Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Preparing for what's next

Something I've been working on lately is always looking ahead to the next step, to see what I can do to make my life easier. For example, when I'm cleaning up the kitchen after supper, I get the coffee pot ready to go for the next day. At night, when I'm putting my jammies on (usually at around 7:30 pm!), I lay my clothes out for the morning. When I get the baby up from his afternoon nap, I lay out his bath stuff. When I empty the dishwasher in the morning, I immediately put soap in the dispenser and close it. (This is also a great trick for figuring out whether the dishes are clean or dirty - at my house, if there's soap in the dispenser, the dishes are dirty!). When I'm preparing tonight's supper, I'll look to see if there's anything I can do to get a head start on tomorrow night's supper. If we have an outing planned for the next day, I'll pack the diaper bag and place it by the front door.

Doing these little things throughout the day helps me in two ways.

One, it makes my life a teensy bit easier. If I'm feeling particularly frazzled, it helps immensely to know that those little things are already done. Sometimes it feels like I have a little elf around the house... I feel like saying "oh, yaay!" when I realize that something I need to do is already done, at least partly. It's also provides a great time buffer. Similar to having an emergency fund in case of a financial crisis, planning ahead helps us to prepare for a time crisis. If something comes up during the day that demands my time, it gives me a little freedom to know that a lot of what I have to do is already done.

And two, it keeps me motivated. When I open my eyes in the morning and see my clothes laid out, and smell the coffee brewing, it's SO much easier to drag my butt out of bed. When I know the diaper bag is already packed and ready to go, I'm less likely to back out of whatever I had planned for the day. It's about setting myself up for success, and making it harder to fail.

So now, whenever I'm in the midst of doing something, I try to always ask myself "what's next?", and then go ahead and get ready for it.

What kinds of things do you do to plan for what's next? I'd love to hear your ideas!

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  1. Great post!

    I do a lot of those things too. One thing I've been working on is having dinner most of the way prepared ahead of time. My husband has been coming home at irregular times lately, so that way I can do the rest whenever he gets home. This also lets me do the majority of the clean up before dinner.

    I really like the idea of putting the detergent in the dishwasher right away, showing that it is dirty. I'll have to try that.


  2. Funnily enough, a few week-ends ago my husband emptied the dishwasher (yes, that's how infrequently that occurs - lol). Of course, he didn't put the soap in the dispenser after he emptied it. But he's so used to just turning the dishwasher on at bed time that he didn't bother to check if there was any soap in there. So the next morning as we're putting dishes away, he says "hey, I don't think these dishes are clean!", and sure enough, there hadn't been any soap in the dispenser. So now we've actually come to depend on my little elf self doing all of these things. I don't know if that's good or bad! :)

  3. Hi, I love the dishwasher idea. I am going to make sure I implement this one. One thing I do is clean the bathroom while the kids are taking a bath. They always want to stay and play in the tub and I used to think of all the things that had to be done. Now I let them play as long as they want because I just got the whole bathroom spotless.

  4. Hi Alissa,

    I just wanted to let you know I just added you to my favorite blogs list. :)

    Keep the great ideas coming!


  5. Niki,

    I love the bathroom idea! I just cleaned the bathroom yesterday, but I think I will try that next week. :) It's actually my most hated chore, but if I'm hanging out with my kids while I do it, maybe I won't even notice. :)


    Thank you so much! :) I'm flattered.


  6. What a great post! I'm so glad I found your blog :o)


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  8. These are great ideas! I try to do the coffee pot, but I need to be better at it. And, I am definitely going to use your dishwasher trick - thank you! And I cannot believe you put on your jammies at 7:30. I'm lucky if I get them on before 10:30.

  9. Extraordinary,

    Yup - 7:30! Usually as soon as the kids are in bed I put my jammies on before I come downstairs. Unless I'm tutoring that night, then I have to wait until after I get home. lol. I loooove jammies. :)

  10. Useful tips. I'll have to try this task of asking myself, "What's next." At times I feel so unmotivated, that any tip that gets/keeps me going is one I want to incorporate.

    Thanks for sharing.