Home Management Binder, Control Journal, Household Notebook: It doesn’t matter what you call it, having it helps keep all the tasks involved in homemaking in front of your face when you need them to be, but off your mind when you don’t. It’s usually done with paper, but can it be adapted for the technologically savvy? Or at least the technology-owner? Can it be done with an iPad, Netbook, smartphone, iPod Touch? It certainly can.
Series to Date
A Daily Routine
In all my moving over to the electronic format, I ran into the most trouble precisely where I have run into trouble with each and every iteration of a plan and system: following the plan in the day-to-day flow of life.
I don’t have the routines or habits that I need for keeping house well. I can organize and systemize all I want, but the state of the house and my mind actually depends on the sum of those little daily habits like making my bed, running a load of laundry, and washing dishes.
So, I need something to refer to along the way, a reminder of what it is I am supposed to be doing when. I’ve had several paper iterations before, and this year so far I have tried 3 or 4 different options. I have settled on the best option for myself now, but I will lay out the different options open.
Evernote: the plain list
If you are happy with a simple list to work off of, then maybe all you need is a note in Evernote or other note taking program. Write out the routines you are working on and simply refer to it as needed. Easy, simple.
Unfortunately, it is also not very aesthetically appealing. The formatting options in Evernote are quite limited, and I like my formatting. I admit to preferring a few bells and whistles.
But if you don’t, then this is a fast, easy, and simple choice.
Paper: the concession
For about a month I thought that perhaps I needed one paper concession in my digital system. Sometimes too much screen time glazes the eyes and muddies the mind. Moreover, the physical act of writing helps cement concepts in the mind.
So, I played with several options, and of course made my own. The daily docket idea is that the evening before or first thing in the morning, you sit down and sketch out your day. I love the idea, but I don’t have that space carved out of my days, and it just really wasn’t my priority to make that time happen. So, the daily docket wasn’t quite the answer, because it requires upkeep, and that’s what I am trying to minimize.
However, if you want to give it a try, there are several lovely options online:
HomeRoutines: the app
I mean, why have an iPod Touch or iPad if you aren’t going to use some apps, right?
HomeRoutines is a great, flexible, pretty app for our purposes. I did actually pay for this app, because as I looked it over, it met all my requirements:
- It is completely customizable
- It has a reminders/alert feature
- It will email a report at the end of the day
- It is easy to use, straightforward, and pretty but simple
You can set up however many routine lists you want, when you want them to reset, and what days you want them to show. It comes with a basic preset list which is good, but you can make it completely fit exactly how you want to use it, too.
You can set notification reminders to pop up on each list (or only on certain ones), and the time. A little interruption can help get unfamiliar routines off the ground. Plus, it has a 15-minute timer built in, so you can open your list, turn on the timer, and see how much you can get done before it goes off.
The really nice thing about HomeRoutines is that it resets every morning. There is no going back to a previous day and no going forward to the next. It is all about today. Every morning, it’s ready to go. Every day is a fresh start.
The secret is one I know, but have yet to master.
Any set up works if I work it.
Ayup. So helpful a secret, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, it’s true.
So, right now I’m trying to get myself to work the HomeRoutines set up, and the reminders do help.
Keep the Plan
In April, after this series and my Convivial Home series is wrapped up, I intend to run a little 4-week challenge for myself and anyone who wants to join. Mondays we will share what routine or habit we will work on that week, and on Fridays I’ll open a link-up about the week. Plus, on Twitter, we can use a hashtag (#keeptheplan) to post updates. Anyone up for it?
Personally, I need the accountability. I’ve been slipping again lately.