Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Review: Motivated Moms Housework Planner

I am constantly chasing the elusive "perfect system" to keep my house in order. As a busy home school mom juggling many responsibilities, there are many times that very important tasks 'fall through the cracks' and do not get the attention they deserve. I am big on 'list making' and checking items off as I accomplish them. When I heard about the Motivated Moms chore planning system, I was excited to review it. I have tried many different systems of planners, charts, notebooks, etc. to keep me organized, and the Motivated Moms iOS App really seemed like it might be a good fit.

What is Motivated Moms? It is not just a planner or a chore chart. Motivated Moms is a complete lifestyle system designed by real moms who are trying to balance the completion of housework, chores, and mundane tasks, while building in scheduled time for personal development, including private devotions, time to pursue hobbies, and quiet time.

Is it just for Moms? No, this app can be used by anyone who cares for a home, has children or pets(or plants!), and would like to organize their life. Tasks can be divvied up and assigned to various family members as well.

How does it work? Once I downloaded the app onto my iPod, I was able to go in and view the pre-loaded tasks for the day, daily tasks, or all tasks, sorted by rooms in the house. Since the tasks come pre-loaded, I was able to go in to the settings, and 'hide' the tasks that were not applicable to my household. For instance, I don't have pets to feed or plants to water, so I removed those from my daily task list. I was also able to remove rooms from the house that I do not have, and add rooms or tasks that I needed to make a part of my daily housecleaning routine.

I was also able to add family members to the app, and color code and assign some of the tasks to those family members. Another feature I enjoyed was being able to sort the tasks. There are several sorting options - by priority, by location in the house, or by family member who is responsible for them.

When you open the app and see your tasks for the day, you are able to check them off as you complete them. Tasks can then be 'hidden' so that your list grows smaller as you work through it.

What if I have more chores than what's already pre-listed? The app comes with the ability to add tasks to the daily list. No plants? No problem! Hide the task that tells you to water the plants, and add something a little more practical for yourself.

Can the App be used on multiple devices? Yes, the app can be purchased once, an account set up, and then synced between multiple iPod/iPad/iPhone devices. This is a great feature to take advantage of when you assign tasks to other family members - especially teens who will likely be spending time with those devices on a daily basis, and who enjoy any kind of tech friendly ways to go about their business!

How much is the App? The iOS app can be downloaded from the Apple Store (I did mine right from my iPod). The cost is $1.99, which includes 2 months of service and daily task lists. Additional months can be purchased for $.99 or an entire year may be purchased for $7.99.

But I really like a paper planner! Although I did not review the paper planner, many of my Crew mates did, and all their reviews can be found on The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.  Motivated Moms also has a paper planner that can be purchased, downloaded, and printed. The paper version includes all the same tasks and chore systems, but with room to write in and add your own chores. It utilizes the same "check off" routine. The Motivated Moms website has a sample page of the planner available on their website.

How did the Motivated Moms app work for me? I have always been a paper planner type of person. I like being able to write down my to-do list, and then tackle it. Seeing things checked off my list motivates me. While I do accomplish a lot during my days, I find that daily housework chores are often 'put off' and not given the attention that I would like them to have. They have a tendency of moving down my priority list as the day moves on. Things like "cleaning out the microwave" tend not to make it onto my planner. I thought that loading this app onto my iPod might be a good way for me to stay on track with keeping up on the housework, while keeping my planner for all the other responsibilities I have.

At this point in time, I am working out of two planners, one for schoolwork only, and the other for daily life and family responsibilities. I have an app that I have successfully been using for scheduling, calendar, and shopping list. Adding an additional App, even though it was different than what I already have in place, didn't work out too well for me, I am sad to admit. I did my very best at checking my "MoMo" app everyday, and trying to make sure I completed tasks and checked them off. I assigned tasks to the children from it as well. It turns out that the system I already had in place for the children (chore charts/whiteboards hung on the wall) was working very well, and they had no interest in checking off their chores on an App. They were more interested in just doing what they had to do and moving on, using the iPod for more fun pursuits.

It wasn't a complete fail though!  While I just was too overwhelmed to keep up with yet another system, I did check the Motivated Moms tasks on my iPod daily as part of my review. I found many really neat ideas that I would not have thought of otherwise. For instance, thanks to my Motivated Moms task list, in January I was reminded to order my free annual credit reports and check for errors. I was reminded regularly that the microwave and inside of the dishwasher needed attention, and was able to keep them in much better shape than I would have if I had just waited to notice that they were dirty. I also dusted and cleaned out several areas of the house that I wouldn't have thought to take care of, had they not shown up on my task list for that day.

The best thing I can say: The designers of this system are very creative and very thorough. It must have taken them a long time to think of all the different tasks that are included. There are clever tasks, such as clipping the children's fingernails, sorting coupons, and changing the dish rag, that most people don't think to include in their regular routines.

An interesting addition: The App includes built in times for daily devotions and Bible reading, as well as times scheduled throughout the week for a mom to have some quiet time or work on a hobby or craft. I even saw regularly scheduled times to work on photos and family memory books. What a great reminder to give moms a built in time to refresh themselves! This is the first time I have seen such a concept written into a daily planner.

Recommendations: I think this App (or planner) would work great for someone who did not already have a working system in place, and was looking for a way to organize their household chores and responsibilities. I think it is very creative, and has great concepts and ideas. Although using it exclusively as my household manager was just too much for me at this point in my life, the app remains on my iPod and I do plan on consulting it regularly to help me stay on track with the level of cleanliness I would like to see in my home. I am grateful for the opportunity to give it a try!

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