The Five-P Programme: Finish Your To Do List by Dinner

Is there a mum out there who hasn’t wished for an extra hour in her day? Whose To Do List (TDL) isn’t threatening to wallpaper the house? If your organisation skills are letting you down, and you can’t sort your TDL enough to GTD (get things done), don’t stress. Our Five-P Programme will get you organised enough to reclaim your evenings.


It’s all about routine,” says Valerie Petersen, from Inner-B organising. “Getting things done before dinner is all about having a daily routine. Many people think they’re boring, but kids and families thrive on routine.”


Preparation makes a big difference to how a day goes,” says Nicole Avery, author of Planning With Kids. “It starts the night before. Do most of the lunches, set the table, unstack the dishwasher. It gives you a clean slate in the morning – and means they are not chaotic.”

She suggests breaking your day down into workable chunks. “Trying to clean the whole house is overwhelming, but if it’s just wiping down the bathroom, then it’s done in 15 minutes.”


It’s not enough to have a routine – everyone in the household must know what it is and what their role is.  “Make sure the kids are involved,” says Avery. “Give them jobs and schedule when they need to be done. It helps develop independence and responsibility – and small things will make a big difference to what you get done in a day.”

Talk to your partner as well about what your roles might be. Divide tasks where possible.


Procrastination is a dirty word. “Routine helps to kill procrastination,” says Avery. “If you know what needs to be done when you come back from school drop-off, it saves you that feeling of not knowing where to start. Have a guide in your head!”

Petersen advocates guidelines around home office spaces, which can be a notorious blackhole for time. “It’s never ‘just five minutes’ to reply to an email,” she says. “You get behind the ball.”

Ditto for phone calls, messaging and social media. Making a rule that you won’t go near your phone between 6pm and 8pm, or 5pm and 7pm, makes a big difference to the bath/dinner witching hours with children. Give your focus to getting things done and the whole process will run more smoothly.


Prize the hours you have. “Treat time with respect,” says Petersen. “We are given the same amount. Have clear rules about how you’ll use yours.”

Getting organised will take some time to begin with, but will pay big dividends in the end. “So often time is wasted through looking for things that weren’t in the right spot,” she says. “Getting organised will help you get everything done by dinner.”

Cluttered home spaces make it hard to think clearly as well.

This article was written by Allison Tait

What’s one thing you struggle with getting done on a regular basis or on time?

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  1. dawnblyth 02/06/2019 at 9:24 pm

    Getting to the end of the day, the jobs that need done can be overwhelming. I find that I often leave the meal preparation and cooking till the last when I should probably get that sorted earlier in the day then come meal time it is quick and easy to sort.

  2. SarahBlair 02/06/2019 at 8:41 pm

    Being organised is not my strongest attribute, I am far too easily distracted by social media etc. I might try this 5 P programme and see if it improves my organisation and helps me get more out of my day

  3. candyjanenz 02/06/2019 at 4:06 pm

    I definitely find getting ready as much as I can the night before if I am going out for the day. Lists also help me and it can be easy to forget things with everything going on.

  4. kymmage 02/06/2019 at 11:22 am

    Oh man I live by the seat of my pants. I procrastinate at all times and loathe routines. I know I would get soo much more done if I just knuckled into a routine. But I’m so busy that any downtime I just lean right into.

  5. Micht 01/06/2019 at 5:52 pm

    I definitely agree with planning your day ahead and doing things as planned on your list…i find i get more done and feel more accomplished when i do…the days i dont plan ahead i waste alot of time all over the place and not focussed.

  6. Alezandra 29/05/2019 at 10:06 pm

    I was convinced with the photo of this article. Wake up …coffee then the rest. 😛 But this is timely as i feel like chaos reigns in our house. I try to be organised but then it goes out the window and I know it’s mostly me. I get up to try to do it but distractions are also prevalent – social media does consume time or play a short game on the phone…and before you know it you are just doing the basics just to get through the day.

  7. MuddledUpMolly 28/05/2019 at 5:37 pm

    I am generally pretty organised and run a pretty tight ship at home as a stay at home mum but I am definitely guilty of wasting too much of my time on my phone/social media. Really must be more proactive about addressing it as it is an issue 🙁

  8. Mands1980 28/05/2019 at 4:40 pm

    I struggle with mornings in particular as if one child is grumpy it impacts on all of us in some form of way to complete things properly. Making lunches is a mission and getting the kids to help is great and less pressure as they put in what they want to eat but knowing it’s healthy too.

  9. Shorrty4life1 26/05/2019 at 9:17 pm

    One thing I always struggle with getting done on time is everything in the mornings before I get kids to school and me to my nursing course. I always manage to get it done but some days the struggle is real. Like washing, bed making, dishes, getting kids and me breaky, and getting kids motivated and dressed. It sure is a struggle at the best of times

  10. Bevik1971 24/05/2019 at 3:04 pm

    It’s always hard when you work full time with kids and having everything organised! Organised chaos is most likely haha. These are great ideas though as I can find that I can get quite stressed in the mornings and that spills over to the kids, then everyone gets grumpy…………not a great start to the day. We have tried to be more calm in the mornings and get stuff ready the night before. I definitely need to make some more “me” time for myself though as I am definitely needing it 🙂

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