Monday, September 5, 2011

my new "system for time management"

Let's not lie here. This is something I've been working on for years now, and only very recently do I feel like I'm getting somewhere with it. Here's what I've done. 

I went to the Wal-Mart paint sample section and stole a few Better Homes and Gardens paint sample booklets. Then I went home, carefully pulled off the circular paint sample colors and stuck them to some magnets I happened to have that were the exact same size as the paint sample circles.

Then I made a few lists and assigned colors.
The orange dots are for things that need done monthly.
For example: Visiting Teaching.
The green dots are for the things that need done weekly.
For example: Cleaning the Bathrooms.
The yellow dots are for the things that need done daily.
For example: Dishes.

I've divided up the dots, without specifying days nor times -because every single time I've tried to schedule myself like that I get annoyed by the schedule and rebel against it. As I accomplish the tasks I move the dots to the opposite side of the refrigerator door, and call it good. I move the yellow dots back every morning, the green dots back on Mondays, and the orange dots over when the new month begins. I've been trying this system for about a month now and it's working really well for me. 

Three of my dots include, "clip coupons," "menu plan," and "grocery shop." These three might seem like not such a big deal, but I've decided that they are actually three of my most important tasks -which are a system in and of themselves.

First I took pen to paper and wrote down every single meal I have ever made more than once. Then I flipped through some cook books, found a few more recipes that looked simple, with basic ingredients, and added those to the list. Then I stuck that list to the side of my refrigerator door for reference.

One day a week I sit down with all the ads. I clip any coupon I might use, and organize those into my coupon binder. Then I look through the ads I have to look up, like Sunflower Market's ad. I write down all the really good deals, and then I go online and skim through more coupons. AFTER I know what and where the good deals are, I make my menu plans and shopping lists. ListS because I make a list for each store I go to. I also pull out the coupons I'll need at that store and paper clip them to the list.

This has been a serious time/ money saver for me, because before it wasn't uncommon at all for me to make four trips to the grocery store in one week, now I've been able to get it all done in one day, often to three different stores, but one day and one trip. It also means that I don't have to spend twenty minutes trying to think of something to make for dinner. Let's face it, by four o' clock my brain is tired. Now I just have to check the list, and get to work. Easy.

I've also found that my daily yellow dot of "15 Minute Scripture Study" somehow, like magic, seems to make more time in the day. A high school seminary teacher of mine told us that, and challenged us to give it a try. It worked then. It worked in college. It works now. 

There it is: How I am attempting to keep focus and balance in my life. How do you do it?


Aunt Merrilee said...

What a good idea, my only problem is I buy magnets for any new places I visit and some pictures on my fridge leave no room for an arrangement of time managament magnets. But I am glad it's working for you. I am all for anything that works!

Jessica said...

I do the ad's , coupons, and menus every week, for the last 2 and half years, I have to say - it get's easier, and won't take so long later on.

Her Royal Highness said...

I totally dig that idea! I think my kids would move them around though. Hmmm, time to think about how to tweak your system to fit me.
My friends think I'm amazing at juggling all my demands and projects. I just laugh because when I do all my demands and projects something else gets put off. It's usually something important like feeding the kids. :)

Laura@livingabigstory said...

This is a FABULOUS idea! I absolutely love its simplicity! Thanks for sharing ... now I'm excited to look around your blog :)