Sunday, April 01, 2007

Organizing Tips for the Scattered

So after admitting to all of you how Scattered I really am, I'm going to offer up the solutions that I employ to keep myself organized. Oh yes, and sane too. Unfortunately Jake's excuse just doesn't cut it with my employer, nor bill collectors.

Problem #1:

You keep forgetting/losing/being bogged down by the immense amount of paper that comes home from school. Not to mention the show and tell days, gym days, music days, etc. Ack! How's a Mom to manage?

Scattered Solution:

Get a plastic bin for each of your kids and label them with each child's name. Call them your 'back to school boxes.' Anything that needs to go to school goes in the bin. Your child comes home and you snag their planner right away, weed through the paper stuff, sign things and write checks, and stick it back in the bin immediately after. This way everything is contained in one bin and you don't have to search for it. Show and tell? In the bin. Runners for PE? In the bin. Lunch? In the bin (in the morning of course). Then your kid knows that if it's in the bin, it goes to school. If you keep a calendar and check it the day before, and put the items needed into the bin then, mornings go smoother. Your kids can learn to do this, even. We had this strategy from kindergarten until grade 5. Jake is now in grade 6 and doesn't use the bin anymore because he organizes himself.

And while we're here, let me say that this is a great solution for Moms like me, too. I work in a high school and have a 'back to school bag' which I keep in one spot, and throw everything that needs to go to work with me in it-purse and car keys included. I keep my planner in it so that I can check what we're doing that day and if I need to bring runners or something. That little bit of time investment the evening before really pays off in a busy morning.

Problem#2:

You can never remember where you parked your car

Scattered Solution:

Try to always park in the same general area (easy in a small town like mine). On the ferry? Watch for the signs and repeat the deck number to yourself a few times. Stop and take a good look when you reach the top of the stairs.

Problem #3:

You forget appointments and phone numbers, etc.

Scattered Solution:

Get a calendar and a day planner, and USE THEM. Write everything down. Don't wait to program those cell numbers. Check it every morning before you leave for work. Don't worry about saying to people, "I need to write this down" and do so while they are talking to you.

Problem #4:

You are always forgetting errands or items at the store

Scattered Solution:

Lists and sticky notes are your friend. I make a to do list every morning when I feel I have lots to do. It's not an "I'd better get all this accomplished today" list, but just a reminder of the things I need to accomplish eventually. Sticky notes are great to remind yourself of things, and if you must leave them in your car or on your computer, do it! I make lists when I pack for a holiday, when I have more then two items to buy, or lots of errands to do. It keeps me organized. Of course I occasionally lose them too...shhh!

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