Friday, 1 January 2016

2016- Teacher! Take Control of Your Life Again!

Picture this:

You wake up in the morning, excited for Saturday to begin! Only to realise…. It’s Friday.
The cat left hair all over your outfit and you can’t find that other shirt you want. It’s probably somewhere in the middle of the laundry cycle.
You rush off to work, only to realise you forgot to copy that worksheet, and your teaching partner was relying on you to get it done for the morning. Of course, there is a line at the copier.
You survive until lunch and then realise that you left yours in the car. No time to go get it, too much to do!
Arriving home, exhausted and hungry, you then realise that you forgot to defrost the meat for dinner. 
Will this day ever end? Yes, and then you're laying awake in the middle of the night, terrified you’ve forgotten something important and can’t figure out just what it was….only so you can wake up tired and begin again...

 Sound familiar?  I used to live like this. Not anymore!

And you don’t have to either!

I have spent several years figuring all of this out- the secret to being organised!

Is it perfect? 99%... for me.
What I HAVE got, is a huge file (117 pages!) to help you get organised and TAKE CONTROL of your life again!

How is it going to help you?

A Teacher Binder
I think we all know how helpful these can be. This one has student data, a section for keeping your room organised and clean, planning, and all the other important school stuff. Also contains an example of my daily routine to streamline my organisation.

A Prac Teacher Folder
 I love having prac students. But I also ALWAYS forget to tell them important things. So I put all my info into a folder for them. Never get half way through the first week before realising you forget to show them where the staff toilet is again!

A Sub/Relief Teacher Folder
All that important stuff you want whoever is looking after your precious kiddos to know in your absence.

And finally, the
Organise My Life Folder
This has sections for everything. Cleaning. Moving and Spring Cleaning. Routines for streamlining. Emergency Information. It’s all in one place.

There are several editables and printables. There are also editable binder covers and section covers so that you can put in everything you need, exactly as you want it. Start Taking control!

So what do you do with it?
Well, it's really up to what suits you! Mine works for me, my family, our schedule, and our school.
Your situation is unique to you. Can I tell you exactly how to manage your world? Nope.
Here’s the thing. You are going to need to put some time and thought into this in the beginning. You are going to need to fiddle around and change things to make it work. Sure, I could give you the blueprint for what works for me, but that won’t work for you! Your life, work and family is different to mine!
This job is too big to do in just one day. You've spent a lifetime building and changing your home, your lifestyle, your habits, your schedule. Now we need to spend some considerable time thinking about how to manage all of it and troubleshoot any things that may come up. But we will get there and you will be so much happier and calmer in the end!
Over the next few days, I am going to unpack exactly what I have done with each section, some ideas for different ways it could work, and other things you might like to include in them as well.
First up- because I'm on holidays, school organisation can wait. I need to get my own home and life without school under control first! This is also the biggest and most time consuming!
So here it is...

My Organise My Life Binder.

See my store to check out all the design options!

Firstly... Do I have to call it that?

No. Call it whatever you want. I have 4 brothers on the ASD spectrum, and both of my boys are. Blunt and to the point is how we live. We call it an Organise My Life Folder because to us, that is EXACTLY what it is. No confusion.

Next... Do I NEED to put it in a BINDER?

Not really. I do because it's easy for me to use, move, mark/wipe off. I found some really good, sturdy ones here. I like the multipack because I split my organisation between home and school into separate binders.  My son and I both use a whiteboard marker to check off things as we do them so we know where we are up to. My ALMOST 10 year old absolutely loves this binder! I know that he turns 10 in 11 days because right at the front of my binder is my... monthly calendar!
The calendar, ironically, I put in the school section of the document. I use the same design for home and school, so I just print two copies of the same calendar and modify what's on them for each folder.
I have all 12 months printed and put in the one sleeve. As each month passes, I just discard that page. I put all important dates in straight away. Each day when I check my calendar, I update all the important appointments that have made their way into my phone and ipad during the day, so everything is up to date.  I have blocked out our Easter holiday to PlanetShakers ( we are sooo excited about taking the hubby with us this time- and driving the 32 hrs, or 3000km, all the way down!) as well as all of hubbies prac dates etc. School holidays of course, went in straight after birthdays and family holidays :D
Before I discard the finished month, I do take a photo of it if anything special needs to be remembered for next year, like a new baby's birthday, or a new friend or colleague's.
I have a get-out-of-bed-and-become-a-reasonable-human-routine.  That's kind of long so I just called it a morning routine, and it's part of our families life style routines. You can call it whatever you want.
Arise and Shine. Sounds kind of Disney Princess-ish.  As cool as that is...  I actually was inspired by a bible verse. In Isaiah 60:1 it says: "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you."  And because I love The Message translation, when I looked it up it read: 
Get out of bed, Jerusalem!
Wake up. Put your face in the sunlight.
God’s bright glory has risen for you.
And I thought to myself... what a nice way to wake up!
That step is wholly and completely about remembering who I am, and whose I am. First thing, every day.
I think most of it is self explanatory. Breakfast is important. So is my morning coffee. I have to actually write down to drink water. I go for weeks without drinking water unless I write it down. Sometimes I need to set a reminder on my phone if I'm somewhere without my binder or my normal to do list areas.
Some of the cleaning isn't so much done, as prepared for. This means it's more likely to be on my mind for later.
We do menu planning in our house. Hubby is the designated shopper. So he needs a very specific list, otherwise weird things are consumed in our house. So for a specific list, I need to know what we're eating. Hubby also does most of the cooking, bless him, so the menu needs to be approved by the chef . More on Menu planning later.  If we are having something for dinner that needs defrosting or other prep work, checking the menu in the morning means that it can either be put in the fridge/sink (depending on the season) to defrost, or that I'm aware that extra prep time will be needed in the afternoon. No forgetting and eating 2 minute noodles because I stuffed something up!
Some of this applies to getting school stuff/kids ready. At the moment, I can quite happily skip those items.
Relax. Just 5 minutes. This may be the last 5 minutes I get to myself without escaping to the bathroom for the rest of the day. Make it count. This is an important key to starting my day off well and keeping calmer through the morning.
We made it through the morning! Hooray!
Now, I don't do all of this myself anymore. Oh no. I started outsourcing some of it to Mr Almost-10.
He wipes down his and his brother's bathroom with a bathroom wipe ( I LOVE those things!), and takes the clothes out of their bathroom to the laundry. He also is now helping to check the menu and pull out meat for defrosting. Score! That kid is going to be a well prepared husband one day. It's nice to think when he's 25, his wife won't be cleaning up after him like she's his mother.
Okay. Afternoons.
Welcome home? What the?
I made it through a day of life. School. Crazy shopping sales. Whatever.  Remember where your strength comes from.
This is important. If I've had one of those less-than-perfect days (who doesn't!?) and had to skip lunch... I need to feed myself. I don't want to start eating chunks of my family with cranky words just because I'm feeling a bit hungry and grumpy. It isn't their fault.  Also in this step, I must also ask myself... Did you manage to go to the bathroom today?
Sounds awful... by my staff toilet is so far from my class that it is actually not possible to use it without having about 20 minutes to spare... (almost 100 female staff, 2 toilets to share in lunch breaks... plus about 5 minutes walking... and then another 5 for trying to dodge conversations because you really don't have the time...)
We do have access to one that is much closer, but it is only one, and the staff that work in that separate area are usually using it. And the pre-k kids are normally eating and start a very long conversation about why I'm there, who am I anyway? and do I like trains? Because I've been on a train...
Anyhow. Sometimes I forget afterwards too... And I end up not going between the time when I first woke up and when I got home. Which can be late. Not good health. Reminders.
Next, after more water and a few minutes to become human again, I get the laundry going and  check the kids homework. Which should have been done at school while I was busy, but I know it was only half done. It get's finished now. No one wants to be the teacher who's kids don't do homework and forget to hand in notes.
We prepare MOST of the lunchbox items the night before. That way if we are missing anything somehow, we can do an emergency dash to the store. It also staves off some of the crazy and the yelling and the messes in the morning. Does anyone else's kids have an infinite for dropping WHOLE margarine tubs on the floor, upside down?  Not a first-thing-in-the-morning kind of mess!
Clean the messy spots. I have them. I KNOW you do. They might be hiding. They might be obvious. You know stuff piles up there. It's the first place you go hunting when something's missing. It's normally covered in junk mail and papers and odd bits and pieces that no one quite knows where to put. It might be your dining table. Or your bedside table. Your coffee table. You have one! Find it, and clear it out a little. Don't spend an hour working on it and putting absolutely everything somewhere else. I don't have time to do that. I normally end up with those odds and ends and cram them somewhere else they don't belong. Not helpful.
Then I spend 10, maybe 20 minutes, just in one room.  I have some lists I use at different times, but this is just a general one.
I just pick one or two things off the list to do each night. Sometimes I move through different rooms. Depends on the state of my house and my mood. Sometimes I get the kids to pitch in and check a few off. Mr Almost-10 enjoys doing this with me.  Mr 8 is allergic to cleaning. He likes to organise though, and the bookshelves and shoe racks have become his domain.
Do I get through EVERYTHING on here in one week? Not usually. But I know what I did last week, and I know what NEEDS to be done. I know what I haven't done in a while.  It gets done a lot more often now than it used to! Once every month or two we spend a Saturday morning as a family really making sure we cover everything.  I am not a perfectionist in this area of my life. I had to let it go a little otherwise I would ALWAYS be trying to clean, fix, organise or spray something. This way, I know it's getting done, and I'm happier and have more time with my family. I'm happier to do those little chores, and because of that, my family are happier to help with them- though some need a bit more prompting than others.
I also have a get-everything-ready-for-tomorrow routine... but lets just call it a bedtime routine. I start right after dinner. Otherwise the dishes don't get done ;)
The laundry is important. Often, one of the boys will get in and do the folding for me if there's no fitted sheets or anything. But they leave them on the living room floor. Then tomorrow morning one of them undoubtedly will trip over a pile, sending all the folding flying throughout the living room and probably hurt himself while breaking some precious photo frame or something. Avoid! Avoid! I spend a few minutes dealing with it at night, so it isn't a drama in the morning.
I ALWAYS make sure I put out clean handtowels in the kitchen every night. I have to do it. I won't let the kids. Bad experience. Trust me, you are much better off not knowing the reason why. But it gets done. By me. EVERY day.
The next bit is about planning for tomorrow. This is when I update my paper calendar.
I also try to remember to defrost anything for tomorrow's dinner. I forget most nights. That's why I have the backup check in the morning.
That's my every day, way of life routine.  Use it, change it, ignore it. That's just what I do because it works for me. You figure out what works for you. You probably wont get it right the first time. My husband spent years telling me everything wrong with my plans... mainly that they included him :P
I then also have weekly home organisation. I organise my class into a weekly timetable... why not my home?
On Saturday morning I do the nasty stuff... changing sheets, emptying the other bins in the house (the kitchen bin is Mr 8's daily chore- I definitely don't wait for Saturday to do this one!), changing bedding, and cleaning the kazillion mirrors and glass louvres that are in my house.  It's also usually when I mop. I prefer to do it at night when no little footprints will walk through it, but I usually just don't get to it. Saturday will do.
Monday I spend an extra 10 minutes or so cleaning up the house. It's also garbage day on Tuesday, so I have it WRITTEN DOWN to make sure the bins go out Monday night! No more running the bins out in my pj's, or worse, coming home to realise everyone else remembered and my bin didn't make it out this week!
I have a day where I pay my bills. It's called pay day. It's also called I'm broke for another two weeks day. I usually tidy my desk (messy spot!) a little, and check my paper, ink and laminating sheet supplies. If they may not last 2 weeks, I write them on the list. Why 2 weeks? I might be wrong. I'd rather have them a week early than run out!
It's also usually the day I plan my menu for next week. That means I need to check what's in the cupboard and fridge. If I've done this well, it shouldn't be a lot. I somehow end up with left over produce that my hubby 'forgets' to put in meals sometimes. He isn't as fond of veggies as I am. And he wont eat beans. Of any kind.  While I'm here I may as well clean the fridge. Not a full defrost and scrub. More like, empty the shelf, spray, wipe, replace.
 I check all my cleaning supplies (garbage bags!!) and make sure to add them in when writing my shopping list. Nothing is put on the list that isn't needed for cleaning and organising or a listed meal.  Saves us a lot when hubby decides to get a packet of biscuits or lollies for our date night... instead of a weeks worth of junk food that he used to get.
The kids have daily chores. I wont list theirs here, but I have given you some ideas. I will mention that I have broken their bedrooms up into sections, much the same as I have with my classroom, so they clean 1 section each day. This helps keep their rooms relatively tidy. Not perfect. But reasonable. Tidy enough that they could spruce it up in a few minutes if they had to. It also limits the amount of time they spend working alone in their rooms. Mr 8 would NEVER finish his room. He would find a book and get lost in it for several hours. Put the book away when he finished, and then get waylaid by the next one he found. If their rooms are really bad, I will send them for some 'hero time' where they get to be a super hero for 5-10 minutes and rescue their rooms from the evil clutches of Dr Filth. Mr 8 even made a paper cape to wear when he does this. Fortunately, it's not a frequent event anymore.
Then I have my moving/springcleaning/ Ahh the real estate or repairman is coming! list.
The next section I have is not in your binder.
It's personal. Some people like to have it, some don't. Everyone looks after it differently. Some people hide from it.
Yes, I am talking about the budget area.  You can use the template to make your own if you want one.
My budget, personally, is a living, active document on my computer. I add to and change it too often to print it. If yours is more static, go for it.
My finance info though, does go in here. I have a section where I photocopy tax receipts and keep them copy and original in the sleeve. I copy them because the print seems to come off and I can't tell what they were for or how much. Another sleeve for gifts receipts.
A sleeve for birthday gift ideas for each member of my family. This is handy, for when I find something perfect for Mr 8 in February, and then can't remember it  in July. I tick it off when I buy it too. Once hubby and I both bought the gift because I forgot I had already done it. Oops.
I have the same thing for friends and co-workers. It also helps me to not buy the same thing for them two years running.
Same two pages for Christmas gifts.
I used to keep a page listing who gave me what, but it wasn't really useful to me. It would be useful if you're into re-gifting though.
The next section is for Emergency info.
You will need to work out your emergency plans and contact numbers, instructions etc.
I live in an area prone to cyclones and flooding.  I plan accordingly.
If you live where Earthquakes are common, plan for that.
If you live near an active volcano.... get a GoPro and Electric Roller Skates. I wanna see that!
Tomorrow we are going to get into our Classroom Organisation Binder!
Don't forget, my Take Control Organisation Binders are on a massive sale this week!
The rest of my store is on Sale until MONDAY!
Okay, so that's my organise my life binder in a nutshell.
Share yours ideas and tips for managing and taking control of your life!

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