Category Archives: Time Management

Organised? I have to be

My colleagues quite often start a sentence with  ‘You’re organised, you will know this’ or ‘Jane will find this’ if they are looking for a particular file. I am pretty organised at work. I have to be – I have a terrible memory so I need to keep lists of what I need to do and when, set reminders in my calendar and have a sensible filing system. 

At home I am no different. I get really stressed if I’m not on top of the cleaning, laundry or shopping. At times I feel overwhelmed by how much there is to do, but good time management and a routine keeps me in control.  I have to have a really good clean through every week and make sure any paperwork is taken care of. I do this on a Saturday.  I do washing about three times a week. I don’t iron much because I shake clothes out before I hang them and smooth them out as much as possible.

I check my bank balance once a week so that I can keep an eye on spending, make sure all the bills are paid and that there are no odd payments in the account. I know what I pay for everything. If I didn’t how would I know if I was getting a good deal? I also check to see if there is any extra that I can put in one of the savings accounts.

I plan the menus for the week as well as the shopping list. As things get low I write them on a board in the kitchen so we don’t run out.  I frequently cook double what I need to save myself a bit of time. We either eat it the next day as well or freeze it for those days when we are too tired to cook. On Sunday I made pukka yellow curry from Save with Jamie and we ate it again last night – curry is always better as leftovers! This is a nice recipe and it really is a good book. The recipe is here.

I started cleaning a cupboard or a drawer each week as my new year resolution in 2016 and it has really paid off. I know where things are and chuck out stuff we don’t need. Having said that, the drawers in my bedroom really need sorting at the moment as a continuation of my great wardrobe challenge, making sure I wear what I own or get rid of it. That’s one for next weekend. 

I never feel I have much spare time, but being organised helps a lot. If I do everything I need to on a Saturday I have the day free to relax on Sunday. We either go out for the day or spend some time in the garden, depending on what we feel like and the weather. 

I have areas I can improve on but I know that little and often is the way to go. Get things done, get organised and then you save time in the long run.

Are you an organised person? What are your tips to staying in control when you are really busy?

Getting organised

It’s so nice to have some spare time at home. Anyone who works full time and runs a home will know how hard it can be to keep on top of things after a busy day at work. As I am back in the office tomorrow I am glad I have got myself really organised here. 

The meals are planned for the week and the shopping is done. The house is clean – I will have a run round again with the vacuum cleaner today to get things spic and span. The laundry is up to date although I do need to iron a few things ready for the office. I have been through the bank statement too and know how much we will have over once all the direct debits have gone out. It will be tight but as I am spending nothing unless it is essential we should manage. 

Mr S laughs at me but I need to be organised to feel in control of my finances and my life generally. I am the same at work – I am queen of lists to make sure everything gets completed and on time.

At home being organised saves me time and money; at work it saves me time and stress! Does anyone else like a list?

Increasing my waistline and a lack of time management 

Sorry I have been so quiet of late. I have been using all my spare time to prepare for a job interview. Between that, work and Christmas prep there’s been very little time for much else. The interview went ok I think. I should find out next week whether I am successful. 

I am trying to catch up now. Last night I did the usual weekly shop at Lidl then went to Sainsbury’s for some Christmas bits and somebody’s leaving present at work. I didn’t get in until 8.15 then had to go out half an hour later to collect DD3 from work. 

I had just enough time for a quick cuppa and a bit of cold quiche, and to feed the cats who were looking very unimpressed at having to wait so long for their dinner.

This morning I was writing Christmas cards for colleagues in my car before I got in! I haven’t had the chance to do any that should be posted and have a busy weekend  ahead so Lord knows when I will find time. 

Today we have our Christmas buffet at work. I brought in some chopped veg and hummus and I’m glad I did as it was mainly pastry items like sausage rolls and lots of crisps – a veritable carb fest! I am eating out tonight as well with the management team from work. Oh well, the diet can wait until after Christmas.

Tomorrow will be my chance to check I have bought everything for Christmas and clean through the house and have a nice quiet night in. We are off to my sister’s for a gathering on Sunday as they will be away at Christmas. 

Next week I need to wrap all the gifts and plan the food shop. Thank goodness I have the week off between Christmas and the New Year.

I have rarely felt so disorganised for Christmas. I generally start in September and start wrapping and writing cards as December arrives. Better organisation should be my New Year’s resolution I think! How are your plans going for the festive season?

I’ll add it to my list …

I seem to have been so busy this past week yet have so little worth blogging about! Unless you want to hear about much there is to do at work? I rarely give my job much thought when I am home but it is so frantic I find it is playing on my mind. 

At least the cat knows how to relax!


There is a lot to do here as well  – loads of jobs to do before I feel happy bringing in potential lodgers. Their bedroom, the bathroom and the downstairs toilet all need work. The garden also needs several days worth of tidying up before the weather gets tooo cold. That’s the job I actually enjoy if I can find the time. I love to get outside.

I haven’t done much towards Christmas either, although I have sorted out the work team outing. I need to start my gift buying. I have normally done at least 50% by this time.

I have quite a few items I want to sell on eBay as this is the time of year when people are buying. So I have been putting a couple of bits on here and there and managed to sell three items this week. 

I am quite an organised person generally and this helps me to prioritise what needs to be done first. I am a great one for lists but at the moment the lists at home and work look rather long and intimidating!

The normal cleaning and shopping won’t do themselves though so I will begin with those. DD2 is visiting today with two of her university friends and they are having a night out in Colchester. They are used to the bright lights of London so it will be interesting to see what they think of our little town.

I will be curling up with Mr S, the cats and a glass of wine as I don’t think we will have much energy to paint the town red. 

Anyone else finding the pace of life a bit fast?

Little and often gets the job done

Well, it does for me! I finally got Mr S to start putting up the curtain rails yesterday in the lodger’s room. I hadn’t realised how creased the curtains were. They are a very thick fabric (good for keeping the drafts out) but took some ironing. One pair were from the charity shop as they fit the small window but I needed two long pairs to fit the patio doors and the other two doors that lead into the garden so I bought those new from eBay. They are a basic cream curtain but not flimsy at all as cheap curtains often are. The material is slightly imperfect but you can’t see this when they are up and I think they were a great deal at £20 a pair.

This room already feels warmer with the insulated wallpaper and the radiator foil fitted. I am really pleased with it. 

I finally visited our new Lidl yesterday. It’s much bigger than Aldi with better parking and a nice bakery section. However , I spent more than usual – partly because there was more choice and DD3 was with me making me give in to temptation and partly because I think it was a bit more expensive than Aldi. 

We have been to the garden centre and spent some  vouchers we were both given for our birthdays. We have focussed on plants and shrubs we can put in that will more or less take care of themselves. We need to try to make the garden more low maintenance as we don’t have time to do it justice. Too much garden and too little time!

So today we will work on the front garden and clear it up for winter then get these plants in.

Yesterday in my continuing declutter I cleared out just one bag for the charity shop, mainly old CDs that nobody listens to and then the old pine CD rack which I don’t need now that the CDs are rationalised. Little and often….

Feeling overwhelmed? Break the tasks into bite sized chunks

I have struggled to find time to blog this week. I am still recovering from my week off, catching up at work and trying to do the jobs at home I couldn’t do because we were decorating.

The house needs a really good clean, I have a pile of ironing and the garden is a huge mess. There is more work out there than we can manage in the next few days so I will attempt the little and often approach. This works well for me when I am feeling overwhelmed. I break things into bite sized chunks and prioritise what needs doing first! At the moment it is the cleaning. We have a student coming in Sunday so the house needs to look spic and span and I also need to plan the week’s meals and do a food shop. 

At the weekend I will do a couple of hours in the front garden as that is the most neglected.

I haven’t been to the gym for weeks or done any yoga so I need to find time to look after myself too.  So I am going to clean the sitting room and hall tonight and then do an hour’s yoga.

In the meantime DD3 has helped out by cooking a huge tuna pasta bake that will do for tonight and tomorrow so I don’t need to do any cooking!

Convenience doesn’t have to cost

This isn’t my usual message! If you buy a lot of ready meals and takeaways you will definitely pay a lot more for your food than if you cook from scratch. However, most of us don’t have the luxury of lots of spare time and being able to throw something quick and easy for dinner is sometimes a godsend.
  I work full time and have a very busy life so I will cut every corner I can as long as it doesn’t cost much. For example, tonight we had a Maggi So Juicy mix to cook our chicken in. Very easy and tasty with rice and vegetables, and it cost 55p at my local Poundstretchers store.

Other quick and easy favourites are pasta with a jar of pesto and salad, chicken curry made with a jar of sauce, a ready made steak pie and fish in breadcrumbs. We also go for the odd shop bought pizza, although I usually add to the toppings to jazz it up.

I always have frozen veg in the freezer too. These are even cheaper!

What are your cheap convenience foods?

Bite sized chunks: the secret of successful time management

Garden meI think I have finally got the hang of this time management thing. I am already Queen of Lists. At work I have a list of jobs then I prioritise that into a list that I need to do quickly and one of tasks that can wait a bit. At home I write lists too; it feels good to cross things off and know that I am achieving something.

garden weeded 2But it is the large projects that have always given me problems. I tend to see the whole huge task and get so intimidated I never start it. Now I am learning to break the big projects down into smaller tasks that will build towards achieving the outcome I am after. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to clear out a cupboard a week and I have done this most weeks. So, rather than saying to myself  ‘all the cupboards are in a mess, I need to sort them out’ then procrastinating because it is too big a job, now I  have divided this task into bite sized chunks it has become achievable. It doesn’t take more than 20 minutes to sort out each one so it’s not too taxing on my time.garden Justin

I started to apply the same line of thinking to the garden today. The back garden is big – 140 foot long and 50 foot wide, and we have a large front garden too. It can feel totally overwhelming at times as we both work full time and there are always lots of jobs to do at the weekend. But today we just looked at one bed and set about weeding digging and moving plants around. Mr Shoestring also sorted out some of the pots for the patio. This was easy enough as we just left all the bulbs in them from last year and they are all coming up and will look fabulous in a few weeks. We were out in the sunshine for about 4 hours and this was enough. We felt we had achieved our goal and our spirits were lifted by the warmth and the sun. Next time we go out we will focus on sowing seeds and sorting out the greenhouse.

When you don’t have a great deal of time on your hands you need to be smart about how you organise yourself and make sure you have time to do nothing too. Now we are just slobbing out and may even manage an afternoon nap!

How are you with time management and what are your top tips?

Not Enough Hours in the Day!

I thought I would attempt a blog post this morning whilst the rest of the house is still asleep. It is quite nice in a way being up early on a sunny Sunday morning. The birds are singing loudly and the cats are bouncing about but other than that the world is quiet and there is no traffic.

I have struggled to find a spare few minutes to blog. Work was full on during Friday, I came home to do a large pile of ironing and I spent yesterday back in the hall painting. As for housework, who has the time? I have been doing a bit here and there, but only the bare essentials – the laundry and sorting food.

imageToday the garden beckons. There are some plants in the greenhouse that really need to go in the ground now but before that I need to do some weeding to prepare some space. Some of my neighbours trees need a good hack back too or they will starve my side of light. There are lots of seedlings that need potting on too. At least I enjoy this, especially on a beautiful day .

Before that I will get up and clean the bathroom and downstairs loo and wash the kitchen floor. I can’t let standards slip too low!

Is it just me? Does anyone else struggle to fit it all in?

 

Time Management Part 2

Yesterday’s post got me thinking. I rarely have enough time to do everything, so what can I do that I’m not doing already? I think I am good at managing my time, but am I?

What can I do to save time? Some of these things will involve an investment of my time to start with, but should save it in the end. The following is a lecture to myself. Feel free to join in!

1. Iron as few clothes as possible. I already do this – I shake out my laundry and hang it really straight, then fold it or hang it straight away. There are a few cotton items that crease quite a lot that I do iron, however.

2. Don’t spend too much time on the internet! It is very tempting, so I am trying to allow myself about an hour a day tops. Half an hour of that goes on my blog, which I usually do at work in my lunch break.

Save time3. Plant up perennials in the garden, preferably those that spread a bit. This will cut down on time spent weeding! This is a work in progress as I can’t afford to spend lots of money on plants, and I am still learning what is good to plant and grow from seed cheaply.

4. Do less laundry. I used to throw everything in the wash at the end of the day, even if it wasn’t really dirty. Now I check, sniff and put it away if it can do another day. I need to make my daughters do the same as sometimes they seem to change every half an hour and stick their barely worn clothes straight in the wash bin!

5. Batch cook – make double the chilli or bolognese, casserole or pie and freeze half for another day. I definitely need to do this more as I don’t like ready meals.

6. If you are going out for an errand, think about what else you can do whilst you are out. This has the added bonus of saving on fuel and cutting down on  journeys. I need to work on being more organised for this one.

7. Cook from scratch if you can, but cheat whenever you need to!! I am thinking here of Knorr’s marvellous Flavour Pots, which very quickly make a nice meal out of meat and some veg, but also Aldi’s stir fry sachets, the odd bolognese sauce jar, Chicken Tonight casserole sauce, etc. I don’t use many convenience foods as they are expensive and full of rubbish, but there are some notable exceptions that are definitely worth a try.

8. Lower your standards! You don’t have to clean the skirting boards every week, for goodness sake. As long as everything is basically clean, that is good enough.

9. Tidy up as you go along. It is so much quicker to do a brief clean if you don’t have a load of clutter to clear up first.

10. Get the family to help you. A woman’s work never is done if she has to do it all herself. I am the worst for this – I get so fed up with having to nag the troops into action I figure it is easier to just do it myself. BIG MISTAKE.

11. Don’t waste time procrastinating. If it needs doing, just get it done. I have to give myself a good talking to on this one 🙂

12. Plan all your meals and be ready with something suitable for those nights when you know you will have no time. Make a shopping list based on this plan, and buy everything you need in one trip a week to the supermarket.

13. Stick to your shopping list and don’t get waylaid by ‘bargains’. This saves you time AND money.

14. Research and grow plants that need little maintenance and watering.

15. If you need to go to the supermarket or the shops at the weekend, go early, beat the crowds and save time waiting at the till or to get into or out of the car park.

16. Create a folder of healthy, quick and tasty dinner recipes. As Shirley Conran used to say, ‘Life’s too short to stuff a mushroom’!

17. Have a routine. If you know what you are doing when, you don’t waste time trying to work out what you need to do next 🙂

18. When you are watching TV, do something else as well. File your nails, pluck your eyebrows, mend an item of clothing, answer your emails, knit or crochet something.

That is all I have time for….I would really welcome your time saving tips!