Everyone dreams of having a perfectly organized life, but realistically, that’s hard to attain for most busy families. Instead of making radical changes to get organized, try adopting a few new healthy habits that can help you feel a lot better about life.
1. Smile for a good morning. It may not seem like much, but intentionally smiling at your partner and/or children and/or pet helps set a better mood for the day.
3. Do the needful. If it takes less than five minutes to complete a task, do it right away. Open the mail on the way from the mailbox. Rinse your cup and put it in the dishwasher. Little actions like these give you time to lounge around later in the evening and enjoy some time to yourself.
4. Write it on the calendar. No one argues with the calendar. And the best part is that doesn’t have to be just appointments and chores! You can write, “Eat ice cream/nap,” and if someone complains that you’re wasting time, all you have to do is point to the calendar and watch their argument fall apart. Defend ice cream and nap time; write it on the calendar!
5. Anxious? Make a list. Some people like to do “bullet journaling,” but you don’t have to get that complicated to see benefits. The next time you are feeling anxious about things that need to get done, write them all down in a cheap notebook. Keep the notebook in the kitchen or somewhere close at hand. You may still forget to check your list, but the anxiety of holding onto the information will go away.
6. Match the set. Take a minute to pair up your plasticware with the lids before you store it in the cupboard. It seems incongruous to organization, but this habit actually reduces clutter and the frustration of finding the right lid.
7. Give everyone five. This strange little habit has saved more than one parent from a mental breakdown. It’s very simple: For five minutes after you (or anyone else) walk into the house, no one gets to ask you any questions. Little kids understand this rule quicker if you set a timer. Older kids will appreciate it. It will definitely save your sanity (until your teens start using it on you.)
8. Unpack immediately. This one isn’t easy, but it is infinitely rewarding. As soon as you get home from any vacation, while you still have the energy to move around, have everyone unpack their suitcases. Dirty clothes go to the hamper, clean clothes in your room and toothbrushes in the bathroom. Then sit down.
9. Touch base daily. Lives get busy. If you don’t have enough time to sit down and eat together, make sure you’re at least touching base each day. Simply engaging in conversation for 20 minutes has been shown to create a tighter bond between you and your child. (The trick here is to make sure you do most of the listening.)
10. Put potty words in the bathroom. This habit may not be for everyone, but if you can sustain it, you’ll find there are numerous benefits to be gained. Instead of (figuratively) washing out those inquisitive mouths with soap, send them to the bathroom to flush it out of their systems. Yes, bath time gets a little colorful, but creating a nonjudgmental place to try out all those potty words actually goes a long way toward helping kids feel safer and more accepted at home. Bonus: This will come in handy later when they’re teens.
11. Don’t forget to make your lunch, too! You already have to make lunches for the kids. What’s one more? Treat yourself with the same level of care and make sure you feed your body. And really, who doesn’t love mandarin oranges?
12. Switch it off. In the evening, put away phones, tablets and any tech with a dreaded blue light. It may be difficult to ween yourself off the technology habit, but putting the screens away before you get into bed has been shown to improve health and happiness, and help you get a good night’s rest.