I joined my wife last weekend in what became a scramble to get out the door for a family pool day. Missing items, forgotten tasks, lost swim goggles — it was an experience filled with stress and one clearly needing organization.
Why did we need help? Because we were struggling, and in turn the kids sensed our frustration and they became stressed. What eventually became a pleasant day had the origins of chaos.
Ironically enough, as a couple we are quite organized. We both maintain day planners as well as keep our lives synced with schedules, weather alerts, and text communications via our iPhone apps. However evolved, we somehow allow ourselves to lean toward disorder when it comes to the “pack and leave” routine. It’s no one’s fault but our own.
So, in the wake of this hectic experience, I sat down with my planner and created a Pool Plan. Here’s the blueprint:
- Make a needs list
- Communicate a plan
- Delegate responsibilities
- Establish organization
Regardless of your activity, at home or at work, this blueprint will provide organization, better time management, and reduced stress. Here’s how a Pool Plan fits this blueprint:
1) Make a needs list: In this case, having a pack list would have greatly assisted the process. Create a list of all the necessary belongings: sunscreen, towels, chairs, tote bag, novel, juice boxes, snacks, band aides, and anything else the weather might require. The process of preparing for the pool could have been set in motion — even the night before — because the needs were clearly listed.
2) Communicate a plan: Set the expectations up front. Each morning after you’ve updated your own day planner write out a simplified version of your daily schedule. Include key appointments and tasks and post it on your refrigerator or bulletin board. This is the family day calendar. Communicating a plan for the day keeps everyone on the same page.
3) Delegate responsibilities: Create a project list and assign each member of the family a task, and an ultimate responsibility in this project. A child can easily be tasked with finding their swimsuit and goggles. A father’s job can be checking the weather online, even while at work. A family is a team. Mom shouldn’t handle all the responsibilities.
4) Establish organization: As the old saying goes “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Organization cuts down on time wasted while searching for objects and information. Define specific areas where items such as swim goggles are to be stored. For example, hang a low hook in the laundry room and label it. This way, the process is simplified, and the kids will have an easier time finding their items and returning them after the next pool day. That’s setting your team up for success.
That’s our game plan going forward which, as in all plans requires follow-through and discipline. Do you have a planning process for organizing your family? Please share with us by commenting.
Day-Timer Spokesperson Jeff Doubek can be reached at email@example.com.