Simplifying life with routine

As a full-time working mum, LEANNE BAKER knew she needed a system to help her keep her household running smoothly. Now she helps other parents establish routines that work for them.

As a mum of two boys (aged five and eight) there are many times I’ve felt completely overwhelmed by the tasks I needed to get done each day, as well as caring for the boys.

I remember when we had our eldest son; financially I had to return to full time work shortly after he was born, and I was juggling work as a teacher, being a new mum and also adjusting to married life — we had been married for only a year before our son was born.

It was an incredibly daunting time, and there were many days where life seemed so very hard.

Slowly, I began to put systems into place and as I did I felt I gained back some control.

If you, too, are feeling like life is running away without an established routine, here are some ideas to help you feel less overwhelmed:

Self care
Take care of you first. Often as parents, we put ourselves at the bottom of the list – but if we look after ourselves first our family receives a better version of us. It doesn’t have to be extravagant – it could be enjoying a hot cup of tea, reading your favourite book or relaxing in a bubble bath once the kids are in bed. Perhaps you could even find a hobby that you love.

List of three
Make a list of your top three tasks for the day. Prioritise and focus your day to ensure these are ticked off. An example of my list of three might be – to bake muffins for school lunches, spend 30 minutes sorting photos for our yearly album and meal plan for the following week. I commit to those tasks first and anything else that I achieve during the day is a bonus.

Zone cleaning
Rather than cleaning your whole house in one day, break your home into areas (zones) and do one zone per day. I spend 15 minutes in each zone every day. For example – Thursday is the Master Bedroom zone. I wipe down the side tables, remove any clutter, dust the blinds and wipe down the fan. Floors are done on a different day. Once you have this routine established it is a quick and easy way to stay on top of the house moving forward.

15 minute tidy
Set your timer for 15 minutes and concentrate your efforts and energy on that task until the alarm sounds. You will be amazed how much you can achieve in a short time. For example, each evening following dinner I set my timer for 15 minutes to clean the kitchen and dining area. I put away dishes, wipe the benches, tidy up any mess from the day and basically reset our areas for the following day.

Remember not to compare your life to others; everyone has their own challenges, and you’re not alone in your struggles. Since sharing my story online, I have had countless people reach out and tell me they were afraid to share their challenges for fear of being judged. Be kind to yourself! We’re all in this together.

Leanne Baker is the person behind LBD (Leanne Baker Daily) planners, the blog – Organising the Four of Us, and the active social media community – facebook.com/OrganisingTheThreeOfUs