Save. Spend. Splurge.

How do I manage a full-time career, life, and family?

Got this question from Sense to Dollars:

You seem to be extremely prolific and efficient and organised, esp at work and with this blog–what is your secret?!? Do you procrastinate on anything?


I had to really give this some thought… but it is little things like this:

A) Looking for ways to cut back on unnecessary tasks

  • Dry shampoo to extend my hair washing when it is hot and humid (but does NOT replace actual freshly washed hair)
  • Vacuuming every other week instead of weekly
  • Blogging ONCE every other week or every 2 weeks for 4 hours and pounding out posts until my brain is fried; I also make notes during the week about blog post ideas and then type them all out with a basic skeleton so when I sit down, I can just follow my initial thoughts and structure

B) Making lots of notes:

  • Weekly reminder to toss the towels in the wash before leaving for work then drying them when I come home
  • Same: weekly reminder to soak my whites before leaving for work, and then when I come home, doing a quick wash & dry
  • Making lots of notes about things I have to get done so I don’t lose track of them and sorting them into categories (e.g. House, Car, Baby Bun, Work, Blog so I can see at once in each category what has to get done)

C) Combining them into one big task such as:

  • Washing dishes every other day or third day
  • Doing ironing ONCE A MONTH — yes I literally let my clothes pile up and then go through all of them at once, when I have the iron out, hot and set up. Much easier. Plus I have tons of clothes so this works out well.
  • All the dry cleaning goes out once a month
  • Combining all my notes: E.g. Return X, need to return Y, need to pick up Z, and drop by Post Office for stamps — all turns into a 2 hour errand where I do all 3 at once. I don’t just do one errand at a time.
  • When I need to do my budget, I make a ton of Budget notes, and then I sit down ONCE a week to compile and enter all of them instead of doing it here and there. Each 15 second task if I were to do it each time I need to, gets cut down in half if I group it all together, as I am already concentrating and working on the pile.

E) Not doing things that suck up a lot of time:

  • I have been surfing a LOT less on my free time, like a LOT less. I used to read a lot of blogs in Feedly and surf randomly but this has gone down to once a week if at all.
  • Do not bother with my hair — I cut my own hair (and it looks AWESOME, I get complimented a lot and I just smile and say thank you without mentioning the DIY), I don’t dry it (I just let it airdry), I don’t curl it, style it, or mess with it, I just let it do its wild thing.
  • Do not bother with my nails — I just put a coat of clear polish. If I had more time, I’d bother with a proper colour or something, but for now, clear shiny coats look like I have done something and don’t show chips easily
  • Do not bother with the stigma of not being a super Mommy who makes her own soap and basically lives to serve child — I am the best I can be. I need my own time to myself too and I already spend a lot of time with Baby Bun.

He and I sleep like this at night:

D) Multi-tasking only when appropriate:

  • I suck at multi-tasking when I have to really concentrate, but if I am sewing on a button, I can watch a video, or listen to a podcast which then snowballs into a blog post idea or helps me calm down.
  • I do not multi-task when I need to concentrate like write posts because I NEED A BRAIN to do it.
  • At work, I listen to music or podcasts when I am doing repetitive tasks and don’t need to allocate a lot of brainpower to what I am doing (e.g. analysis)

That’s about it…

Lastly, this is something I’ve observed in myself … and my brain works in blocks. I have had to work for many years to get my brain to think in a logical, rational way where tasks are independent or interdependent on each other —  “If I do X, then I need to do Y, then double back to Z, so why don’t I do Z first, then X then Y?”

Now I just do it naturally. The best trick to learn how to get it done and focus on organizing your life is to just splotch it all down on a big To Do list then sort it out.

Some other posts I’ve written on this topic:

Still have a burning question?

You can ask any question using the form here and all of my previous Ask Sherry posts are here.


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