Giveaway details are found after my review!
In 2014, we welcomed a fourth child into our family, complete with two clubfeet and many trips across the country to a specialist (all fixed now!), we continued our homeschooling journey, and I began to dream about a research-based homeschool teacher training blog that I wanted to create. But I felt mired to move forward by the day-to-day chaos of a large family, large education goals, and the intense needs of a newborn. I needed a way to un-stick my brain in order to begin moving forward again.
I was given the opportunity to review a Getting Things Done based program adapted for home management: The Mind Organization for Moms E-Course (M.O.M.). As a disclaimer, I acknowledge that I requested a free copy of this program to review, but my review is my entirely honest opinion of the program.
I began using the 2-Week Jump-start program just before Christmas, so it ended up taking me a bit more than two weeks to complete. Before beginning, I was dealing with a home which had papers on literally every horizontal surface. I lovingly referred to this as my “heap system.” Organizing my papers meant rotating them from heap to heap in an effort to feel productive. I found myself re-writing curriculum plans, routines, and evaluations because it was easier than finding the ones I’d already made, or I had simply forgotten altogether that the work was already done and somewhere in my heaps.
Within the first two assignments of the Jump-start, I began to feel a difference, mentally, in my stress level. It was truly incredible. By the time I completed the program and knew how to process all of my post-its, journals, scraps of paper, and very-special-you-can-never-throw-this-away! drawings from my kids, I was able to feel much more mentally present in my daily life- and that ALONE is worth the price of the program.
First Love: The Inbox. The inbox is wonderful. It is literally just a box, and every scrap of paper that does not require immediate (in the next few days) attention gets tossed into the inbox. And I can relax, knowing that I have a set time to process it, and a set system to process it into. The heaps are gone, in one fell swoop!
Second Love: The brain dump. This is one of the first exercises to go through. Most of us are juggling some HUGE number of plans for the future: things to do, things to consider doing, things that we need at the store, things that we might someday need at the store, oh wouldn’t that be a fun outing for the family, don’t forget to send that birthday email, look 15 healthy recipes for the slow cooker, have I received all of my orders from Amazon yet, don’t forget the oven light needs replacing… You get the idea. And following the instructions in M.O.M., you simply dump it all out of your brain and onto paper… which goes in your inbox to process.
Third Love: The Processing. As taught, I pick a set time and day to process the inbox. I deviate slightly from the instructions, in that I do sort like papers together, rather than working top down. I do this because it seems 99% of the papers in my inbox fit into just a few categories and are easy to batch process.
- I pull out all 57 of the very-special-keep-forever drawings at once, hole punch and file. (Hint: make yourself a binder for these, and when it’s full, try paring down if you can bear it, otherwise put the date on it, and stick it in the basement or attic until you have grandkids to show it to)
- I pull out anything related to homeschooling and set aside for a different processing system. Same with papers related to Homeschool Laboratory.
After that, I do just work from the top down, with my tools next to me: my planner/calendar, my Actions lists, a pad of paper and pen, and the other components of the M.O.M. system. There is truly a home for each thing, and by the time all is processed, I have a list of things to do now and to do when I have time, date sensitive material is on a calendar, and each little idea, note, or dream is put where it belongs.
I think the biggest lesson though, is to realize that organization is not a “thing you do” and then are done with. It is an ongoing project. But M.O.M. teaches you how to do project planning! Make sure you define organization as one of the projects in your system, and regularly schedule actions to keep your organization moving forward.
How I have adapted M.O.M. to fit my life:
The nature of my life is that I have several BIG projects that are ongoing and serve as umbrellas for a number of mini-projects, which can theoretically be completed. I then have a number of mini projects (like planning a birthday party) that are short-term and have set end goals and dates. Rather than using hanging files as suggested, I have been using these fantastic grouped file folders (multi-files) sold at my local grocery store. I have no idea if these things are available in the US or not, but hopefully! This allows me to group by ongoing project. My mini-projects go into my weekly review folder.
I feel like I could use a little more help in establishing routines, without needing to add them to my Immediate Action list each day. I found this article on the M.O.M. website very helpful for thinking through my housework routine. The Mind Organization for Moms course that I used is specifically about creating a system for streamlining paperwork, planning, and task management, but the y also offer a number of other courses related to home management and motherhood. Now that my paperwork and task management are under control, I feel I have the energy to dig deeper into creating the family culture I want for my loved ones. Power of Moms offers a number of additional courses, in addition to excellent free content.
And now… for the GIVEAWAY!
One lucky reader will receive a full M.O.M. E-Course, which includes the M.O.M. in Two Weeks jumpstart course!
- In order to be eligible for the giveaway, you need to do the following two things:
- Subscribe to homeschoollaboratory.com. You will find instructions for this on the left sidebar. And not to worry! You can unsubscribe at any time (after the giveaway is finished, that is!).
- Leave a comment on this post, answering one of the following questions:
- What has been your biggest stumbling block in past organization attempts?
- What is your biggest challenge with getting things done?
I will leave the giveaway open until Saturday morning European time (1:00am Saturday in CA). Then, I will close comments on this post and use a random number generator to pick a winner! The winner will be announced here on the blog Saturday morning, as well as contacted by email.