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amother




Aubergine


Post  Thu, Apr 20 2017, 12:56 am
I need real people who HAVE a system to please show me the ropes. I think a lot of people can just keep track of their lists/calendars/stuff more naturally the way I did when life was simpler and that's great for them, but I need someone with a system to teach it to me because I don't think you can teach just naturally being on top of things!

My usual list-keeping is just not keeping up. Let me give you an idea of what I'm talking about. The details are why I'm anon for this, not because I'm embarrassed of my lack of coping!

Work takes me to different locations with different contact people, and I have take-home work of different kinds at different times.
I have a child with some special needs who needs various after-school appointments.
I have some red tape tangles (health insurance, etc) that is like some kind of crazy phone-and-mail scavenger hunt.
Then there's all the regular stuff - tax returns, school applications, camp forms, health forms. Planning food, buying it, preparing it, sending things to school. Doctor and dentist and allergist and dermatologist and all that. Laundry and wardrobe management.
All the little things that won't burst into flames if you forget them but you really should do, like writing mitzvah notes, homework help, fixing this favorite thing that tore/broke, setting up playdates...

So first of all my lists are exploding and my head is spinning.

Then there are things like right now I need to make myself a dentist appointment to resolve an issue before it gets worse. I was supposed to call and make the appointment today but I was just frozen. I looked at my calendar and couldn't figure out what to do - take off from one or more of my jobs especially when I just missed almost two weeks for Pesach? Take precious limited after-work time? Looking at the next two weeks I have 3 nighttime commitments (leaving kids around bedtime...), four after-school therapies for child, one afternoon appointment that cuts off my last work session as well as leaving my kids with a babysitter all afternoon, and one midday appointment that will cancel my middle work session which will have to be made up who-knows-when. So of course I couldn't pick up the phone to call the dentist's office, what was I going to say when the receptionist says "when would you like to come in?" or "I have next Wednesday afternoon, can I put you down for 2?" and I'd just be like AAAAAAHHHHHH I DON'T KNOOOOOOWWWW! I know this because it happened to me already a couple of times before and was EXTREMELY EMBARRASSING!

So I'm in search of the magical planner strategy that will help this not happen, or at least help me handle it more effectively when it does happen.
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amother




Lawngreen


Post  Thu, Apr 20 2017, 1:23 am
I don't think you need help with time management systems. You need someone to help you either learn to delegate or cut out completely things that are not important. You do ***NOT *** sound incompetent at all. You sound legitimately overwhelmed because you are over burdened.
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amother




Aubergine


Post  Thu, Apr 20 2017, 1:38 am
I have a very small family, few kids, not old enough to help significantly.
I already delegated most of the technical housecleaning to a cleaning lady who does all the floors, bathroom, and kitchen once a week.
Cutting things that are not vital means that my kids never get mitzvah notes or homework done. Seriously, there's nothing else unimportant to drop.

I am legit overwhelmed but also a lot of it is poor management. When I sit down to start getting things done I first waste time being overwhelmed trying to figure out what to do first. I spend a lot of time going over my lists and also trying to sift out my brain from all the little things that didn't make it onto the list. If I try to make a list of the little things I get overwhelmed, but there must be a way to organize them because having them fly around my head isn't working either. I must have spent nearly an hour tying myself into knots over this and then posting about it on imamother and redoing my list because things changed since the last time I made it before Pesach, and meanwhile it's almost 2 am and I really should have showered and gone to sleep long ago but I just realized I was so busy trying to figure out when to squeeze in a dentist appointment that I STILL didn't make the kid's snack and write a mitzvah note. Going to do that now and then get to bed, late and tired, and figure out tomorrow when it comes but I really need some organizational help to get out of this mess for the future.
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amother




Lawngreen


Post  Thu, Apr 20 2017, 1:44 am
I have the same problem, tbh. Following...
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avocado7









  


Post  Thu, Apr 20 2017, 2:59 am
I like the idea of a life coach.
Life is hard.
I suggest turning to Hashem 1st and beg him to help you .Without hashem we can't go on, or do anything.
I have some suggestions. Let me know how it works out.

1). Shopping .
In pencil.
Make a simple menu for the week. (Suppers mainly) Write down from your menu a shopping list. Relaxxxx.it helps you to focus.
Shop it for the week. Cook it daily. you could keep this list for always !!
Fish could be changed weekly into many different ideas.Same as mince meat meatballs.burgers.
meat loaf.sloppy Joe, stuffed into pitta bread ,pasta n meat.

2).Things to do list.

3).Always Best using a pencil and an eraser. On paper .So it's mobile with and on you.
Across the top,
Mark out days Sunday to Friday
Then mark times on the left
From when you need to get up ie: 7.30am until you go to sleep. 11pm ? Hopefully not too late. Iyh
Then go ahead and fill in your daily commitments. This can be changed weekly or as needed. Like this you'll begin to relax and feel more in control. Iyh
3).Inside home or outside jobs. keep a separate list .
4).People to "phone" separate list. In order of priority.
Write it out and buy individual magnets to attach to your fridge.
Your very normal don't be embarrassed !!
If you could lighten your burden do so.
Let me know how it's going.
😃
You can choose but that's about 4 separate lists.
Then hopefully your mind will be focused.
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amother




Indigo


Post  Thu, Apr 20 2017, 7:15 am
amother wrote:
I need real people who HAVE a system to please show me the ropes. I think a lot of people can just keep track of their lists/calendars/stuff more naturally the way I did when life was simpler and that's great for them, but I need someone with a system to teach it to me because I don't think you can teach just naturally being on top of things!

My usual list-keeping is just not keeping up. Let me give you an idea of what I'm talking about. The details are why I'm anon for this, not because I'm embarrassed of my lack of coping!

Work takes me to different locations with different contact people, and I have take-home work of different kinds at different times.
I have a child with some special needs who needs various after-school appointments.
I have some red tape tangles (health insurance, etc) that is like some kind of crazy phone-and-mail scavenger hunt.
Then there's all the regular stuff - tax returns, school applications, camp forms, health forms. Planning food, buying it, preparing it, sending things to school. Doctor and dentist and allergist and dermatologist and all that. Laundry and wardrobe management.
All the little things that won't burst into flames if you forget them but you really should do, like writing mitzvah notes, homework help, fixing this favorite thing that tore/broke, setting up playdates...

So first of all my lists are exploding and my head is spinning.

Then there are things like right now I need to make myself a dentist appointment to resolve an issue before it gets worse. I was supposed to call and make the appointment today but I was just frozen. I looked at my calendar and couldn't figure out what to do - take off from one or more of my jobs especially when I just missed almost two weeks for Pesach? Take precious limited after-work time? Looking at the next two weeks I have 3 nighttime commitments (leaving kids around bedtime...), four after-school therapies for child, one afternoon appointment that cuts off my last work session as well as leaving my kids with a babysitter all afternoon, and one midday appointment that will cancel my middle work session which will have to be made up who-knows-when. So of course I couldn't pick up the phone to call the dentist's office, what was I going to say when the receptionist says "when would you like to come in?" or "I have next Wednesday afternoon, can I put you down for 2?" and I'd just be like AAAAAAHHHHHH I DON'T KNOOOOOOWWWW! I know this because it happened to me already a couple of times before and was EXTREMELY EMBARRASSING!

So I'm in search of the magical planner strategy that will help this not happen, or at least help me handle it more effectively when it does happen.


Wow! You are running a three ring circus! You are amazing!

Is it possible for you to slow down this marathon and catch your breath?

It's imperative to objectively look at all your jobs straight in the eye;
are they bringing me enough money that I can have more help/nanny/personal Secretary to manage house finances insurance etc. (you can get one for less than $200 a week)? Or at least am I working for a more comfortable future here?

Do I enjoy this hectic life so much that even it doesn't leave breathing space and it doesn't bring in enough to take enough help, is it still reasonable to me?

I think what you are looking for isn't better management skills but more CLARITY.
I hope you find it.


Last edited by amother on Wed, May 03 2017, 12:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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amother




Aubergine


Post  Thu, Apr 20 2017, 5:04 pm
Nanny? Secretary? LOL I got myself the three hours a week of cleaning/household help because of the generous workload. Forgot to mention I'm also lucky I have a relative on my block who acts as a sort of mother's helper with the kids sometimes. So I'm not always juggling all this at the same time as taking care of kids and everything, the main problem is trying to fit it all in somewhere.

When do I get to ask questions like if I enjoy this hectic life? I didn't choose it. I need to make a living and this is about as good as it gets in my circumstances. I would prefer to cut a few hours from my workload because it would be worth the money to have more time and space to breathe a little but I don't have that option. My employer is willing to do it but they just haven't been able to find anyone to take over the role I want to drop.

I had amazing hashgacha just now, my work cancelled one morning next week so I right away called the dentist and they were able to put me in right then! Whew!

Separate lists - you have no idea. I currently have about 5 separate lists (not including grocery/household shopping, which is on the fridge and under control because it is very simple - all things to buy, buy them all on shopping day, simple) - I have people to call, computer/email/internet tasks, outside errands, around the house stuff (not including everyday things like laundry - more like things that need fixing or long term storing), and long-term goals. The lists are cross-referenced with details on the reverse of that sheet - e.g. reference numbers for when I call back about an ongoing issue.

The problem is anything that's not an urgent crisis falls off the bottom of the priority list because there are always too many urgent crises, and as a result I'm not getting anywhere and too many things are never getting done. I have had the same phone calls on my list for MONTHS and it's really not OK but they were never more urgent than, say, when your health insurance is declined at the pharmacy and you need to get that fixed and that requires playing phone tag for a week straight with follow up calls a little later.
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amother




Seafoam


Post  Thu, Apr 20 2017, 5:20 pm
What helps me is not getting too bogged down figuring out what to prioritize etc. Just pick something relatively easy and do it. Move on to the next thing. Any thing. Momentum builds and things are smoother and easier to tackle that way IME.
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emzod42









  


Post  Thu, Apr 20 2017, 5:39 pm
I don't know if you're looking for a tool for keeping track of tasks, but I use the google tasks add-on in gmail and Google calendar and the app on my phone. I can make multiple lists and access from anywhere. I always have a daily to do list, a shopping list, a long-term goals list, event-specific lists, etc. I try to periodically add a less urgent item to my daily list so that those get done too eventually. I've also heard good things about evernote.
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amother




Aubergine


Post  Thu, Apr 20 2017, 5:41 pm
How do you add tasks to google app on phone? I keep thinking it's a major hole in the google suite! I can make reminders in the calendar app but there's no way to even look at a list of reminders, they just disappear until the notification!
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crust









  


Post  Thu, Apr 20 2017, 5:46 pm
amother wrote:


I had amazing hashgacha just now, my work cancelled one morning next week so I right away called the dentist and they were able to put me in right then! Whew!

Wow I'm super happy for you!
May you merit to see more and more hashgucha.
Hatzlucha
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amother




Aubergine


Post  Thu, Apr 20 2017, 5:54 pm
Well if I have too much more of that type of hashgacha then I'll have a huge budget deficit especially with Pesach just past but right now I'm feeling relieved!
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Rutabaga









  


Post  Thu, Apr 20 2017, 6:04 pm
I use my phone for a lot of things.

I have a calendar connected to my Google account, so that's accessable from both my phone and my laptop. I have an app called Keep which makes it easy to make lists or notes and keep everything organized. I also keep my weekly grocery list on my fridge, but I keep another list of things I would buy at Costco or Target or Walmart so I have it with me if I have a few spare minutes to run in one day.

Do you use email a lot? I have folders for different categories so I can find things more easily. If I want something to stand out as a reminder then I'll mark the message as unread once I've already seen it.
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emzod42









  


Post  Thu, Apr 20 2017, 6:05 pm
It's a separate app from the calendar app. Called "tasks free" (and there's a pay one with no ads). I have the extension in chrome, gmail, and in calendar so it syncs from there.
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amother




Aubergine


Post  Thu, Apr 20 2017, 6:07 pm
Thanks.
Rutabaga, can you explain how you use Keep effectively? I have it also because I have the full set of Google stuff but I don't find that Keep helps me at all. It's just a jumble. And you can't date or prioritize tasks or move them from one list to another... I just don't get the point. I used it for a few things and those were pretty much the things I forgot to ever do because they were lost in the jumble.
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amother




Ruby


Post  Thu, Apr 20 2017, 6:40 pm
I make lots of lists. I rarely use my phone or computer for lists (actually, I use my computer, but I then print out the lists) - I like to see everything in front of me on paper.

Here is my system (which many will consider crazy, but it works for me):
BTW, I work outside the home, have no cleaning help, and have young children, but not a large family.

1) I have a list saved on my computer of things that need to be done each and every evening such as making lunches for school, washing dishes, etc. I print out multiple copies of that list so I have one for each night, and I cross off as I go along. It keeps me focused when I am exhausted and overwhelmed.

2) I have a list saved on my computer of things that need to be done on a weekly basis such as grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning the bathroom, etc.

3) I have a master list of all the things I need to do. I try to keep it on one or two pages and use different corners for sections such as errands, phone calls, work-related, etc. When it gets too messy, I redo it. Often I have one page for work-related and one for home-related.

4) Each week I print the list of weekly items (see #2). Then I review my master list (see #3) and pick out the things that really need to be done that week, and then also pick a few less urgent ones if the week doesn't look too maxed out. I copy those items onto the paper with the weekly things. Then I know that that page contains all the tasks for the week, and I try to put the rest of the things on the master list out of my mind. If something comes up during the week that is urgent, I add it to that page.

5) Each evening, I write a list for the next day. I do that by picking the items off my list for the week that need to be done that day (or that I am able to fit in that day). This can include (for example): dentist appointment, drug store, do laundry, make certain phone calls, wash the kitchen floor, organize my kids' clothes for the next season. Then I just focus on those items that day and try not to think about the other things on my list for the week, unless I miraculously have a windfall of extra time. Then I go back and pick more things off my longer-term lists.

Many days/weeks, I don't finish everything I put on the list, but I generally get the really urgent things done because I see them in front of me on my list for the day/week, and the rest I just push off to the next week. If I find I have a lot of things that keep getting pushed off week after week after week, I try to make a special effort to choose one or two of those things to knock off each week.
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amother




Lawngreen


Post  Thu, Apr 20 2017, 7:53 pm
Ruby- that was amazing! Is there a book you got that from, if not, write one!
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amother




Ruby


Post  Thu, Apr 20 2017, 8:19 pm
amother wrote:
Ruby- that was amazing! Is there a book you got that from, if not, write one!


Thanks! Didn't get it from a book. Took lots of trial and error to come up with a system that works for me - still a work in progress.
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amother




Lavender


Post  Sat, Apr 22 2017, 4:48 pm
I totally relate! I have a kid with a medical condition who gets therapies, I have my own medical conditions which require lots of appointments, I have a more than full time job with lots of clients and work both at work and at home. . .

I don't do lists. The reason is because lists don't tell me when to do things, so they don't work for me. Also, I hate making lists more than anything (I have no idea why).

I have an online calendar which I can access from anywhere. I keep it on 'week view' - and this is what makes the difference. Every week, I put down all the things I have to do spread across the week. This includes things like "J's PT appt", "my blood test", "call client P", "lookup facts abc for work", "email client V, and even things like "call hospital to schedule dr appt for June", or "take care of bank transfer for x" or "send that form back to the occupational therapist". Each time there is a specific appt made (e.g. pediatrician tomorrow at 2, or dentist on Jun 18 at 4 pm), I put it straight on the date/time it is supposed to be. Anytime I don't get something done on a certain day, I move it to the next day (or day after or week after, whatever is appropriate). If something comes up anytime, I just put it straight into the calendar right then, even "remind husband that he has to make lunch tomorrow morning because I won't be home". I also have running reminders (e.g. every Thursday I have a reminder to defrost the chicken for shabbos). Sine the calendar is online, I have access to it at all times, and since it's just one calendar for everything, I can see everything at a glance. Mine even has the option for color coding (e.g., diff color for each family member and/or work clients). Since I have a smartphone, I can access it from there and it also gives me reminders through my phone. If there are things that are very time sensitive, I also put a regular alarm on my phone (e.g., 1 horu before a dentist appt).

I also want to say, that it sounds like systems aside, you have more to do than you have time for and you could probably benefit from the help of a time management professional (like a personal organizer). I have been toying with this idea for months, and I hope to get one soon (despite my good system, I think that I am not managing my time well, and this has nothing to do with keep track of what needs to be done, but rather that I don't always allot my time properly because I'm just bad at it.).

Good luck!
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amother




Aubergine


Post  Sat, Apr 22 2017, 10:12 pm
Thanks for the ideas!

I am very open to the idea of a time management professional. No idea where I would find someone who can meet my needs. And then calling them to make an appointment would go somewhere down on my list under all the pressing urgent things Wink

Example: Everyone knows tax returns have to be composed and filed every year sometime between January and April. January I was all set to go but still needed to wait for documents to come from my employers. I didn't receive all the documents until mid-February. Since then it has literally been one thing after another, or maybe more like 10 things on top of another, straight through now. I ended up filing for an extension at the last minute (on chol hamoed.) It's one of those things that's important to do but it was never The One thing that Had to get done Today. So it didn't. I did work on a few parts here and there but I need a good couple of hours to just sit down and focus on the whole thing at once. It looks like I may have time for it one night this week, unless some more critical things come up, but I'm still frustrated that things like this keep happening.
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