“Me First!” and Other Secrets to a Well Ordered Binder

When setting up my home management binder, I started with defining and prioritizing my roles. These eventually became the titles of each section in my binder. A binder that’s organize by roles doubles as a constant reminder of our priorities.

What are your roles?
Your roles are what is required of you as an individual – what nobody can or should do for you. They may include…

  • Who you are at home – Mother, Homemaker, Daughter
  • The title of any job you work at – Teacher, Massage Therapist, Entrepreneur
  • What you like to be in your spare time – Writer, Seamstress, Volunteer
    After writing down all your roles, you may realize (as I did!) that you have way too many roles! Relax. Only your key roles need go in your binder. (We’ll talk about what to do with all those extra passions and commitments in another post) To find out which are your key roles, you’re gonna have to prioritize. This is actually a pretty easy step – painful, ’cause you’ll have to face reality – but simple. Like lining up things in size order. Start with the most important one, and work your way down the list.

    Me First!
    I took a hint from Amy Lynn Andrew’s book, Tell Your Time, and made myself my first priority. Sound selfish? Let me explain: I’m a mom, a wife, a homemaker, a writer – these are things I’m passionate about. It takes energy and fuel to live out one’s passions. If I’m not fueling up, I’m gonna have trouble reaching any of my goals. If I take care of myself first, everyone (including me!) is blessed. 

    Now, I’m not talking about pedicures and nights out, gals. I’m talking about my soul, the deeper person, who I am when I’m alone. My toes don’t matter then. I make myself a priority when I:

    • take time for washing my mind with scripture (even just a teensy bit on the busy days!),
    • make sleep a priority over clean dishes, 
    • allow myself to take the time to organize my day so I can enjoy being a sane member of society.
    So, me first – in a rather unselfish way, because the things I do for myself are actually for the benefit of those around me. I include my role as wife in the ‘Me’ tab, because we’re supposed to be one, right? Then comes my role as mother. THEN comes food prep, household chores, blogging, relationships outside the home, business ventures, etc. 

    A Daily Reminder
    I have to confess, this is convicting even as I write it, because I’ve been letting some stuff get out of balance. So, lest you think I’m perfect, let me tell you that my binder is a reminder of my goals, NOT a showcase of reality around here every day. There are definitely days I let email come before kids, and house cleaning before time with my husband, but I’m working on it. Everytime I open my binder, I’m reminded of my key roles…

    1. Trina/Wife – includes personal goals, book list, notes from stuff I’m studying
    2. Mother – where I focus on my relationship with each of my children
    3. Homemaker – menu ideas, freezer list, organizing goals, etc.
    4. Writer – book list, post drafts, blogging schedule
    5. Friend – where I jot down questions, ideas, or stuff to share with friends
    6. Entrepreneur – notes from conference calls, goals for business and personal growth
    7. Shopper – gift ideas, shopping lists, master grocery list, cash account, etc.
    8. Artist – where I keep ideas for when I have time in the studio
    Simply mapping out my priorities as defined by my key roles last fall was enough to create a major shift in how I spent my time. Maybe that doesn’t sound like much fun. I just want to testify – focusing more fully on what I was created to do and be in this season has led to three of the most fulfilling and joy-filled months of my motherhood! 

    There’s just one more ingredient to a super binder that can bring peace and order to your days – it’s the most used and helpful part of mine! I’ll clue you into that next time… (sorry, but I just love cliff hangers…)

    Meanwhile, do you have a binder yet? What do you have or plan to include in yours? What do you see as your key roles? In writing them down, did you make any discoveries?

    7 responses to ““Me First!” and Other Secrets to a Well Ordered Binder”

    1. Donnismarie Avatar

      Redirected here from PassionateHomemaking (whilst researching Homemaking Binders), and I just HAVE to say, the way you organize your tabs makes SO.MUCH.SENSE to me! And I love that its dual purpose, soul-purpose, is to remind me each day what’s important. I usually don’t leave replies to a post I read, but I wanted you to be encouraged that I’m thankful for coming across this one 🙂

      1. Trina Avatar

        Donnismarie, thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment 😉 It’s a blessing to hear that my little inspiration is helping others to enjoy getting organized. Bless you as you work on your binder and your day!

    2. Trina Avatar

      Mandy – so excited for you!

      Becky – yes, I feel focusing on nourishing my spirit and making sure I take care of myself is a wonderful way to bless my husband. If I am diligent, he comes home to a peaceful woman at the end of the day, instead of a worn out, stressed, crazy lady. LOL

      Traci…you're right, the binder can be heavy – that's why I leave it put in its place on my counter! LOL I'm glad you've been inspired – I hope you have a chance to revamp – it's made all the difference for me in finding peace in my days…Love you, too.

    3. Traci Avatar

      I have a binder! I started it a few years ago and periodically revamp it.. and then I get frustrated with it and let it go again.. then revamp it again and start over.. it's a neverending super-fail of mine, not by any fault of the binder itself but of my own distraction. I like your organization of roles. Mine has sections that are similarly classified. I did it after reading an article about how organization should be more about who you are than what you do. It does make sense. (And if you're wondering, I'm currently in a binder-less slump.. it's too big to carry with me and honestly I found myself sitting in front of it too often instead of actually just doing my routine) Some of the stuff that you and others have pinned lately have made me think that once again I need to revamp it to suit my current season and start again. Love and miss you!

    4. ReneeK Avatar

      Thanks for stopping by my blog. Glad you are loving Sonlight. It has been a sanity saver for me.

    5. Becky Avatar

      I love the idea of including the role of wife with myself because “we're supposed to be one”…I think that's a really easy way for me to make sure I'm making time for my husband…not thinking of him as a separate entity that can fend for himself. I have a home management binder that is mostly going unused. I may need to revamp it now. 🙂

    6. Mandy Avatar

      So while I was obsessively refreshing my screen waiting for this post {giggles} I was thinking about what I might put in my binder. I even read AmyLynn Andrews book and I still didn't think of this format!!!! DUH!!!! This is brilliant beyond brilliant way to organize…and it simplifies! I haven't even put mine together and yet I feel like I'm on the same page because it doesn't add something more….it applies what I've already learned and worked through!!!!! WOOT WOOT!

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