Cary Farrell

Organizing Daily Tasks Gives You More FREE TIME

by Cary Farrell
July 22, 2019


Life is a balance of doing what we MUST do so that we can do what we WANT to do

I hope you were inspired by last month’s Organize Me newsletter to consider how you and your family work together as a team to manage and maintain your home.  Last month we talked about how to make a list of home responsibilities and to delegate and share those responsibilities to live happily and well in our homes.  Life is a balance of doing what we MUST do so that we can do what we WANT to do. Managing our homes is not often on our “fun” list but it is required if we want the freedom to do what we want to do.  


To increase our free time, there are basic tasks we all must accomplish to function well

In the next few months, I want to encourage and challenge you with some strategies for getting some of your basic tasks accomplished so you can function well.


These basic functions include:

  • Eating

  • Laundry

  • Keeping a clean and functional environment

  • Dealing with the paper that threatens to drown us


We eat, wear clothes, clutter our homes, and receive some kind of paper every day.  If you can tackle managing these basic functions, you can increase your productivity and your free time!  If we don’t have a clear functioning plan for things that we do routinely, we will waste loads of time stumbling through our day and our life.  It doesn’t have to be difficult or detailed but there does need to be a clear plan to follow.  If you want to take a trip to Hawaii, you can’t just load up in your car and start driving and hope to end up there one day!  You need a simple plan to follow.


{Warning:  Soap Box Rant}

If you didn’t receive instruction from your parents or a program in school, you might not have the necessary information and training to create a simple plan.It is amazing to me that we place so much importance on teaching our children skills and knowledge that “might” help them in their future and make sure that they have plenty of extracurricular activities to keep them busy, but we totally ignore teaching them basic life skills that they will use no matter what they do when they grow up.  We somehow think that they will learn these skills through osmosis. Some of us do but some of us need explicit instruction to understand and develop the skills necessary to function well. Here I offer you some of the simple instructions that I give my clients (and my children) to help them manage their day and their homes so they have more time to relax and pursue areas of interest.


The Basic Function of Eating:  Simplify “What’s for Dinner?”

Most Americans eat at least three meals a day with snacks in between. With a very simple plan you can take out the daily frustration of “What’s for dinner?” and make breakfast and lunch easier as well.

How to tackle your excuses for cooking:

There are a lot of valid reasons why people don’t want to cook at home:

  • I hate to cook

You might not ever learn to love cooking but you can learn some simple tools in the kitchen that will make it seem like you aren’t cooking.  For example, I use my crock pot often because I can literally dump ingredients in the crock pot in the morning and come home to a delicious hot and ready meal.

  • I hate to clean it up

My secret here is to start with a clean kitchen and keep a sink or dish pan with hot soapy water so you can wash up as you go.  Cleaning up food before it hardens is so much easier.

  • I don’t know what to cook

Start with theme nights like, Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Soup and Salad or Sandwich, Meat and Veggie, Beans and Rice, Seafood etc.  If you choose a theme for each night of the week, then you can easily choose 3 or 4 of your favorite dishes in each theme to rotate on those nights and viola!, you have a month’s worth of meals planned. Don’t choose fancy dishes. Keep it simple!

  • My family is too picky or has special dietary needs

Sometimes you need to start with a list of what you can eat and then learn some simple recipes that you can alter for the whole family or fix ahead so that you are not having to make two different meals each night. Get the picky eaters involved in the process.  Let them help you choose foods and help prepare them.  Encourage them to try a new food of their choice each week.

  • My kitchen is too cluttered

This room in the house has the most items in it, most of which rarely get used!  Stand at each area of your kitchen and ask yourself what items you use daily or weekly in that area.  That is all that can live there.  If you have to wrestle with the roasting pan that you use once a year every time you need a pot, you are adding unnecessary stress to your kitchen tasks.  Do you have kitchen gadgets that you thought were a great idea but don’t get used?  Don’t let guilt talk you into keeping them.  Let them go and learn the valuable lesson that less is more in the kitchen.  Buy appliances that can do more than one thing like this waffle iron.  Purge old food and give the kitchen a good cleaning.  Pretend the health department is coming to inspect.  You and your family deserve a Grade A kitchen.

  • I am too busy

Everyone is too busy but it still takes time to order at a restaurant or wait in line for food.  With a small investment of time, you can create a simple plan that even the busiest person can do.  Meals for the entire week can be made in just a couple of hours.  Most of our time is wasted in the kitchen when we plan one meal at a time instead of prepping and cooking several meals at one time.  If you are going to cook a piece of meat, choose a couple of meals that the meat can be used for.  For example, this week I cooked a pork roast in my crock pot (threw it in with a little salt and pepper, cooked it 8 hours for a tender roast, yum!). We ate the meat sliced the first night and the second night I chopped it up, added Mexican seasonings and used it for burritos with black beans and cilantro lime rice. Yum again!  Cooking a turkey breast in the crock pot will give you several meals worth of meat that you can do so much with.

  • I am too tired

If you come home at the end of the day too exhausted to cook, planning ahead will give you a hot and ready meal at the end of that day that will give you the energy to make it to bedtime.  Plan to cook on the weekend when you are more rested and refrigerate or freeze portions for the week.  Prepping a salad on the weekend into several small containers, cooking a yummy soup to freeze in quart zip lock bags, and packing up leftovers are all easy options for lunches.  Breakfast can be as simple as a frittata or quiche that you make ahead in muffin pans and warm up  each day with some fruit or a piece of toast.  You can make a batch of oatmeal in the crock pot to warm up daily, cook boiled eggs for the week, or make a large batch of pancakes, waffles or muffins to freeze.  Anything you like for breakfast can be pre-made and warmed quickly.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, plan to eat it!


Start with one meal a day and when you are successful pre-planning, making and eating that meal, move to the next.  Soon you will be eating better, saving time and money, and conquering the reasons you don’t cook at home!


Look out for my next article on how to take the meal planning process to a grocery list.  I’ll give you some tips on pantry and fridge organization. After that, we will tackle the never-ending mountain of laundry!