Making Life (Slightly) Easier

My mission in life is to be as productive as possible. I mean sure, more than anything I want to raise a good kid, stay married, keep my job, and be relatively healthy, but aside from that I have to be honest. I want to do all the stuff in an efficient manner so that I can have time to do things I really love. So, over the past few months I've been really trying to assess how I can be... better. September-December of last year had some really stressful moments, many of which were brought about by that "having too much to do" feeling. So, here are some things, some little and some big, that have helped me at work and at home (caution: this is a little bit... Good Housekeeping-ish at points... sorry if you'e twenty and not into laundry):

Grading Calendar- I have talked about this before, but it has been the biggest lifesaver of them all. Every 4-6 weeks I print out a blank grid with boxes Monday-Friday and one for the weekend. As I collect assignments I realistically assign myself slots to grade everything, being mindful of busy weekends, time I can work in class (like if my students are writing), etc... I am incredibly list-oriented, so I love being able to mark off finished assignments and the competitive part of me (which is a really, really big part...) gets excited to *gasp* cross things off for the next day. This has also made me more mindful of my assigning, too.  

White Socks and Two Loads/Day- I do a shit-ton of laundry, which is probably surprising considering there are only three of us. I am part of the problem- every single day I have my work clothes and either lounge/work out clothes when I get home. Plus all the other house-related stuff. One thing I did to make things easy was get Sawyer all white socks when he was ready to move up a size. I'm not kidding when I say this makes things so much easier. I also make myself do two loads a day- gone are my laundry marathons on weekend (who wants to spend hours doing laundry on a Sunday? Not I). 

Two-a-Days: There is a lot of mixed feelings about doubling up on workouts and I sort of hesitated before sharing. I just started this last week and I only plan on doing it maybe twice a week, running a few miles after work when Sawyer is up and a few after he goes to bed, that way I can get in some more mileage. It's not like I plan on running ten and then ten more... more like 2.5 and 2.5. It's just so hard on weekdays to get in substantial runs, so I'm going to try this until my 10k a least.

Disposable Table Cloths: I love that Sawyer loves paint, markers, and Playdoh, but I hate the mess. I've been buying super cheap plastic table cloths and cutting them in fourths and taping them down to the table when he gets crafts. Clean up is a total breeze and the $2 a mont is worth it.

Throwing Out Leftovers: While I am admitting to wasteful (but so helpful) habits, here's another: if I know that I'm not taking it for lunch or it's something my husband doesn't love I throw out leftovers. I try not to cook in excess to begin with, but sometimes we have extra. And let's be honest- some things are gross second (or third) day. And cleaning up said things after a week of inevitably sitting in the fridge is even worse.  

No More AM Multi-Tasking: There is a twenty-five minute period of time in the morning where I am usually alone (from 5:55-6:20,before I wake up Sawyer and after hair/makeup). During this time I have to get my coffee ready, eat breakfast, assemble my lunch (my little bag and ice packs don't go in the fridge the night before), and get Sawyer's breakfast set. I used to try to do everything at once and was left rushed. Now I do one thing at a time, get it all done, and am much happier.

Productivity App- I love this app I shared a month or so ago. I have several habits I need to improve on (vacuuming every-other-day, yoga more often, etc...) set in the app with a schedule in terms of how often I want to do them, and I click when things are complete. I can see how I am doing collectively or by habit. You can also set your phone to send you reminders, but my battery hates things like that. 

The Furminator- If you have a hairy dog that sheds a lot you have to pony up the $40 and get this brush. It's awesome.

The Pomodoro Technique- I love this idea and have used it for years but have really been putting it into use when it comes to working and cleaning. Basically, you set a timer and work for however long and when the times goes off you can take a break for however long you decide (I use a loose variation of it). If you get distracted during the work portion you have to set your timer over and try again. The structure works well because you know that you are going to get a break soon. If I find myself getting too distracted by my phone or whatever else I will even use this idea when reading or running. 

It's the little things... 


  1. hm, I am not sure if my dog sheds enough for The Furminator, but my cat does. I am investigating it. I can vacuum every day and the fur just is constant. lol

  2. Quartering the tablecloth and using it for crafts is a great idea. You're right - it's totally worth the 2 bucks a month not to have to clean up after painting and glue activities.

  3. I caught myself right before I bought my son's next size of socks -- I had the really cute set in my hand, but they were all different colors/patterns and I was like NO YOU NEVER CAN FIND A MATCHING PAIR! so I got the multi-pack of gray. It's the little things, lol

  4. I totally don't wash my lounge clothes every day, do you? I do like every 3-4 days.

    1. I always end up getting toddler hand prints, dog hair, or god know what else on them. If not for that, I totally would wait at least two days, too.

  5. I hate the mess from crafts too. Cutting a disposable table cloth in quarters is a brilliant idea, especially since I find the ones from the dollar store so big to begin with. And I think I need to try the pomodoro technique. I'm so easily distracted that even the simplest of chores takes me much longer than it should.