Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Organization: Never Put off 'Til Tomorrow What You Can Do Today

Don't you just love all the old adages?

Another way to say this is that organized people are always thinking ahead, and doing ahead as much as possible. Or, another way, don't procrastinate.

It's very easy to think that, "Oh, I'll have time to do that tomorrow." And of course, it is impossible to do everything every day. What I'm talking about are things we know we need to do. Think of it this way: there are usually two kinds of college students. One, when given a paper to write due in two months, will start reading and researching that week, will have the rough draft done in a month, and spend the final month refining. The other will put it off, thinking, "Oh, I've got two whole months. I'll get to it later." Inevitably, those are the people pulling all-nighters for two days before it is due, desperately trying to get something written.

As housewives and mothers, we constantly have work to do. And it is not only hard work, but it is never ending work. So it is "easy" to take the easy way out. It is easier to throw something in a closet than it is to put it up properly. But pretty soon, the closet is a mess, and takes a whole afternoon to clean out and organize.

The longer I've been a mom and the more kids I have, the more ways I try to find to keep things running smoothly by working ahead of the need. In the evenings I have a list (in my head) that I go through to make sure I am ready for the next day: I set out juice to thaw, mix up as much of breakfast as I can, set out Kelly's bread ready to make into sandwiches, fill up water bottles, pick out Lauryn's clothes, etc. On Saturday evenings, I help girls pick clothes, noting if they need to be ironed, tights, shoes, even hair bows. These things make our mornings run so much more smoothly just because I did a little work ahead of time.

I'm sure you can think of others. Before my kids became the main transporter of laundry, I gathered up the day's laundry the night before and put it in the laundry room, sometimes even in the washing machine. I'd put in soap then clothes, so that all I had to do the next morning when I stumbled downstairs was start the machine. If I know we are going somewhere, I try to have as much of the stuff we need gathered and ready ahead of time. If I'm really on the ball, I try to make food ahead of when I'll need it and freeze it.

Anyway, I think you get the point: procrastination and organization usually do not coexist happily. That is, unless you make enough money to pay someone to be organized for you.

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