Friday, October 25, 2013

Day 25: Write it Down

When it comes to writing things down, I rely on these two notebooks. The top, from the Martha Stewart Line at Staples I carry in my bag, the second, a planner, stays on my desk.

I sat there in teacher/parent conference with my daughter beside me while a teacher said, "oh honey, you've got to learn to make friends with a list."

And I thought to myself: I have not taught my daughter to make a list? I reached for my notebook in my purse to write down: "look up how to organize a teenager"--and I realised I didn't have a pen.

Making lists, writing things down is a fairly rudimentary task: and as I thought about it, I reaised my daughter has never really seen me make any--except for a the list of stores I want to go to when we run errands and, of course, the grocery list on the side of the fridge. I love this thing. Every time my son comes to me and says, "Mom, we need gala apples" or "Mom, we need bananas," (the boy loves his fruit) I answer him, "Go write it down."

The Benefits of Writing it Down:

  • It helps you remember to do the right things at the right time.
    • This is what my daughter needs.
  • It helps you keep your commitments and so you can avoid letting down your teachers, your friends, yourself.
    • (One of my daughter's friends needs to write things down, too.)
  • If you write it down, you can put the "reminder" away.
    • No need to keep the bill out in a stack of papers to remind yourself to pay it.
  • It can help you stay focused and more efficient.
    • For some reason, whenever I file paperwork, or fold laundry, a million and one things occur to me which need doing. I have a clipboard set up wih a blank piece of paper to capture my thoughts so I can continue to be on-task.
  • It can help you create a batch of similar tasks.
    • For example, a list of all the stores you need to go to, all the phone calls you need to make, a list of all the stores which may carry that extra hand-set for the phone you're looking for.

Select a System:

  • Paper.
    • Sticky notes, index cards, a notebook, a pad of paper and a clipboard.
  • Electronic.
    • Set reminders to check over your list.
Whatever you choose, make sure it is portable so you can carry it with you all the time.

Review Your List:

As my daughter said to me as she was heading out the door this morning, "How am I going to remember to check my list? I need a reminder for my reminders!"

She's right. She's setting up a new habit. Actually, she's starting several.
First, she'll have to remember to write things down as her teacher tells her things or she gets things. One of her biggest challenges is to remember to give me permission forms to be signed. I told her to write that down, "give permission slip to Mom."

Then in order to remember to check her lists, we need to incorporate it into her "after school routine." That is, we would, if we had one. So, I am going to create a checklist for her and post it in the front entry way for a while.

menu planning uses a lot of checklists

Make a checklist.

This is the next step in writing things down. Checklists are perfect for helping you learn to do new tasks or routines. They also help during times of high stress or for things you do infrequently.

I love checklists. I have one for the entire menu planning process, from what forms to run off to what websites to check for specials. (I used to do it once a month--infrequently enough that I needed a gentle reminder from time to time how to do it. As well, it was such a big job that I spread it over a few days: so the checklist kept me on track.) I have a check list for going camping: it lists all the gear, clothing, and other things we like to take with us. I update it every time we go camping! I also have a cleaning checklist which I print from the computer every Sunday.

Do you need to start (or re-start) making lists?
Would a checklist be useful?
What about an "organizing maintenance" checklist?

Edited to add: I just noticed: this is my one thousand and first published post. Talk about writing it down!

ETA: You can catch all the posts in the series here.


onshore said...

I can only tolerate shopping and errands lists. Check lists are a big no no to me. It gives me the creeps to see all the tasks on the checklist. Are you sure your doughter isn't similar?
Could there be a dedicated pocket in her backpack for the things she needs to remember to give to you? So this thing wouldn't have to be on a list.
Or maybe she will like lists when she just starts to use them. You know her better I guess :D

Sage Grayson said...

I LOVE lists, all kinds! And I almost always write by hand. As a coach, I make my clients write by hand because we take ownership of our results when we map them out in our own handwriting. You don't get the same level of commitment when you're tapping away at a keyboard.

Making lists takes the stress out of life because you don't have to try to remember a hundred things in your mind. I hope you can get your teen on-board with listmaking!

Alana in Canada said...

Thanks for your endorsement of the lists, Sage! And thanks for commenting.

Onshore--wow--I never knew that. Is the checklist just too much information, then?

We'll see how my daughter does. For her first day, she said there was "nothing to write down." I hope that was true! Thanks to both of you for your encouragement.

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