How to get everything done with an action plan...
Yay! You made it. This is the last step in the Home Management 101 Series and the second part of reviewing your week.
Today, my friend, we are going to make a plan to GET IT DONE.
First, gather up your supplies:
- Action / Pending Box
- Master Plan
- Unicorn Box
- That box of papers you weeded out of the Action / Pending box
- And bonus points if you have a menu for this week (don’t worry if you don’t)
That Could Actually Be a Whole Different Blog
Divide a sheet (or two) of paper into eight blocks, one for each day of the week plus an extra for today. The extra block gives you a place to scribble down anything left for the current day.
Sometimes I’m ambitious and throw some of the small paperwork actions into the block for later today.
And sometimes I leave it empty and hang out with my family.
There are times when I leave it empty while also hiding from my family, but that’s a different post.
Each block needs an area to write the date, day of the week, and dinner plan, along with the action list for the day. I also put an initial for each family member so I can add in the ever-changing work schedules.
Look at this as your bird’s eye view of the week.
I start by filling in anything that MUST be done on a certain day. Then I add in what I’d like to do on specific days. Then I go back and fill in the cracks.
Kind of like that rock-pebble-sand example motivational speakers use.
See? I do pay attention sometimes.
“Give Yourself a Gold Star. With Glitter.” That There’s What We Call Motivational Writing.
Here are the steps to put it all into action.
- Check everyone’s schedule for the week and add to each day block (school, work, activities)
- Check the calendar for the week and add anything upcoming.
- Fill in a menu for the week. Already have one? Give yourself a gold star. With glitter. If you don’t, this is a good time to figure that out. That way you can add in notes to thaw meat the day before, buy fresh ingredients the day of, or start the crockpot in the morning.
Then you won’t want to smack yourself in the head when you get home all high on life because you prepared a crockpot meal, only to find said pot full of cold food in the fridge. Can you tell I’ve forgotten a time or two (or twelve) to take that final get-the-crockpot-started-in-the-morning step?
Domino’s knows our order by heart, that’s all I’m saying.
- If you have a weekly routine (wow, I’m so impressed with you!), move it over to the action plan. If you don’t have a weekly routine (I’m impressed with you anyway – you’re always special in my book), think of the routine tasks that can be clumped together and accomplished each week.
Example: Making phone calls, running errands, grocery shopping, cleaning, pet care, etc.
Adjust these routine items to fit in around the big, time-dependent rocks. The routine items are the pebbles in my above-mentioned scenario.
See how I kept that analogy going? Maybe I will look into a career in motivational public speaking.
Wait, can you do that without actually speaking in public?
Probably I should stick to motivational writing…
Lots of Pebbles. Pretty Pebbles.
- Next, go back to the Master Plan and put in the pink and yellows. More pebbles.
- If you have room, you can add in the non-highlighted tasks. Or leave them on the Master Plan and when you find yourself with free time (stop laughing), see if there’s anything you can accomplish.
NOTE: I don’t move over the phone calls, most of the errand list, and calendar items. I handle those in blocks on certain days. So, for example, I just write in “errands” on Wednesday, and then reference my Master Plan on errand day.
- Once the Weekly Action Plan is entirely complete, highlight it the same way you did the Master Plan. Double-check your highlighting to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
Possibly Even Lunch
- Then use your phone alarm app to set alarms for the week. Set alarms for absolutely anything that you don’t want to forget, especially the time-sensitive stuff. Just because you write in “11 a.m. doctor’s appointment” on Wednesday, and you see “11 a.m. doctor’s appointment” on the list on Wednesday morning, doesn’t mean you’ll remember to leave for your “11 a.m. doctor’s appointment” at 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday. You might but why chance it?
My alarms save my butt over and over. If there was a special day for alarm apps, I would totally buy mine flowers.
- After your entire Action Plan is complete and highlighted, please…take a picture of it. Seriously. Just do it. Always.
- And finally, clean up your paperwork review mess.It’s tempting to leave it all out, but take one minute and pack it all back up. Also, take care of the detritus that goes elsewhere. You know, those papers in that temporary box? It’s probably just mail for other people, coupons for your purse, or shredding.It won’t take long and won’t it feel nice to be totally done?
You Can Charge Extra To Hide It From Dad, Too
Speaking of done – that’s it, guys. What a relief!
If you followed this series all the way through, you are on your way to executive-level household management.
Like, you might even get a key to the special executive washroom. The one where the kids can’t find you and you can have five freaking minutes of peace.
I think I just came up with a genius idea.
How much money could be made by adding special executive HIDDEN mom-only bathrooms to housing plans? So, you just have this plain-looking wall with a camouflaged door, right? And a little fingerprint pad nearby. And if the fingerprint pad senses any traces whatsoever of any jelly or popsicle-like substance, the wall stays up.
Bam – kid-free.
Hint: Stick the Unicorn Box In the Executive Bathroom. You Have a Key Now.
In my series intro post, I talked about batching as many things together as I can to avoid switching my brain from task to task. That way, stopping my dinner prep to pay a bill doesn’t somehow end up with me in the garage, vacuuming my car.
Oh, like that hasn’t happened to you.
In my next post, The First Step to an Organized Life (Home Management 101: Post 2), we gathered all the tools needed to tackle life in one pretty (or ugly) box (who cares). A box where nobody will touch them. (Remember – child abuse BAD).
In Post 3, How To Effectively Use a Planner (for Beginners) (Home Management 101: Post 3), I talked about using a calendar and reminder lists to stand in for my memory. Even if I had a fantastic memory, I figure why use that valuable resource for stuff I can just as easily write down.
We need to reserve our brains for more important, higher-level functioning. Like daydreaming that the kids win a well-supervised, all expenses-paid, month-long, most fun ever imagined, no moms allowed vacation.
If that ever happens, feel free to use the planner to schedule a trip to the wine, chocolate, trashy novel, and bath bombs store.
Like Trying To Teach Your Aggravating Cat Not To Walk On Your Face At 5 A.M.
In Post 4, What to Do When You’re Overwhelmed by Paper Clutter (Home Management 101: Post 4), we sorted out the needier papers (those wretched things) from the papers we probably should throw out but we keep “just in case.” Trying to file papers that still need action is a lesson in frustration.
In Posts 5, 6, and 7, we took that box of action papers and listed them out. Instead of relying on them to remind us of what to do, we learned to write down their related actions. That lessens the anxiety that comes with not knowing what’s in the pile.
We also figured out which tasks need our attention first and when to tackle them each week.
Doesn’t it feel good to know you can calmly ignore 90% of what you probably should do and still live to tell about it? I mean, that’s not the point of this whole exercise, but it can definitely be a fringe benefit on those less-than-stellar weeks.
After all, I can’t make you follow the plan. Sometimes I even don’t follow the plan. But if you know what your priorities are, you’ll probably at least get the pinks done. Your life will stay intact, no apologies necessary to injured or forgotten parties, for another week.
Because Robots Can’t Soak In Whirlpool Tubs. The Jets Give Them the Heebie-Jeebies.
If you’re like me, you’ve had these types of lists and parts of the systems here and there for years. You just needed a way to put it all together. Take your time getting everything situated. As you go, you’ll start customizing this process and making it your own.
I shared all of this with you, not to overwhelm you (that’s the opposite of what I want!). I shared it because now that I do all of this, I’m amazed at the difference in my life. Skimming a reminder list of possible appointments to make, glancing at a week’s worth of calendar dates, and jotting down a note to myself to make a few phone calls on Monday make running my household so much easier and so much less stressful.
Because of the system I have in place, I can rearrange my weekend to take advantage of last-minute fun opportunities. When I know what’s coming up and what my priorities are, I can keep the right balls in the air and drop all the other ones temporarily.
The point of this isn’t to be an efficient robot – it’s to make sure you always have time and brainpower for the things you enjoy. You’ll enjoy paperwork “calmness,” which translates to doing cool things instead of putting out fires.
Cool things like soaking in the tub in your hidden, jelly-free washroom enjoying your wine, bath bombs and trashy novel.
Don’t forget the chocolate.
P.S. I’m excited to say the entire series is finished and posted.
How to Get Everything Done with an Action Plan