If you feel like you are drowning right now, break out of overwhelm by learning the best ways to better organize your life!
It seems like life is crazier than ever, for everyone.
There is just so much that you have to do, so much you feel like you should do, and a decent number of things you’d like to do. Not to mention the fact that you’re doing a lot of solo parenting while keeping track of your husband’s unpredictable shifts, trainings, and everything else that goes along with law enforcement life.
With all that on your plate, how can you keep your head above water?
The secret is making sure you’re as organized as possible.
I know this very well because I am far from a naturally organized person – which has driven my husband crazy in the past. It’s something I’ve had to work on over time and as I’ve done so, I have definitely felt better and more relaxed.
I feel more in control of life and less like things are taking me by surprise.
When you organize your life, your load may not go away – but feeling less frazzled definitely helps that load feel lighter!
Here are some tips I’ve learned on how to organize your life so things go as smoothly as possible.
How To Better Organize Your Life As A Police Wife
Pray – a lot.
Remember, God is interested in the minutiae of your life. If He knows the number of hairs on your head (Luke 12:7), you can be darn sure He knows the demands on your time and your ability to meet those demands.
The means that when you feel overwhelmed and like you just can’t possibly take any more, turning to Him for advice is a great way to go.
Even when you’re not overwhelmed He is a great place to turn of course, but He promised to give you rest when you’re overburdened (Matthew 11:28), so lean into that promise.
In addition to giving you a sense of peace, God can also provide you with direction for your days. He knows better than you do which demands are most important and which can be put off for later (or shirked altogether) with no fallout.
I know that when I let the Spirit guide my days rather than relying solely on my own judgment, things go a lot more smoothly – and that’s true whether it’s a super busy day or a lazy day at home.
Use a planner.
My planner is my life. I swear, I start to panic a little when I can’t find it because I feel I’ve lost all purpose to my week.
It’s just so comforting to have my to-do lists all in one place. It means I don’t have everything swirling around my head all day. The tasks are “out” and I don’t have to worry I’ll forget about them.
My personal method for using my planner is writing out my to do list along the edge for the week, then each night, I plan out which of those things I want to get done the next day.
Do things always go as planned? Of course not.
Shifts change, kids get sick, things come up – but having that rough plan is extremely helpful.
I would even argue my planner is even more helpful when plans go awry. In the chaos of the unexpected, it helps me know where I left off and where to pick up from when I finally get my head above water.
I even have to do lists written in advance for time-sensitive things I’m thinking about that I want to stop freaking out about, like stuff I want to remember for next school year or ideas I have for Christmas gifts, or “get new toothbrushes” written 3 months out each time I buy new toothbrushes.
As I schedule appointments for myself, my husband, or my kids, I write them down in advance on the day they’re supposed to happen so I don’t forget about them. That way, by the time it’s the week of, I can plan things around it.
Having things written down also helps when scheduling appointments so I don’t end up accidentally double booking myself.
In previous years I’ve used the Living Well planner from Living Well Spending Less and I’ve liked it, but I switched this year to a Christian Planner and I think I like it better. It’s a little simpler and I love the verses throughout! I also like that it’s pre-dated so I don’t have to do it myself.
I’m also a fan of the daily habit tracker to help me remember to take my meds every day and work on other goals like drinking more water or getting more steps in.
What planner works for you completely depends on your personal preferences, like:
- Whether you want to be able to bring it with you on the go or leave it on your kitchen counter.
- If you want it spiral bound and able to be turned back on itself or hard-bound with the distinct benefit of the pages being less likely to fall out.
- If you want special pages like diet trackers or meal planners.
While some of this you’ll know and some you’ll figure out as you get in the groove of using a planner, here is a great resource to get started choosing a planner.
Regardless, having a planner is super helpful in making sure you don’t forget important things as they come up.
Get some solid routines in place.
This is something I’ve only recently been able to start to tackle, and it’s mostly because I have overthought it in the past.
Before, I tried to literally write out hour-by-hour what I wanted to get done each day. By day 2, I would get discouraged because, shockingly, my precisely planned schedule was already ruined.
Rigid routines have just never worked for me, especially now that I have kids. It just doesn’t mesh with my personality. I thrive with a little more flexibility than that.
What does work, however, is general routines.
For example, in the morning, my kids usually wake up and watch some cartoons while I get ready for the day.
After that, I usually get some breakfast ready and unload the dishwasher.
The rest of the day? We mostly play it by ear. We have some normal activities and rhythms, special plans on some days, and whatnot, but we don’t have specific things each day we “must” do.
My routines don’t resume until the evening, when the kids and I clean up their toys, we do their bedtime stuff, and while they’re falling asleep I listen to a devotional via earbuds.
After they’re asleep, at some point in the evening, I fill the dishwasher, get ready for bed, and look at my planner for the next day.
Do I sometimes fall out of these routines? Sure. Sometimes nothing gets done (see: kids, above).
But as soon as I can, I try to get back into my normal rhythms and it makes me feel a lot better.
Your routines will probably look different from mine depending on your family’s needs. That’s a good thing!
Regardless of what the specific routines look like, though, getting into these habits helps you you stay ahead of the game. When everyone knows what to expect at approximately the same time each day, there’s less surprise about it happening.
It’s also nice to not have these things on my to do list anymore because they’re just part of my normal routine. It feels like I have less to do even though I’m doing the same amount.
The definite side note here is by knowing what to expect, my kids are a little calmer, too. That’s a huge plus.
This can be tough to figure out, especially if you’re naturally disorganized like I am, but intentionally formulating routines is a great way to better organize your life overall.
This is one of the things that has made the biggest difference in my organization level. I’m far from a minimalist, but I do recognize that the less stuff I have around me, the less stuff I have to keep clean and organized.
This goes for my clothes, my kids’ clothes and toys, art supplies, soap and lotion, and, well, basically everything in our house.
Some of the things I do that can help you organize your life:
- I’m not someone who has a “capsule wardrobe” for each person in the house, but I do know what colors I like and I stick to them. That joke about “what’s black, white, and red” is pretty much what my laundry looks like every time.
- I don’t keep clothes I only “kind of” like, because it’s a waste of space that I could be filling with clothes I truly love. That doesn’t have to mean expensive clothes, either (in fact, I usually thrift shop), but it just means clothes I actually enjoy wearing and feel good in.
- With kids, I tend to only buy plain, neutral-colored bottoms so that all their favorite tops go with whatever bottoms they choose. I like knowing they get the freedom to choose without looking like they escaped from the circus. This might change as they get older, but while it’s in my control, it makes things a lot easier.
- When it comes to socks, I try to get single-color socks per person because then we don’t have to spend as much time matching them up.
- Each member of our family has two towels of a single color – that way we know which we can reuse and have a better idea of how long they’ve been out. It’s the best decision we’ve made and one that has totally lessened our laundry loads!
- I try to buy toys that are multi-functional. For instance, I never buy race tracks for my kids because I know they’ll get bored of them super fast and then they’ll just take up space. I prefer things like blocks, magnetiles, and animals or action figures instead, where the toys can be played with lots of different ways.
If you struggle with this, you can do what I do for motivation and watch a few episodes of Hoarders. You’ll be inspired to toss half your stuff and scrub your house top to bottom – trust me.
Need a more intensive guide to having less stuff? Here’s a super thorough guide to decluttering your home.
Doing everything yourself is tiring. Luckily, you don’t have to (even though it might feel like it sometimes!)
There are lots of ways to outsource miscellaneous jobs and save yourself some time, energy, and sometimes money.
For instance, we recently started doing grocery delivery from Walmart. I was resistant to doing so because it was extra money and such, but since about 20 weeks pregnant with baby #3, I became totally over hauling groceries up three flights of stairs.
For just under $100 a year plus 10% in tips each grocery trip (personal preference but this is my standard), I could get groceries delivered to me, rather than heading out with kids in tow each time.
It’s been incredibly helpful.
One unexpected benefit of this service is that I spend less in groceries overall because I don’t impulse buy as much, because I have fewer opportunities to do so. I can also more easily put stuff back when I go over budget without the embarrassment of doing so in the checkout line.
You can also take advantage of their pickup service, which lets you grocery shop through the app, then pick-up at a designated Walmart location.
The pickup service is free – and I’ve used it in the past – but again, pregnant + 3 flights of stairs = delivery instead for me.
Nonetheless, it’s a good option if you want the convenience of shopping online and don’t want to spend extra money each year or have to tip delivery drivers.
Want to try out Walmart delivery or pickup? You can get $10 off your first order of $50 or more by clicking here.
However, that’s just one example of something you can outsource to save time.
Maybe you can hire a neighbor kid to take care of your yard work (whether that’s mowing the lawn or shoveling snow) or clean your house once a week.
Maybe there’s a mom you can childcare swap with when you need some time to get things done without little people in your way.
Get creative: you’re bound to be able to find something someone else could do to save you time and free you up for other, more important things.
Lower your expectations when necessary.
Sometimes our overwhelm is completely unnecessary. Sometimes it comes because we have taken on way more than we can or should.
Sometimes, in order to properly organize your life, you need to pare down a little.
Do you really need to make a homemade treat for your kids’ birthday celebration at school, or can you swing by the grocery store and grab premade cupcakes?
If you promised to bring someone with a new baby dinner this evening but have run out of time, there’s no shame in picking up some pizza for them.
You are under no obligation to be superwoman. “Just enough” is totally enough if it leaves you with enough time and energy to do the things that are most important, like being emotionally there for your hubby and kids.
If you expend all your energy being 100% in all areas of your life, no matter how important they actually are, you’re going to end up depressed, overwhelmed, and miserable.
Be okay with being “just okay” in some areas of your life. It’s incredibly liberating.
If the idea of all these tips make you feel totally overwhelmed, just pick one or two things to focus on first. Doing a little at a time is way better than trying to overhaul your whole life then burning out because you bit off more than you could chew!
In any case, when you better organize your life, especially as a police wife, you will no doubt feel a million times better about everything on your plate!
- 4 Things To Do When You Feel Overwhelmed By Police Wife Life
- 5 Things To Do About Your Anxiety As A Police Wife
- Emotional Self Care Ideas For The Overwhelmed Police Wife
- 3 Ways To Set Healthy Boundaries With Anti-Cop Family Members
- The Best Devotional To Strengthen Your Faith During The War On Cops