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Fighting The Mom Brain

I wouldn’t say that I was ever SUPER organized, even before kids. But I did, at the very least, manage not to miss appointments or show up 20 minutes late to everything. I remembered to call my mom and didn’t have to overnight birthday presents because OHCRAPISTHATTOMORROW?

Now, though? Now I feel like the biggest space cadet to ever walk the earth. I forget everything. And I really, really, hate that.

I tend towards anxiety as it is, but add to that worrying about what I’m forgetting, worrying about what I forgot, and my stress dial goes to 11. Which, of course, just makes me more absentminded.

As the kids get older, they have school days and appointments and playdates. I work part time out of the house and, besides showing up to my classes, I need to grade and review lesson plans. I’m on the co-op board of Xander’s preschool. I sometimes coordinate events for a Mom’s group. I have blog posts to write.

My life isn’t any busier than any other parent’s, but it can still feel incredibly overwhelming.

So, here are the systems I have tried:

  • iCalendar
  • Google Calendar
  • Any.Do App
  • Evernote App
  • iPhone reminder list
  • Making Siri yell at me
  • Post-its
  • Day planners
  • Writing on my hand
  • Weeping into a glass of wine

So far, none of these things have helped me to stay organized. I have tried so many “systems” and apps and whatever else you want to call it. Some of them work for certain things. I like Evernote for project listing (like packing for vacation). I like reminders on my phone when I’m out and about and think of something and don’t want to forget it. But nothing works all together. And nothing allows me the reminder/calendaring aspect of planning along with my need to make lists for things like groceries, books to read, emails to send, gift ideas, etc…

So here is what I am trying now: Bullet Journaling. I have read a lot of posts about this over the past several months (this is the one I’ve found the most helpful by far).  And here is a great video that gives a nice overview of what the concept of Bullet Journaling is:

Bullet Journaling lets me keep an ongoing task list and calendar, as well as keep my “other” lists all in one place.  I’ve been doing this for just over a month, now and I can say that it is helping immensely. I have my monthly to do list, daily to do lists, and other lists that I would normally write on the back of a junk mail envelope all in one place. Some of my “other” lists are: ideas for essays/texts to use in my class, future dates (where I can write down things that are coming up too far out to put in my monthly calendar), summer activity ideas.  Having one cohesive system, instead of odds and ends in multiple apps and lists and books, is nothing short of wonderful.

MomBrain

And it’s also relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to the multiple apps I have tried and discarded. All you need is: a notebook and pens. You can add things like washi tape or tabs to embellish it if you like, but it’s certainly not mandatory.

The trick, for me, is to keep up with it and be diligent about updating it and checking my progress. I need to be sure to write something down the moment I get an email about it, or the moment I think of it, rather than waiting, because the chances are I will totally forget.

Anyone else struggle with staying organized post kids? What have you tried to combat it?

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11 Responses to Fighting The Mom Brain

  1. Nissa April 17, 2014 at 7:25 am #

    Boy can I relate! I use a journal of sorts as well, but I LOVE this idea of bullet journaling and having different sections. Why didn’t I think of that?! I think I’m going to have to give it a try…thanks for sharing!

    • Emily April 17, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

      I know! When I started doing it I was all “DUH.” SO obvious. And yet.

  2. Gretchin
    Gretchin April 17, 2014 at 8:13 am #

    So fun and easy!! I love it!! It’s similar to my planner but sooo much simpler!! I have to try this!

    • Emily April 17, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

      Yay! Try it! The index is the big key. I love being able to jot down notes the same place I keep appointments.

  3. Jennifer April 17, 2014 at 3:22 pm #

    FILOFAX!!!!!!!!! 😀

    It is an organizer with a huge and supportive following. A lot like Erin Condren’s Life Mapping system. I love it and am really enjoying feeling part of an organizing community! I switched over to pen and paper after I tried out a bunch of apps that just didn’t do it for me!

    • Emily April 17, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

      Yessss. I am an app addict. I love apps. LOVE them. But to do/organization ones? Just don’t work for me. And I so wanted them to!

  4. Elissa April 17, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

    This is a great idea… I’ll give it a try! My favorite thing ever (sarcasm font) is sitting up in a panic minutes after my head hits the pillow at night and scrambling to find a scrap of paper to write the random todos I just remembered…

    • Emily April 17, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

      RIght? Sets you up for such a refreshing night’s sleep.

      • Elissa April 19, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

        I just read a billion blog posts / loojed at pinterest pictures / watched that video, the. dragged my two crazy kids to Barnes and noble to pick out a worthy notebook, then sat down to jot out my to-do list as it stands (from all my various reminder systems)… My to-do list is so overwhelmingly long.. Lets just say I hope this system works! I need it.

  5. Trish April 17, 2014 at 8:31 pm #

    I absolutely love this concept! I am a pen to paper kind of organizing gal but in general, a lot of stuff stays in my head. Too much stuff. I am definitely going to try this and i have a feeling i am going to love it. Thanks for the great idea. Hope your wine is weep-free tonight!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Bullet Journals and the Creative and (Mostly) Organized Mom - November 19, 2016

    […] Are you a list maker? Do you have lists of lists? Do you have sticky notes stuck all around? Half-used planners from years past? Do you ever stop conversations to write something down? Are you a visual learner? Do you love using a planner? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may love Bullet Journals! […]

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