Work Home and Family - Getting It All Done

The question I get asked all the time when people find out what we have on our 'plate' at our house, is "How on earth do you get it all done?"

The short answer is, I don't.  Not by a long shot.

Yes, the kids help and they love to help and they're getting to the point now where they can be a pretty darn good help. 

Yes, John helps a lot too - and I really don't know what I'd do if he didn't. 

The piles of clutter (behind Buddy there in the picture) are finally gone. But it was a long, long process - over a year to be exact.  And we're still finding hidey-holes of clutter and have to keep on top of it to not have stacks of random homeless items end up all over the house. Our bedroom and the guest room seem to be the magnets for those two things - the guest room since we don't use it all the time and our room because the kids don't go in there.  We're a work in progress and we know that.  And we'll keep working on it.

Some things I've learned about "Getting It All Done" over the last couple of years:

* Have a plan.  Then work the plan.  Not having a plan is bad.  Not working the plan doesn't work either. And plan ahead.  Not just for right now or today, but this week and any upcoming big events too.

* What are your priorities?  For us in terms of housework it's food, clothing, and clean flat spaces - tables and beds mostly.  After that we like to have space to keep things like the bathroom and the sheets clean and the house picked up.  Then it's cleaning the rest of the house.  Outside it's the basics - mowing and shoveling, everything else is gravy - and I do like my flowers so there's lots of "gravy". :)   In any case, we know what can slide and what can't in terms of chores.  This applies to work and school too.  For all of us.

* Give everyone something to do.  The kids have assigned chores - right now Buddy washes the dishes (with John) and Missy sweeps.  I wash and fold the laundry, Buddy shorts and Missy and Buddy are responsible for putting away their own clothes.  The kids set the table and help John or I with dinner prep, which we rotate depending on the day.  I do the ironing. John handles trash, recycling, mowing, weed whipping and snow shoveling. My list could go on, but you get the idea. There's no surprises.  Same said for schoolwork and time to do it.

* Have a back up plan.  And have a backup plan for the backup plan.  Unexpected events, a later evening or unexpected sicknesses can wreak chaos with the most organized plan.  Easy backup meals, extra toiletries, extra school and work uniforms and the like can make life a lot less stressful.

* Give yourself grace.  This is the one that I struggle with the most along with a lot of "shoulds" - self imposed "shoulds" of course.  I'm working to realize that in this season of life at our house there are things that just aren't going to happen - a large vegetable garden for instance. I'm so grateful that we have a wonderful Farmer's Market and a CSA that we can get our produce from very inexpensively in that regard.  There are many, many other things too, but that's just an example. 

What are some things you've learned about "getting it all done"?  I'd love to hear!


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