We've been sick since the second week of December. No joke! I think this is cold #3, though I've lost count. It's Ambrose's worst cold ever, actually. He's past the really blah stage, but his nose runs constantly, and he coughs and sneezes, and has trouble sleeping because he gets so congested when horizontal (as a result, I am writing this with him here in the Ergo asleep in front of me!).
You might remember that in my December daybook I talked about how pleased I was with my new, joyful commitment to running a tight ship - well, as you can imagine, that fell by the wayside in the last month and a half, as I've been trying to rest, but now I'm getting back into it as I'm not so sick I'm in PJs all day, and while still feeling unwell (nose-blowing, muscle aches, etc.), I feel better if the house looks good.
One key I've discovered is having my chore schedule accessible but not quite public. What I mean is that for me, I need to avoid either having it up on a wall, or chalkboard, or whatever (because then whenever I have guests I get all self-conscious that they're reading it and realizing that the day's chores aren't done, making me feel like a loser; once my very jolly and loveable grandfather actually ragged on me: "Mop?? Not done! Laundry? Not done! Geeze Amy what's the point of this list??"), and not somewhere that takes more than 2 seconds of effort to get out (my list has been in a binder, in a basket, on my cookbooks shelf - too finicky to get out, too risky to keep out with a baby around). The other key is to rely entirely on Christ, to set out to glorify Him and just enjoy myself, rather than impressing anybody or doing housework because I feel pressured to do so - therefore starting the day in prayer is very important for me.
So I made myself a two-sides 4 x 5 card with my schedule and goals for housekeeping on one side and my morning prayers (two of my favourites, a morning offering and a prayer of St. Bonaventure I often pray after receiving Holy Communion) on the other side. Ambrose and I sat down with watercolours and each had a gay old time working on our projects. It's taped to a stiff, thin piece of cardboard and taped all over with packing tape to make it more or less waterproof. Both sides have some free clipart (from here and here) and lots of colour to make them pretty.
It's propped up near the sink in my kitchen so I can refer to it as often as I like, and it will fit easily into an island drawer if I am having company and I'd rather it be inconspicuous.
I've uploaded the document I used to google drive, here, so feel free to use the format if you'd like! You'll have to customize it of course, but I'd be delighted to know it was being used as a springboard. If you're not religious you could always use a favourite poem, or other inspiring bits of prose, as well as other clipart from sites like The Graphics Fairy, or photos, or whatever!
It's quite small, so mine only has things I need to really work on in terms of discipline - daily routines with the baby are totally omitted, as are things like diaper laundry and running the dishwasher (things I'm not tempted to skip). You really want the card to have all of, but only, the things you might otherwise forget/neglect to do when feeling overwhelmed, every room seems dirty, your toddler is making all kinds of noisy trouble, etc.: it's very grounding to return again and again to your list and pick one concrete thing to do next. It's also very comforting to be able to sift through the dozens of possible projects that occur to you which "need" doing, and to be able to address many of them with dismissal, "No, you happen only tomorrow/Friday/next week! I just have one room to deal with today!". In fact, the limiting power of the schedule card is one of its main strengths - being able to focus totally on one room, and knowing that you have an orderly schedule that will, in good time, deal with the other messes that crop up, translates into a lot more peace and freedom in the domestic order. It's insurance against feeling overwhelmed or despairing.
If you're new to chore schedule planning, I recommend a pencil draft stage for one to two weeks before printing so that the real flows and bottlenecks in your home will be adequately addressed in your schedule. Be sure to account for regular company days, market days, days you know you have more people around to tackle tricky things, days family members bring home work clothes/gym clothes to wash, etc., and if you have a car you might want to include a tidying-up of the car as well. Remember, this is just weekly cleaning, not things that only need doing every month, season or year! See these Martha Stewart lists for some ideas of what an expert says needs doing at those frequency.
And now a picture of Ambrose being handsome... just because.