It’s also a gift and a curse, but today we’ll focus on the gift portion of efficiency. Here are my best tips for making our homes run more smoothly!
1. Make a to-do list
I never start a day (that I want to run smoothly) without a to-do list.
2. Stick to the to-do list
Don’t veer off your list. When you made your to-do list, you set your priorities.
If cleaning the basement isn’t on your list for today, then move past that cobweb as you change the load of laundry. You’ll get to that cobweb when the task becomes important enough to make it to your list.
3. Big things first
It’s not about how much you can fit into your day. It’s about taking care of the most important things first, and remembering that every need is not your calling.
Clutter begets clutter. By clearing your flat surfaces as a rule, it decreases the temptation to just keep adding to it.
5. Deal with paper as it comes in
Because you keep flat surfaces clear as a rule, you’ll be more likely to deal with paper as it comes in. No more paper piles on the counter adding to visual clutter and stunting your creativity and productivity.
6. Make a meal plan
Meal planning guards against the 5 o’clock freak out. Knowing what you’re going to have for dinner each day helps you plan your grocery trip, stay inside your budget, and relieves stress from your everyday decision making needs.
You know what to expect when it comes to a task that takes a good portion of your time each day because you made a plan.
7. Think about dinner early
Then each morning, you can think specifically about the meal plan for that day.
If you need to pull out some meat from the freezer, you can do that while it still has time to thaw out. If you need to soak beans for dinner, you can get that started so you can put them on to cook in the afternoon.
Thinking about dinner early in the day makes the end of your day much easier!
I make it a rule to do one load of laundry at a time – from start to finish. I don’t put in a new load of laundry until the first round is put away.
9. Create routines
I’m all about systems and routines. Creating a routine that works for you will help you run your home much more smoothly. Routines put mundane tasks on auto pilot. The less you have to think about the more efficient you are.
10. Prep the night before
As part of my evening routine, I make my to-do list for the next day before going to bed. I pull out breakfast dishes, lay out clothes, and pack any bags needed before going to bed.
Getting ready for the next day the night before is always a huge help in making my house run smoothly.
By the way, I talk at length about preparing the night before (and other everyday tips for being intentional) in my eCourse teaching to be more intentional every single day.
11. Make your bed
Making our bed jump starts our routine, and it always makes each room 75% put together by this one simple task.
12. Get dressed everyday
Don’t stay in your pajamas and expect to be productive. Starting my day dressed and feeling pretty goes a long way in helping me to be more productive!
13. Put something in the giveaway box regularly
We keep a “running” giveaway box handy in our home.
As I get dressed in the morning, I’ll pull a shirt out that hasn’t been worn in a while and toss it in the box. While brushing my teeth, I might declutter a bathroom drawer. As we move through our day, if I find anything that we don’t need, love, or use, I add it to the giveaway box immediately.
Less stuff always means more efficiency!
When you enter a room to clean, always work your way from the top to the bottom.
There are two reasons for this:
1) Gravity – dust and grime fall down as you clean
2) Routine – doing the same thing over and over is far more efficient (are you catching on yet?)
15. Don’t multi-task
It’s tempting to think that multitasking is the most efficient way to get through your day, but it’s not. Focusing on one task at a time will help you work more quickly and efficiently.
16. Finish what you start
Not multitasking means you need to finish what you start. Don’t move onto something new until you’ve finished the current task you are on. You’re not finished with breakfast until the dishes are done. You’re not finished getting dressed until the dirty clothes are put away and the bathroom wiped down. Finish what you start. Completely.
17. Keep your sink clean
Keeping your kitchen sink clean and clear means you’re always ready for the next task. If you always finish what you start, making it a rule that breakfast (or lunch or dinner) is not over until the dishes are done, then you’ll always have a sink ready to receive dishes.
18. Clean something
I don’t keep a regimented cleaning schedule. I have found them to be hard to stick to and when I miss a day (and I always miss a day or two or three), I have a hard time picking back up where I left off. Therefore, I’ve adopted the rule to just clean something every day. You can see my cleaning routine here.
19. Keep everything in its place
Nothing should be floating around your house. If it doesn’t have a home, then it’s likely not something important. You find a place for those things which are important. If it’s floating around, you need to deal with it. Find it a home, give it away, or throw it in the trash. Deal with it and make sure everything has a home.
20. Put down the phone
We check our phones far too often throughout the day! We do not need to be as connected as we are, and I’ve found that checking my phone is just a really fancy way of procrastinating my next task.
Plus it’s just an addiction. We are slaves to our phones. Not good. We’re called to be slaves to One Master.
Procrastinating tasks doesn’t make them go away. Sometimes we just need to eat the frog and do the hard thing. Being disciplined to do what we know we need to do will help our homes to run so much more smoothly. Build good habits!
22. Delegate a lot
Your are manager of your home. Not doer of all things. If you have children, let them help. Talk to your husband about how he can help around the house. We like to do family clean up at the end of each day to keep our home tidy without overwhelming Mama.
23. Create a time budget
You can learn how to create a time budget here. Tell your time where to go. Not the other way around.
24. Get some sleep
Don’t neglect this all important tip! I know that sleep is something that’s first to go when it comes to running a home and raising children, but we must be diligent to ensure a healthy amount of rest. Sleep gives our bodies and minds time to rest and renew. Rest is essential to being fruitful in our daily lives.
25. Lower your expectations
Don’t be one of those who say, “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done right.” Let it go. Lower your expectations if you need to. Allow others to help you and help others by being a gracious woman who puts relationships before tasks.
26. Embrace interruptions
Interruptions are the moments created and fashioned by God for not only His glory but for our good. Remember: People. Not tasks.
Household chores aren’t meant to be hurried over in order to get to the next thing. The washing of dishes isn’t meant to be rushed. Slow down. These dishes represent people who have eaten their bellies full – your family, your cherished ones. The dishes, this moment is a gift. Why do you hurry through? Homemaking is not meant to be done quickly.
28. Give yourself grace
When it comes down to it, it’s not about being better homemakers. We can’t pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and be better or more disciplined. We simply can’t do it (whatever “it” is) in our own strength with our own idea of success.
I know you want to bring glory to God in all you do. I know you want to make your home run more smoothly for His glory, creating a home that makes it impossible to not think about God.
But can you do me a favor? Can you give yourself grace? Can you stop trying to get your home straight in your own strength and in your own ways?
God loves you enormously just the way you are! He wants more than an organized home and well-thought out routines. He wants all of you, all the time. He cannot get enough of you! He loves you!
When God looks at your house, does He see His glory on display or your own? What do you want people to see when they enter your home? What about the people who live there?
Do you want to live intentionally every single day?
Since I’ve been asked for years how I manage to live intentionally every single day, I put my best tips together into an eCourse. Intentional By Grace Unplugged consists of my ten best tips for living intentionally every single day. These ten tips have been tested and tried and proven successful time and time again in my own life. If life starts spiraling out of control, when I start suffocating under it all, I go back to these ten basic steps. And slowly but surely, I can breathe again! Who doesn’t want to breathe better? Click here to learn more!