High-speed on the Hampster Wheel

What a crazy couple of weeks!!  School has started, and my work schedule has changed — just those 2 things are a lot to get used to in my schedule.  And my workload suddenly has kicked into high-gear at the office, and I can’t seem to get caught up at home!  Do you ever feel like your life has become a high-speed trek on a hamster wheel, and your footing is starting to slip??  There is a way to stay grounded during those crazy days, and gradually work yourself back to regular routines in your home.  Its  The Big 3 to the rescue!!

What is The Big 3?  They are my 3 non-negotiable tasks to be done during the day to keep on track.  We all have a list of things that we would LOVE to check off completely each day, but when life is hectic it is crucial to scale back to the basics and then baby step your way to a fuller everyday routine list.

My Morning Basics

For the morning, I have 3 things I want to be sure to complete before I take the kids to school each day.  Many days I work while they are at school, so I don’t have a chance to come back to the house and work on it.  The three tasks I have chosen are: (1) Make my bed, (2) Shine the Sink, and (3) Start my Laundry steps.  Dressing to shoes used to be one of my Big 3, but now that is a routine that is down-pat even on my craziest days, so laundry has taken its place on the list.

I tackle my bed after my morning bible reading time, when my husband has had a chance to get out of it!  This task takes 2 min. tops and just makes the whole room look cleaner.  “Shining the Sink” means that I make sure that I have dealt with the morning breakfast dishes and have unloaded the dishwasher.  After the dishes are done, I dry out the sink.  For my laundry, I choose the next necessary step on my 4-step backward laundry plan (collect dirties and sort, puataway folded clothes, fold what’s in dryer, reboot washer and dryer).  I always start by collecting any dirty laundry.  I don’t need to do all the steps or even get to actually loading the washer, I just do the next thing on my laundry list that needs to be tackled.  My Big 3 gets the biggies out-of-the-way, keeping my home on track.

3 For The Afternoon

Anytime between morning and dinner time, I can tackle my AR (afternoon routine) Big 3.  I try to (1) spend 15 min. decluttering in the house everyday, (2) Continue where I left off in the morning with my laundry steps — again, just doing the next item on my list, and then (3) starting on dinner for the family.

Decluttering daily gradually gets the chaos out of my house by creating homes for my stuff and keeping things tidy.  I try to tackle at least one shelf, one drawer, or fill one bag a day for donation or trash.

3 To End the Day

As I’ve said before, my  BBR (before bed routine) is my most important routine of the day, but it’s often one that gets left behind if you are overwhelmed and tired.  So scaling back to 3 items here on those days is critical.  Once again I include my all important task of “shining the sink” which means dealing with after dinner dishes.  Every morning starts out better when there is no mountain of dishes in the sink!  The sink is usually my biggie– once that is out-of-the-way it is simple to set my clothes out for tomorrow, and do a quick cleanup of my desk.  My desk is the command center for my home, so a nightly cleanup gets my morning off to a great start!

Back to the Basics

That’s it!  Simple and easy.  I can’t do it all, but I can do something every day to keep moving forward.  My Big 3 Lists are my home sanity savers.  If I can just keep up on those tasks, I can keep my head above water during this crazy season.  As I have time and energy, I can add in additional tasks until habits are made in my new schedule.  Keeping it simple leads to success.  This is the key to getting out of the hamster wheel and into a more balanced schedule.  Happy FLYing!