Productivity and Planning

Plan. Do. Follow-up.

We stumble through the door, kick off our boots, and throw our coats on the rack in the porch. Our bags are tossed on the floor and we are standing around the kitchen table with a piece of paper and pencil in hand. We are empowered, we are ready, we are important people negotiating a trillion-dollar contract and we have the upper hand! 

Me - "So, I was thinking we have rice and veggies for dinner, you can do your homework while I'm cooking, then we do our chores, then we can get outside to play in the snow, after that we can have dessert and watch a show"

My son - "Hold on now, what if we have rice and chicken nuggets for dinner, then go outside to play in the snow, and we just not do our chores"

Me - "Well if we don't do our chores, we can't have dessert. Your choice"

My son - "What's for dessert?"

Me - "Cake and ice cream?"

My son - "What chores do we need to do? Let's write them down"

 

We write everything down into two lists: one for me and one for him. He has to make his bed, pick up his laundry, and do his homework. Then he has to lay out his clothes for tomorrow. I have to wash the laundry and dishes, sweep, cook dinner, and prepare our bags/lunches for tomorrow. 

The list is tacked on the fridge and when an item is complete, we cross it off. I know when everything is crossed off because he comes running down the hallway into my room while I'm folding the laundry. He's fully dressed for outside, and sliding a mitten onto his hand. 

"Mom, let's go outside!" A deal's a deal. I drop the shirt I'm folding and head for the porch. 

We do this most days when I know there's a lot to be done before we settle down for the evening. He loves crossing things off and I love writing lists - it keeps me organized and him motivated, plus it's a great visual to see how much closer he is to getting his treat (tonight it's cake and ice cream). 

Planners come in a variety of sizes with a variety of different themes to fit various lifestyles: The common student planner has a horizontal layout with a weekly spread. Most business planners dedicate an entire page to one day: vertically planned with time stamps down the left-hand corner. Planning groups promote the differences between functional (pen and paper) versus scrapbook (stickers and tape) planning. As long as your planner works for you and your lifestyle, your book can be as simple as an exercise book and a pencil, or a pocket-sized calendar, or one the size of a university text book. Goal-setting, productivity, self care, or day planners are widely created and sold with inserts, stickers, decorations, pens, and a wide variety of stationary dedicated to keeping your life organized. Even mom/family planners come with award stickers and charts to keep the little ones motivated for success in school, activities, and at home. 

No matter how you choose to organize day, letting your kids help you decide what's for dinner or how to tackle the household chores is one of my favorite ways to plan for success.