S.H.E.s with ADD

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Last time I promised to share the system that helps keep me on track and organized. I confess I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit lately, but there was a time in my life when I had 3 school aged children, a totally organized home, and a clean one that took little effort to maintain. This is the system that got me there.

S.H.E. stands for Sidetracked Home Executive, a term coined by Pam Young and Peggy Jones, two sisters who wrote “Sidetracked Home Executives, From Pigpen to Paradise”. Here’s the link in Amazon; you can get it for a penny!

This book is easy and fun to read – I’ll bet you relate to Pam and Peggy as much as I did. My favorite all time quote from the book: “We were never on time, but we always made an effort to be late earlier.”

Briefly, here’s how the system works (at least how I remember it; it’s been a while since I’ve set this up):

You start with 2 sets of 3×5 index cards; one white, one multi-colored. Get a box to hold them and 2 sets of dividers: 1-31 and Jan-Dec. Those of you who scrapbook could make this project totally cute, but don’t get lost in the creative process and forget why you’re doing this! Oh, and allow yourself a few days or even a week to finish this; otherwise you”ll be overwhelmed. Don’t expect it to be perfect, either. It will take some actual use to fine tune the system.

Each color of your multi-colored cards represents a category. I use pink for personal things like doctor’s appointments for me or haircut appointments. Green is money related, like making a deposit or balancing the checkbook. Yellow is for things I do daily, like the dishes and blue is for things I do weekly, like mop the floors, change the sheets, etc. Organize yours in the way that makes the most sense.

Now go through each room and decide what needs to be done to keep it looking nice. If you have to make a declutter card for every room, do it.

List only one task on each card and if it takes less than 15 minutes, label it as mini or use some other way to let you know this is a quick, easy task. Sometimes when you have a few minutes, you can get something done quickly, and knowing something only takes a few minutes is a good motivator.

For the first few weeks, you may have to time yourself to see how long things take. Pencil in how long you think it takes, and then time yourself. You’ll be surprised!

Here’s how I fill a card out:

Weekly Mini 5 minutes

Clean upstairs bathroom counters.

Here’s an image from The Brat Factor, a site that offers pre-printed cards for sale:

You can also read more about other women who use this system at 50’s Housewife and Moms the Word.

Since this is a long post, I’ll finish telling you about the system tomorrow.

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Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of Lacyestelle.com and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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