How to organize your papers (and the rest of your life) once and for all with a weekly paperwork review…
Call Your Mother. For Real. She Misses You.
Is all your paperwork sorted? Are you ready for the next step?
I know, I sound like your mother, checking to make sure you took out the trash like you were told. Sorry.
Seriously, though, did you take out the trash? We had onions for dinner, and it stinks.
If you’re just starting this series (Home Management 101), check out the links below to see my previous posts. In those posts, I started sharing my journey from paperwork hot mess to household manager extraordinaire (IMHO).
And don’t forget to wear a coat. And wash your hands. And for God’s sake, call home once in a while!
I talked about:
- Making a unicorn (office supply) box,
- Effectively using a calendar to remember to save trash,
- The way to sort papers and get a handle on the actionable (and merely sleeping) papers in your life.
And I suggested a way to transition from a visual system (i.e., leaving stuff out everywhere) to a system where papers can be tucked away but not forgotten.
Now, we’re nearing the end. These last few steps took my papers from a box full of anxiety to a mind-calming, organized plan.
The primary idea is that each week, we are going to review every moving part required to oversee our households.
Yes – this is the Weekly Paperwork Review I’ve been referring to in my other posts.
This intro post gives a glimpse of how I review my paperwork every week, now that it’s sorted out. It goes from a box of I-have-no-idea-I-hope-there-isn’t-an-expiring-lottery-ticket-in-there to a box simply containing backup documentation to a written plan.
As you progress and get more used to doing this, your Weekly Paperwork Review will eventually cover everything. You will lose that underlying “what did I forget?” anxiety.
Basically, these next two posts are going to help you:
- Review items on an overall Weekly Checklist to create the rest of the Master Plan.
- Then take that Master Plan and efficiently schedule your week around it (Weekly Action Plan).
Try not to get hung up on these ominous-sounding names. I could just have easily as named these posts Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
I gave the lists intense-sounding names to make it, hopefully, clearer what each one does.
And also so you would take me seriously.
No, for real.
Or Screeches. And Occasionally Clunks. We Really Need a New Washing Machine.
While my laundry hums along on Sundays, I sit down and manage my week using these tools:
Reminder Lists (optional):
These lists remind me of regularly occurring things I need to buy or do. They are optional, but crazy helpful.
I brainstorm reminder lists of regular but non-routine tasks and things I’d like to remember each week.
By non-routine, I don’t mean one-offs – I mean they may occur each week (or may not) but might fall on different days each time.
By keeping these lists on hand during my Weekly Paperwork Review, it saves brain and memory power. Both of which I need to preserve as much as possible.
My reminder lists include:
- Possible phone calls I might need to make to schedule appointments or for other reasons
- Possible errands
- Supplies we use frequently, such as groceries, pet supplies, and medications
Mine no longer include weekly routine tasks or cleaning lists. I have those as their own routines that don’t require reminders. But if you don’t already do those things routinely, then you can list activities and cleaning jobs you do regularly on a weekly basis.
I agonized over how to do this. I really did.
I finally decided that instead of giving you a straight up Weekly Checklist post, I’d present the pieces of the checklist along with the part of the planning they belong to.
So instead of a separate post on the Weekly Checklist, it will be an integral part of two separate posts instead.
One less post for you to read.
Don’t say I never did anything for you.
This is how you chunk out your household management planning for an overview of what you need to accomplish this week.
Weekly Action Plan:
This is the schedule of actions you will complete and when.
A weekly routine is helpful to complete this Weekly Action Plan, but not necessary.
Don’t worry – the four parts work together and don’t need to be approached rigidly.
I, personally, cannot follow a rigid system. I suspect that’s true for you, as well. If I’m told I have to do something a certain way in a certain order, I immediately rebel.
Instead, these lists serve as a framework with reminders. They prevent me from dropping the ball or constantly playing catch-up.
Because I plan my week this way, I can take time to craft or create DIY projects or go to the movies (Avengers: Endgame – so excited!). I can even, as we did a few weeks ago, take advantage of a last minute resort weekend paid for by someone else. Without worrying if I should be doing something else.
If you want to get a jump on your own week, pick a day when you can devote some uninterrupted time to brain-related tasks. Just keep it consistent. If you do Sunday one week and Tuesday the next, you might realize you missed an important appointment or due date on the intervening Monday.
When you get to this point in managing your household, you cross into a more productive zone where you no longer rely on sifting through a pile of papers over and over to remind you what to do next. The papers themselves are no longer the physical reminder of what to do.
You won’t have to detour far around the pile in case a snake is waiting to lunge out at you (it could happen). Because you know you have a plan to address everything in there.
Reviewing your paperwork responsibilities each week wraps all those nerve-racking papers up into one neat little package. Those whiny little papers can just have some nap time and leave you alone. You’ll deal with them on your own terms now.
The next post in the series is waiting patiently to take you to that level…
Quiet time, whiny little papers. Mama’s gonna kick back on the deck.
P.S. I’m excited to say the entire series is finished and posted.