Sunday, January 29, 2012

Staying on Track With Home Routines

I have dreams of becoming a super-organized housewife. I picture myself waking up early, before the kids, and having my bible time with a cup of chai. I would cook my family a hot breakfast, and send the kids off to school cheerfully with confidence in knowing their backpacks were filled with all the necessary materials for their day (even a special home-baked treat in their lunchbox). I would then fold and put away the clean laundry that I was so on top of that every hamper in the house was empty. It would still be before 8am and since I had already showered and dressed I would start to clean a room that was already fairly and neat and organized.That is just a dream however and unfortunately very far from my reality. It is more like waking up to “mom, where are my PE shoes?” and “can we have fruity pebbles for breakfast?” (Don’t worry, my answer is no.) While I try to rub the sleep out of my eyes and get my pregnant belly out of bed to hurry to the bathroom, I trip over the pile of laundry that I’ve been meaning to get to this week. The sink has dirty dishes, but thankfully the clean bowls are in the dishwasher. I have managed to pack the lunch boxes the night before, but forgot the water bottles. In a chaotic span of fifteen minutes I do my best to send the boys out the door and finally go to fill my mug when I hear baby sister calling from her crib upstairs. So, the day begins with me feeling behind already and not really knowing where to start to get back on track.

The previous paragraph may have caused some of your to cringe while others may be nodding in agreement thinking that sounds similar to your mornings. Okay I admit I do not have it all together. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job as wife and mother and feel so blessed to have been given these roles. I know for the most part I am doing pretty good job, but always have areas to improve.

I see other moms who seem to get it all done (and look good doing it) in the 24 hours that God has given them each day and wonder where I am going off course. Okay, time to get honest...I am guilty of distractions. My computer and phone play a big role in that, and I'd much rather start a craft project than a load of laundry. I now find myself in need of a very clear plan of attack to manage my time. I think I may have found that in a place I was least expecting it, my distracting iPhone! I was searching for “mom” apps one day and hoping to find something that would help me keep track of my daily to-do list. I ran across Home Routines and was a little leery of the $3.99 price tag. I am quite frugal and usually don’t spend more than 99 cents, and usually just browse the free section. I was desperate however, and read several good reviews that encouraged me to give it a try.

For me it is like a home notebook or binder that hold all of your to-do lists for the day, week, and/or month but in a digital version. It incorporates the Flylady method and offers a “zone” to work on each day along with your daily tasks. I like that it breaks it down into morning, afternoon, and evening. I find it much more manageable when I see smaller checklists, and don’t find myself getting so overwhelmed.

It is very easy to customize, you can add as many routines as you need and can easily add tasks, daily notes, and even zones. You can assign a different zone for each week or have it change each day. It offers a timer, so you can tackle a zone for fifteen minutes and are then rewarded at timer’s end with a song and note of accomplishment. You don’t need an app to do this, make it part of your day by setting a kitchen timer; you will be amazed at how much you can get done in just fifteen minutes!

At the end of the day you can see a list of your accomplishments. I know how easy it can be to go through an entire day running around like crazy, and then sit down at day’s end and wonder “what did I get done today?” This feature offers encouragement and allows you to see a clear list of all of your accomplishments for the day.

If you don’t have a phone that supports this app you can still visit the Home Routines website to find help from their “Housework Ninjas.” This is a group of experts that offer advice to get you on track with anything from organization to healthy habits and offer emails full of useful tips.

Though I know this might not be practical for everyone, this system seems to be working well for me. I have tried binders full of checklists before and they tend to sit on my counter unopened most days. I tried a note card method in a recipe box that contained cards with all of my tasks and were rotated each day through the month. Again, it worked for a few days and then just collected dust. My phone, however, sends me little reminder messages and is a lot harder to ignore. Plus, there is just something about seeing that gold star show up on the screen that keeps me going!

If you are looking for a printable version of a household notebook, I found some great resources at I think this could be a great option for the right person, and the pages can be put into sleeves and used with a wet erase marker to save paper.

Another resource I have been using this week is on one of my favorite blogs by Proverbs 31 Ministries contributor Glynnis Whitwer. She has been doing a "Clutter-free Challenge" on her blog that not only offers tips of organization, but also a look into why we find ourselves in clutter and how the power of prayer can play a part in the solution. I often forget that even in my daily trials I can turn to God for strength, discipline, and guidance. In fact, this may be one of the most important areas in which I should seek Him, as it affects so many aspects of my (and my family's) life.

This year is bringing many changes to my family, and I am hoping to make it all a bit easier with a more organized home and less stressed out mama! I will keep you posted on my organization makeover progress throughout the year.

I can use all the help I can get. I would love to hear how you organize your task lists and encourage yourself to stay on track. Do you use a digital method or keep it simple with paper and pen?

Written by Happily Domestic Contributor - Jodi Faye

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Heather said...

Hi i’m Heather! I have a question for you! Please email me :)

HappilyDomestic said...

Heather- You can email me at or with using my contact form at the top right of my page. Thank you!

The Kuglers said...

I am right there with ya.. I've tried lots of different things that work for a week then it's back to chaos... guess I just need an i phone now right Jodi :) I know you are doing a WONDERFUL job. 4 almost 5 kids and you keep mostly on schedule you deserve a gold star just for that.

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