The Five-P Program: How to finish your To Do List by dinner
Is there a mum out there who hasn’t wished for an extra hour in her day? Whose To Do List (TDL) isn’t threatening to wallpaper the house? If your organisation skills are letting you down, and you can’t sort your TDL enough to GTD (get things done), don’t stress. Our 5-P Program will get you organised enough to reclaim your evenings.
“It’s all about routine,” says Valerie Petersen, from Inner-B organising. “Getting things done before dinner is all about having a daily routine. Many people think they’re boring, but kids and families thrive on routine.”
“Preparation makes a big difference to how a day goes,” says Nicole Avery, author of Planning With Kids. “It starts the night before. Do most of the lunches, set the table, unstack the dishwasher. It gives you a clean slate in the morning – and means they are not chaotic.”
She suggests breaking your day down into workable chunks. “Trying to clean the whole house is overwhelming, but if it’s just wiping down the bathroom, then it’s done in 15 minutes.”
It’s not enough to have a routine, everyone in the household must know what it is – and what their role is. “Make sure the kids are involved,” says Avery. “Give them jobs and schedule when they need to be done. It helps develop independence and responsibility – and small things will make a big difference to what you get done in a day.”
Talk to your partner as well about what your roles might be. Divide tasks where possible.
Procrastination is a dirty word. “Routine helps to kill procrastination,” says Avery. “If you know what needs to be done when you come back from school drop-off, it saves you that feeling of not knowing where to start. Have a guide in your head!”
Petersen advocates guidelines around home office spaces, which can be a notorious blackhole for time. “It’s never ‘just five minutes’ to reply to an email,” she says. “You get behind the ball.”
Ditto for phone calls. Making a rule that you won’t answer the phone between 6pm and 8pm, or 5pm and 7pm, makes a big difference to the bath/dinner witching hours with children. Give your focus to getting things done and the whole process will run more smoothly.
Prize the hours you have. “Treat time with respect,” says Petersen. “We are given the same amount. Have clear rules about how you’ll use yours.”
Getting organised make take some time to begin with, but will pay big dividends in the end. “So often time is wasted through looking for things that weren’t in the right spot,” she says. “Getting organised will help you get everything done by dinner.”
Cluttered home spaces make it hard to think clearly as well.
This article was written by Allison Tait