It is a well known fact that one of the most effective ways to achieve great things is to have a plan...you know, the whole "if you fail to plan you plan to fail" thing....but when you have seven kids, sitting down to write a mission statement and a set of S.M.A.R.T. goals is not necessarily easy to do no matter how you feng shui your environment. However, with seven kids things tend to get slightly busy so having some sort of organizational strategy is pretty important to keep things from ending up in a complete and utter catastrophic failure. At the very least, it helps keep our laundry on track.
So the third instalment in this three part series on balancing time, life and everything in between, is about the the power of WRITING LISTS.
Basically, if you want anything to get done around our house you have to write it down. If you don't write it down, you run the risk of loosing the idea of that which you wanted to have done in the ocean of other things that swim in the current of time.....sort of like my train of thought right now......where was I again?
Writing lists has become a pretty important part of our daily, weekly and monthly routines. Everything from, "buy milk" to, "remember to change the toilet paper" goes on one of many different lists we have going on around the house. You should see my "honey do" list. In fact, writing lists has saved us literally HUNDREDS of dollars at the grocery store! In a later post I will talk about how meal planning saves us time, money, and reduces food wastage (which is one of my all time pet peeves).
Here's how it works: when you write your list before you go grocery shopping, and stick to it, you drastically reduce the amount of impulse buying you engage in. However if you like cookies, or chips, then just make sure that you put it on the list! We don't buy chips but we make pop corn...not the microwave kind, but old school, on the stove top pop corn. $2.99 buys enough popcorn to last a few months.
If you have ever felt like you were stuck in a rut, it is probably because you did not have a clear idea of where you wanted to go next. Writing lists is a powerful way to get your life going in the direction you want it to go. It is sort of like making a road map as opposed to a set of directions. Directions are good to a point, but if the road is blocked you will not know where to go. With a map it is possible to see alternate routes. And besides, if you do not know where you want to go, how will you know when you get there? If you had a list of desirable destinations you could check them off one at a time.
When you have a list, you can jump ahead if one task can't be done right away. Also there is something quite satisfying about looking at a list of items, or tasks you were able to check off.
Now there are lists and there are lists....here are some pointers that have kept me off the naughty list...although these days the only lists that I seem to be on are (junk)mailing lists.
- Keep things simple: if a list gets too complex, then it is an indicator that you need to break things down into more manageable chunks.
- Check things off once you have done them: the thing about having a million things to do is that at times it seems overwhelming, but there is a psychological response to checking things off.
- Distinguish between the macro and the micro: where you want to be in five years time goes on a different list than "buy eggs this week"
- Keep a list journal as opposed to having random pieces of paper...this will cut down on clutter, and it serves as a handy dandy reference....very useful for winning arguments...but who's arguing?
- If you are writing a list for your life plan, keep in mind that if you make a 5 year plan today, 365 days from now it should be a four year plan...otherwise you have not made any progress.
Right. So now that this nowhere near exhaustive, brief introduction to how we manage our time is done, I can check it off my list of possible blog posts.
Next week: Leaps of Faith and sayings I never thought would come out of my mouth.....