Last Updated on by

Are you a working woman? 

Are you a Stay-at-home mom? 
Are you constantly snowed under commitments related to work, 
housework, parenting, chores, cooking, cleaning and more?
 Are you a robot?
Have I got your attention yet? Ok, then I can do away with the bold font and the italics 😉
I belong to a unique breed of mothers. I am the Stay-at-home-mom-who-holds-a-flexi-job-and-works-from-home-sometimes. Oh and I blog too. Across two blogs. And run two active Facebook groups. YES, I said that. It’s a real thing!
So, it stands to reason that I am always busy and unable to take calls, respond to text messages or acknowledge the flood of jokes that are delivered to me via Whatsapp. I ought to be strung up from the nearest tree.
I have always been a bit of an organiser. Blame it on numerology. Apparently, those born under the number 6 are designed that way. Without actually getting onto the sticky wicket of whether or not numerology works, let’s just say, I love to organise. 
Which is why it came as a rude shock to me a few months ago to discover that I had no idea where I had put away my favourite yellow top. I also could not find my list of blogging ideas that I had meticulously written down in a notebook that was lying unused in my daughter’s desk. I positively cried when I realised that a personalised, author-signed copy of an anthology was missing!
That’s when it hit me. I had fallen into this littered wasteland of dis-organisation and it hurt. Mostly, my ego took the largest bruising, I must admit. So, instead of weeping buckets (which I did anyway), I rolled up my sleeves and decided to tackle this in the best way possible with the strongest tool at my disposal.
The simple time management trick that actually boosts your #productivity! #WAHM Click to Tweet
{Pin this post for later}
Time management Tip on Pink Background with white star
I am a time freak. I need to be everywhere on time. Sometimes, before time. Which looks positively weird, especially if it is at a birthday party and I am sitting there in the party hall, before the hosts have arrived.
I was reading my copy of The Happiness Project and realised that getting organised with all our commitments was not difficult, but just needed some dedicated discipline. So,  I adopted the ten-minute tactic.
Assume you have a task, say, putting the washed vessels away into the shelves. If you really think about it, it takes only ten minutes. But, it is so boring! So, what did I do? I found a song that I loved, which was all of ten minutes and 23 seconds long, played it in the background and set about completing the task before the song ended. And it was done! With two minutes to spare!
The same goes for any of the routine tasks. Making a bed, folding the laundry, writing down to-do lists, they all take only ten minutes. What happens is we multi-task and that doesn’t get ANY task done.
So, once I understood this, I did the following:
  1. I got myself a diary where I could write everything down. (Insert joke about ‘diary of doting mom’ here)
  2. I write down my list each Sunday, planning for the week ahead.
  3.  I make a list of things to do everyday.
  4.  I take them in chunks of three and space them out over the whole day. 
  5. I set my timer for ten minutes, complete one task and head over to the next.
It would be wrong to say that my life is completely back on track. I still cannot find that yellow top or that blogging ideas notebook. But, I DID find the author-signed copy when I cleaned out that one shelf last Wednesday! Yay! So, you know that this works!

*Featured & pin image courtesy: Shutterstock

This post contains links to the Amazon affiliate program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. You can read my complete Disclosure policy here. 

Shailaja V

Hi there! I'm Shailaja Vishwanath, a blogger with 12 years of blogging experience and a parent to a teen. I work as a digital marketing and social media consultant. From positive parenting tips to useful productivity hacks, social media advice to blogging advice, you'll find them all right here. Welcome to my blog.


Cathy Graham · January 20, 2015 at 1:57 pm

I appreciate your blog post, Shailaja and can sure relate to that scattered, disorganized feeling. Often I start projects and then leave them to go do something else. It results in a chaotic mess both physically and in my head. I'm trying to get better about actually finishing things for that feeling of accomplishment and achieving my goals. I still need help though. I like that ten minute idea. Must try that.

Beloo Mehra · January 20, 2015 at 2:02 pm

Glad that you found the signed copy of the book! And I so agree about those boring but necessary tasks like putting away the washed utensils, folding laundry etc 🙂 Sometimes I find even answering the door bell tedious when I am in a certain state of flow of reading, writing, sleeping, doing nothing. And no, I never ever acknowledge those jokes on what'sapp. Nor do I ever send those to anyone 🙂 But you know the biggest thing is – I still am not organized and I still am unable to do things I must do in my day. Maybe I should try numerology 😉 O well….thanks Shailaja for the ten minute timer tip. I must try that one!

Aparna · January 20, 2015 at 2:03 pm

You are the last person I would give organizing tips too, but you might enjoy checking out the Flylady website as well in this context. Didn't I tell you I'm a fount of endless ideas ;). It's the implementation where I slip up :P. She has a 15-minute timer concept for clearing up things, and lots of interesting terms thrown around as well. I LOVE the idea of listening to a song during that time though, will definitely try that out when I err actually get around to doing something :).

Rachna · January 20, 2015 at 2:09 pm

Uff, I am so disorganised when it comes to chores that I dislike like cleaning, dusting, folding clothes etc. But with things I like I am more organised. Let me try your 10 minute trip.

Vidya Lohith · January 20, 2015 at 2:20 pm

Oh music is what I rely on too, when in the kitchen. As much as I love food I hate cutting the vegetables.

Kathy Combs · January 20, 2015 at 2:57 pm

Being me, I am not very organized on a whole. Granted I tend to know where stuff is amid my creative clutter, but I am no neat nick by any stretch of the imagination. With that said, I think you have taken excellent steps to get your organizational mojo back.

Usha Menon · January 20, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Very thoughtful post. Even though I don't do things myself, I keep an eye at every thing that goes on in the house. I also maintain a list.

tulika singh · January 20, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Lord Shailaja you said it. I could do with ANY tip. I often find myself looking around for stuff that I think I've put away safely. So safely sometimes, that I never find it at all till the time I stop needing it. Will try the 10 minute thing for sure. And music works big time for me. I even do a step or two while cooking!

Nabanita · January 20, 2015 at 4:07 pm

Ohh well I try to be as organised as possible… But sometimes it all goes awry Shailaja! sigh!

taleoftwotomatoes · January 20, 2015 at 7:23 pm

Great ways to get organized! I sit down with a pen and paper, and….that's it! I hope I can try better! 😛

Carol Graham · January 21, 2015 at 5:57 am

Sometimes I think I am over organized yet I find ways to be even more organized! My secret is what my father taught me and I think of it every single time I want to put something off or not complete the task at hand. It is: Do It Right — Do It Now · January 21, 2015 at 8:39 am

'A little bit of an organiser' ? Shailaja – I demand that the word organised be banished from the dictionary and instead it be re-christened – Shailaja 🙂 That's how organised you are. And to be honest, they are helpful tips. Sadly for me, I find peace in chaos – go figure !

elly stornebrink · January 21, 2015 at 8:45 am

My organizing tips would be: (1) write down a list of what needs to be done and prioritize and (2) if you are a female, you can most likely (better) multi-task items and (3) don't leave your library books under things or else they become overdue (as happened with me…$5 worth!) 😉 I like your idea of setting a timer for 10 minutes though and like you, I sometimes play music and/or sing while doing dishes for example. Certainly makes it less tedious. 😉 <3

Keirthana · January 21, 2015 at 9:53 am

I do the song thing all the time and I love making lists and checking them once they are done.

Kalpana Solsi · January 21, 2015 at 5:31 pm

I am a fairly organised person and if I do not get hold of a thing I do not fret or fume but allow things to settle down. and later I manage to to get hold of the missing item minus the irritation and tension. but this took time to practice.

Shailaja V · January 21, 2015 at 5:32 pm

I can actually relate to that too. Which is why this diary idea is such a blessing. I look forward to sitting down everyday and organising my thoughts around the day's work. Such a pleasure 🙂 Hope this helps you too, Cat 🙂

Shailaja V · January 21, 2015 at 5:34 pm

You are not organised? I find that very hard to believe, Beloo 🙂

Shailaja V · January 21, 2015 at 5:35 pm

That sounds like a fabulous website. Thanks! And yes, music is what unites us, right?

Shailaja V · January 21, 2015 at 5:36 pm

That is SOOO true! Things I like, I make time for them. Chores, never mind. Hmm, you just gave me another idea. Maybe we should blend a chore with a thing that we like, you know, music and a chore pairing 🙂

Shailaja V · January 21, 2015 at 5:36 pm

There are days I even hate cooking 😉

Shailaja V · January 21, 2015 at 5:37 pm

I certainly hope it sustains for a much longer time, Kathy 🙂

Shailaja V · January 21, 2015 at 5:37 pm

That must be an equally challenging task, Usha ji! I am in such awe of your capability!

Shailaja V · January 21, 2015 at 5:38 pm

Zumba steps you mean? I am actually picturing you right now 🙂

Shailaja V · January 21, 2015 at 5:38 pm

Tell me about it 😉 This is not always going to work, but 8 times out of ten is good enough for me, Naba 🙂

Shailaja V · January 21, 2015 at 5:45 pm

Good luck, Shalini. You can do it 🙂

KParthasarathi · January 21, 2015 at 7:14 pm

I was just wondering what if you lose/misplace the diary where you jot down the things to do as you did with the autographed anthology or yellow top.Life is not to run like a well oiled machine.Some hiccups add to its thrill.But I loved the idea of background music though without a timer!!
An enjoyable post.

Suzy · January 22, 2015 at 10:35 am

Oh wow Shailaja you are ever so organised. The only list I carry is to the supermarket other than that I pretty much go with the flow. Music however always inspires. I like to sing when I'm at home doing the chores.

Sanch LivingLife · January 23, 2015 at 3:09 am

Well, I'm not a mum but given my busy social life, study and work, I NEED a diary. I'd be lost without it. I have an organiser for all appointments and reminders and also add some social ones to my phone {Thank you Google Calendar!} I have a separate to-do list for things at work and home and cross them off as I go. And in spite of all that, there aren't enough hours in the day to do everything!

Shailaja V · January 23, 2015 at 6:49 am

I love your secret mantra, Carol. How lovely! Do it right now 🙂

Shailaja V · January 23, 2015 at 6:54 am

You are too generous. I am organised, yes, but I tend to do a lot of things at once and that's where the problem lies. 🙂

Shailaja V · January 23, 2015 at 6:55 am

Music always lifts my mood, Elly. Glad it is the same for you too 🙂

Shailaja V · January 23, 2015 at 6:55 am

Good to know there are others like me 🙂

Shailaja V · January 23, 2015 at 6:56 am

Practice makes all the difference, doesn't it, Kalpana ? 🙂

Shailaja V · January 23, 2015 at 6:56 am

Good point, KP 🙂 But, it is a HUGE diary, so I cannot really lug it around everywhere, so that one is safe 😉 Thank you for reading 🙂

Shailaja V · January 23, 2015 at 6:57 am

Suzy, I think it is in the blood, somehow. My own sister is the exact opposite though, so I am not sure anymore 😉

Shailaja V · January 23, 2015 at 6:57 am

I hear you! Not enough hours in a day is my bane too!

Vinitha Dileep · January 23, 2015 at 1:52 pm

Liked your organizing tips, Shailaja. Especially the music timer! 🙂 I am not much organized, though I keep a To-Do lit. That's one thing I do every morning, write on the To Do list, and drinking tea. 🙂 I so need to get a diary and start getting organized. Keeping up with you guys is going to be impossible otherwise. 😉

Shailaja V · January 31, 2015 at 8:51 am

Thank you for the lovely comment, Vinitha. Yes, having a diary really helps. It also cuts down on the amount of time you spend staring at a screen and that, we agree, can be such a boon!

Vidya Sury · February 2, 2015 at 10:27 am

I have the organizer bug too, Shailaja! 🙂 But strangely I find everything. I have laser eyes inside my head I think! 🙂 I've let lists run my life for years and they're my bestest friends, next to my pressure cooker.

I do hope you find that yellow top soon! 🙂

As Aparna said the Flylady website is fabulous. The trick is to actually follow all that! I remember being subscribed to it for years and sending all the good stuff directly into a folder for a “later” that never came. 🙂

And by the way, if I am looking for something and cant find it, I go nuts


Daniel Nest · August 9, 2015 at 3:27 pm

Aaaaah! More lists! I'm already OCD when it comes to writing “to do” lists and then writing to do lists that tell me to update to do lists. If I have to handle any more lists, I'll have to have a separate diary where I plan the creation of those lists. I…I have issues.

Shailaja · December 19, 2017 at 6:37 am

Thank you all for reading! I am glad this was helpful!

JayanthyGovindarajan (@JayanthyG) · December 19, 2017 at 4:17 pm

I love this idea Shailaja. I have tries it with the 5 minute timing. It’s true it works, but somehow its for the most productive days. I love it that time. Otherwise, I am a disorganized, chaotic person. My husband on the other hand is a organized person who has no other choice but to share room with me. Once in a while, my mind will shine up and need this boost. That time will definitely help me. This one tip will definitely make my day! You are definitely very organized! I wonder how it will be if I meet you!

    Shailaja · December 19, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    So glad. I highly recommend daily journals as a habit to help build on organisation. It’s very useful 🙂

Tarang · September 15, 2018 at 9:26 pm

I use timer for my writing {and it works}. Never thought to use it while doing household chores. However, I make lists — weekly or sometimes daily. It helps. I am very bad at managing time or I should say managing myself when it comes to things I don’t enjoy doing. Will try it. Thank you for sharing.

    Shailaja · September 16, 2018 at 7:36 am

    Oh It works for anything actually. Breaking up tasks onto 10 or 15 minute chunks is exactly what motivates us to get them done. Bite sized and hence doable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!