4-H News – Did You Make a to-Do List Today?

— Written By and last updated by Kerri Rayburn

Did you make a To Do list today? I did. Most of us know that planning helps make our lives run more smoothly but do we always use those lists to work to our best advantage? Julie Morgenstern, an organizing and time management expert suggests waiting to check your e-mail until 10:00 each morning. That way you give yourself a couple of hours to get some important items checked off the to do list before getting sucked into the “land of the world wide web.”

I had used the same paper planner system for about 25 years but now use a forgetfulo-teen-1ajdwklcombined method. Now I utilize Google calendar along with a paper to-do list. The #1 rule is to have everything in one place (I take my calendar and spiral-bound notebook everywhere I go). This means using 1 calendar for everything – work, personal, activities of your children and spouse, birthdays – everything. It also means that instead of posting sticky notes all over your desk, refrigerator or car dashboard you should put all of your notes in one place – your planner or calendar or notebook or smartphone. Either way the concept of keeping everything in one place holds true.

PR_114801Here’s another point – set some personal goals and put those on your daily To Do list as well. For example:  Let’s say you’d like to update the landscaping of your yard. Make a list of all the things you’d need to do in order to accomplish that. The list might include reading books about landscaping, pricing plants and fertilizer, talking with your family about a plan, finding time on the calendar to do the work, and purchasing the necessary tools. Spread out the work of such a project by making a plan and then include tasks on a daily basis to help you reach your goal of a lovely new yard.

Planning is for everyone and is a great skill to teach young people. The book “What Do You Stand For, A Kid’s Guide To Building Character” states that kids can learn to become responsible by getting organized. “Buy or make a daily planner and learn to use it. Once you form the habit of using a daily planner effectively – jotting down important notes, marking due dates, keeping to-do lists, writing down goals – you’ll find that you no longer “forget” about upcoming tests or long-term assignments.”  Sit down and talk with your kids about their schedule for the week and help them establish their own calendar and planning system. keep-teen-organized-800x800I find that most teenagers want to use their smart phones these days. Help them plan around after-school practice and play time, assist them in making a plan for completing a school project, and help them organize their time in order to get their homework done in a timely manner.

“Simply put, planning means figuring out ahead of time how to do something so you can proceed efficiently. Planning is purposeful and deliberate.”

Good luck, happy new year, and happy planning!