ‘stressed out’ feeling. Plus you need to set limits with your time. Here are 7 simple tips to help keep your busy life organised.
Habits of organised people
1. Use a calendar
Sort yourself out with an online calendar that uses the cloud and syncs to your phone and other gadgets. Now, use it well! Schedule in EVERYTHING, even time to buy birthday presents. If you are sticking to writing things down then make sure you have enough room. A pocket diary is probably not going to be big enough!
2. Sit down and plan once per week
It’s worth the time to allow 30 minutes to plan. Sit down once per week and look at the week ahead. Allocate chunks of time to get things done rather than making huge ‘to-do’ lists. For example, I allow 2-3 hours once per week to get some errands done. This may include things like a doctor’s appointment, paying bills or buying birthday gifts. This should also include your work schedule. I recommend using calendar for everything. You can colour code to help organise it all. I use an online calendar where I can have sub-categories for work and personal life.
3. Meal prep!
In your planning time, plan your weekly meals. Then set your grocery list and have your groceries delivered or schedule your shopping day. I like to have groceries delivered on Friday so that I can start meal prep on Saturday or Sunday! During meal prep time I may make a meal or two and freeze it and chop some vegetables in advance. My book ‘The Fit Busy Mum: Seven habits for success’ digs a little deeper into some meal prep tips.
4. Get into a routine.
Have set days and times you like to get things done. For example if you like to wash sheets once per week then pick your day and try to stick to it. That takes the thinking out of it. You may like to wash sheets on Wednesday, clean the house and order groceries online (for Friday delivery) on Thursday, run errands Friday and do some meal prep on Saturday. Kids’ school lunches might be made after dinner. Lay out your clothes for exercise and the rest of the day ahead the night before. Daily exercise should also be a part of your routine. Set time for this. All these routines are habits. Healthy life habits. This takes the thinking out of it and stops you from being drained by constant decision making. Making decisions all the time zaps energy.
5. Share the load
They say it takes a village to raise a child but it definitely takes one to support a family too. Find your network of support. Who can you call in an emergency to help you out? Can you car pool with another family? This can be a great strategy at work too. Do you need to be doing everything? Are you taking on too much?
6. Rise and shine
Getting up early is a great way to start the day. I recommend waking before your children (unless you have a baby that has been up all night!) when you can. This way you get some time for yourself. You start the day on your terms, not someone else’s. If you have an early commute to work then you may need to re-think when you exercise. You could do 10 minutes before work, 20 minutes at lunch time and perhaps a light walk from the bus stop home. It’s all about being creative with your time.
7. Recognise your limits
Organised people know their limits. Say no when the calendar doesn’t fit something else in. Don’t explode the calendar either – leave some ‘breathing space’ for unexpected circumstances. Have a meal routine for very busy weeks. This could be some extra meal prep done on the weekend before so you have extra frozen meals. It could also mean that you resort to a week of ‘simple’ meals to get you by. There’s nothing wrong with simple pastas, steak and vegetables and making the most of leftovers! Just try to keep it healthy by making sure your options are packed with lots of healthy food.