Its hard to believe that 2014 is done and dusted!
While the tree is pending imminent deconstruction and the house is still recovering from the wake of our Christmas celebrations, I personally enjoyed saying bon voyage to 2014 and a big freakin’ howdy-doody to 2015!
2014 was a roller coaster ride for me with travelling overseas, changing jobs and the passing of my mum, I am looking forward to a (hopefully) calmer and more focused new year.
I spend a little bit of time (ok, most of my free time – ok fine, any chance I get!!!!) checking blog readers, Instagram feeds, email updates and my personal favourite Pinterest. This week has been a bombardment of – Top 10 items to clean in your home, How to declutter to start the year fresh, or Top 3 must have resolutions for 2015. All great things to do but for me, I ALWAYS fall short at the doing part! I can create lists until the cows come home but in order for me to have a more focused year, I need to find ways to get the action happening as well as the planning! So I am spending my new years working on creating new systems that will, in turn, create new habits that I will carry through the year. My husband likes to remind me that it only takes 2 weeks to make new habits. So precious – challenge accepted.
In 2014, I felt like I really got a handle on regular housework thanks to some of the systems mentioned in my previous post How to fake being a domestic goddess. So this year I’ll will be focusing on:
1. A paperwork system that works!
This year is my son’s first year at school. While its only pre-prep – doing a 5 day fortnight, I am already predicting the onslaught of recycling collections, birthday party invitations and parent teacher interviews. So it’s absolutely crucial that I have a way to stay on top of forms that need to go back to school, or making sure I have a present for said parties! In my first office job we had a system called “diarising’, using a monthly filing system to store any work or forms or invites etc that need attention and actioning during that month. Whether it’s sending back a form, a birthday card or reminding you of a house inspection. Invites would be put in at the RSVP dates, work that needed to be addressed on a certain day would be added to that day and so on. And every day, like clock work it would be pulled out and appear in in-trays- magic!
I set one up for my own home use at the beginning of last year and I must admit, it has not been working for me. Why? Because I can never remember to actually check it. It sat, waiting in anticipation on my desk, in the study that I would rarely go into in the morning before rushing out the door. I didn’t developed the habit of checking it. Fail 😦 So for 2015, I am going to attempt to kick re-start this system by setting a daily reminder (the night before) to check it! Rather than leave it to my little brain friend to remember during the busiest part of my day!
How to create a monthly diarising system: I use a simple ring binder with numbered tabs for the days of the month. I put the items in the day I need to address them, as soon as I receive them. So if it is, for example, my house inspection notice – I put it in 2 days before so I have time to clean! Or an invite for a birthday party – it goes in on the RSVP date, then once it comes out on that day, I return in back to the day the party is on. I will also make note in my diary to buy a present on my next shopping trip.
I also have a separate folder with the months of the year to put items in their appropriate months. At the start of each month, I transfer to the daily folder.
2. Meal planning MONTHLY.
Weeks always go better when we have planned our meals and shopped accordingly. With school lunches now being added to the night before routine, meal planning is going to be critical for us this year! While each week starts with good intention, we just can’t seem to make it an ongoing habit. Four times a month is a big ask for me, so to rectify, I am going to do each month in advance! This is the plan of attack:
– Use a easily updated monthly calendar – like a whiteboard or I like to use picture frames so I can print out a pretty calendar, frame it and use I whiteboard marker to fill out the menu each month.
– At the end of each month – check your diary for dinner dates, birthdays or any other days you wont need to cook and add those to your calendar.
– Then add your take out or take the family out nights – this might be once a week, once a fortnight or once a month – simply add as frequently as you get take out or go out.
– Pick a night each week or fortnight for a new recipe to keep it fresh – I know I have a few “pinned” that I can source from. It would be a good idea to plan to do this on a night when you know you will have time that day to prepare if necessary.
– Have a file of tried and tested meals you know everyone will eat and do a random draw to fill in the gaps!
Simples! Whack it on the fridge or somewhere you can see each morning or even the night before (so you can defrost any meat needed), add the items you need to your weekly grocery list and the hard work is done! (Do an online shop and have everything delivered to your door to take one more headache of the week!!
Its always a load off my mind when I know exactly what we are doing for dinner and that everything is ready to roll!
3. Be present – enjoy the moments
This one is a bit of a different vein but one I am going to really focus on this year – being present, in every moment, of every day. Sounds like a simple enough concept but a hard one to grasp when you are being torn between the list of things you need to do, the list of things you would like to do and the list of things everyone else wants you to do.
Losing mum this year has really challenged how I look at life and how easy it is to get stuck in the daily grind. I am blessed to be able to have a great balance between a job that I love and spending time at home with my children while they are young. But being the right brained, creative thinker I am – I think. About everything – work, home, future, projects, ideas. I internalise and feel like I spend a lot of time by myself, in my brain. I know, sounds nut balls but thats what it is. I know thats who I am so I wouldn’t change that but I am going to try and consciously stop thinking (is that an oxymoron?). Turn the brain off (for the most part) and enjoy my kids – laugh with them, play with them, hug them. When mum died I remember thinking, that went quickly. 30 years went quickly. I can only imagine how she must have felt. We never want good things to be over but eventually they will be – so enjoy everything. Be present!
Whatever 2015 holds for you – I hope that is it amazing and you make some new habits that help you enjoy every moment of it!