My Tips for Keeping on Top

I frequently get asked “how do you stay on top of things and manage all that you do whilst being so busy?”. There is no clear cut answer to this question but below are a few of my tips for staying on top of things.

Always start the day right

As soon as I get up (this is usually 6.30am) I make sure all beds are made, the curtains are drawn and the rooms are nice and tidy before coming downstairs to sort out the children’s breakfasts and let out/feed all the animals (dogs, cats, chickens & ponies). Knowing that the upstairs it all complete and that I do not have this to come back to within the day really helps me to focus on the more important tasks.

Clean/tidy little and often

I do not have a cleaner and I do not spend full days cleaning my house. What I do do, is clean and tidy in small bursts throughout the week. I work from home (which obviously helps my ability to do this) and I find that taking on a few small tasks in between sessions on the laptop, gives me a mental change and can break up any monotony of the day.

The most important thing for me is to stay on top of things. As soon as things get out of control (i.e. the washing pile begins to overflow the basket and rooms become unrecognisable) I know I’m in trouble!!

Everyday the floors are wiped with a micro fibre mop to pick up all dogs hairs (we have a lot!), the kitchen work surfaces are cleared of clutter and every evening before bed, all the children’s toys are tidied away so the house is clear and ready for the next day ahead.

Apply and walk away

When cleaning, I find I can save some scrubbing time by spraying on cleaning products and giving them time to work. This is especially useful in the bathroom and on the hob in the kitchen.

Keep Tidy

Keeping tidy is the most important element for me to stay in control of things. Everything has a place in my home and if it doesn’t, well, it most likely shouldn’t be there!


I think this works hand-in-hand with keeping tidy. To be tidy, you need to be free of things that fill a space unnecessarily. I love this quote by William Morris;

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”.

If you look at your home with this in mind and can see items that do not match either aspect then you perhaps need to reconsider their purpose within your home!

Make lists

I always write down my keys tasks and objectives for the week, by priority. I find tackling the ‘not so fun’ tasks, i.e. the more difficult or uninteresting ones first, gives me a sense of achievement once complete and in turn lifts a real weight off my shoulders. I can then breeze through my easier tasks.

Need vs Want

Always balance the ‘need vs want’ debate. Look at all items in this way and consider what it falls under and whether you really should have it.

Stay away from bargains

There’s always that urge to grab a bargain when items go in to sale but be strong! Instead of bargain shopping without planning ahead, write down exactly what you need and buy only those items.

Know your limits

This is really important. We are all different and we all need to realistically manage our expectations of what we can achieve. If you are not finding it easy to keep on top of things, then delegate – if that’s possible – but if not, reduce the level of expectation.

This formula is a really interesting one and was shared with me just recently by a good friend; Happiness = Reality – Expectations. If our level of expectation is higher than the level of reality, then ultimately our level of happiness will be compromised. Always keep that in mind. Nobody is perfect. And nobody’s home is perfect. Nor should it have to be – it should be as you want it to be!

Achievable targets

Setting unachievable targets is only going to make your ability to meet them unrealistic and ultimately, this will make you unhappy. Remember what is meaningful to you and identify what you need to do to achieve this happiness within your home and within your life.


I honestly couldn’t do as much as I do if I didn’t multitask. While multitasking isn’t necessarily ideal, sometimes, in the fast paced, ever-evolving world of the working woman today, it’s a necessity. Below are a few of my tips for effective multitasking;

  1. Make a plan – this goes back to my list making point.
  2. Combine similar tasks – arrange these items together on your to-do list and work on them at the same time while you’re multitasking.
  3. Eliminate distractions – avoid deviating from your key objectives. For me to effectively get tasks done, I need to have a clear head space and a clear workspace. I like to work in an environment that is free from clutter and distracting aspects!
  4. Set different tasks out into different locations to separate them – this works particularly well with paperwork. I like to position tasks into groups and across a table so I can easily see them as individual tasks.
  5. Review – this is really important. Check your progress, revert to your to-do list and ensure you are getting what you need to get done, done.

Meal plan

Writing a meal plan each week is a great way to manage your time and your money. It means one food shop will suffice through the week saving you multiple store visits, everyone knows what they will be eating (this should save any surprises!) and lastly, it usually means you spend less on items that you do not require. Here is the LINK to my saved meal plans.

So there you have it, a few of my tips for staying on top as an ever busy Mum! Hope you found them useful?

Thanks for reading, x



  1. Lindsey
    January 6, 2020 / 7:49 pm

    Amazing tips ๐Ÿ’

    • elm15184gmailcom
      January 6, 2020 / 8:36 pm

      Love this post and the useful tips. I especially liked the happiness equation ๐Ÿ’•

  2. Tracy Bott
    January 6, 2020 / 8:00 pm

    This is one of the most useful ‘organising yourself’ blogs I have read, with manageable tasks to help a busy, working mum like myself who finds it difficult to juggle and balance everything- thank you SJ x

  3. Amanda
    January 6, 2020 / 8:04 pm

    Perfect tips ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿฝ thank you for sharing ๐Ÿ˜Š
    Also can I please ask where you purchased your sheepskin? I have been trying to find a nice one for a chair ๐Ÿคฉ

    • Michelle Surman
      January 8, 2020 / 7:33 am

      They sell one very similar( but fake sheepskin) in Ikea.

      • justalittlebuild
        January 8, 2020 / 7:37 am

        Yes, Iโ€™ve also got a couple from Ikea. Not quite as thick as my welsh one but still good.

    • justalittlebuild
      January 8, 2020 / 7:36 am

      We purchased this one whilst in Wales – they always sell the best sheepskins! It was just in a local shop.

  4. Vickie Richens
    January 6, 2020 / 8:33 pm

    Great ideas

  5. Sarah A
    January 6, 2020 / 8:34 pm

    Brilliant formula – I am going to write it in the front of my 2020 planner as a reminder when Iโ€™m tearing my hair out about the state of our (currently un-renovated) house. Thanks!

  6. @buildingmulberryhouse
    January 6, 2020 / 10:21 pm

    I literally do all of these things and when I donโ€™t, I get really down! It all gets on top of you very quickly so like you say, itโ€™s little and often but sometimes I do feel like all I do is tidy up ๐Ÿ™ˆ

  7. Kit
    January 8, 2020 / 10:36 am

    Love the tips but still struggling to figure out how all this is possible. I seem to constantly fight clutter and washing but itโ€™s impossible to make enough progress in the hr that my youngest sleeps. Are all your children at school/childcare in the wk?

    • justalittlebuild
      January 8, 2020 / 10:38 am

      Hi, my boys are at school and Scarlett goes to nursery 2 days a week. The days she is home, it is slightly harder to juggle it all!

      • Kit
        January 8, 2020 / 12:42 pm

        Maybe you could do a speeded up demo video of a day in the life of you, #winning to give us a fighting chance ๐Ÿ™‚ x

      • Kit
        January 8, 2020 / 12:44 pm

        Or even better come and live with me for a wk to blitz my house! ๐Ÿ˜‚

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