Calendar notepad and flower on wooden table. Top view

Plan Smarter

Kasey Johnson essentials

You’ve decided you need to rework your game plan … but how?

I kissed my little guy goodnight and he immediately asked, “What’s the plan tomorrow?” I listed the errands, appointments and activities I had planned for the next day. Satisfied with my detail-rich explanation he smiled and drifted off to sleep. I had to smile too because, like me, my children have found comfort in a routine, a schedule: a plan.

I don’t have a plan in hopes of manipulating and controlling each moment of our day. We all adapt planning strategies that fit who we are. I have a plan because if I don’t, the projects I need to conquer will take priority over the people in my life.

I split my chores up over certain days of the week and include a day to make up any ground I’ve lost along the way. This kind of planning comes much easier to some personalities than others. Giving a time and a place to the items on my to-do list helps me relax and enjoy the people in my life.

Projects: Make a list of the projects/tasks/errands that face you during the week. If planning for the week is too much, take it one day at a time. Writing everything down helps our brains let them go — we don’t have the pressure of remembering each detail all day long. Some projects might include grocery shopping, vacuuming, laundry, preparing meals for the next day, etc.

Priority: Once your list is made, prioritize each item. Remember that people are more important than projects. Sometimes we’ll be able to get all the laundry put away. Some days the laundry will sit in a pile. Having a perfectly clean home is not the goal of this project. Instead we strive to be mothers with a plan that prioritizes our projects and helps us make time for the precious people in our lives. If you are out of the basics (bread, milk, juice) maybe the grocery store is a first priority for you. If piles of dishes or laundry make you feel crazy, make sure you start the laundry when you’ll have time to put everything away.

Plan: Make sure each project is assigned a specific time and place in your day. The day can get away from us quickly. Unless we have a time and place for each activity, those activities can elude us too. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we know what our goal is for that short amount of time. Whether we knock out a task while the kids are napping or we partner with our kids to have fun dusting the furniture, we want each project assigned to a specific place in our day.

Each week it will become clearer what projects really are a priority, how many can be accomplished in the amount of time you have and which ones need to wait. When we give our projects a place and priority, we show our families that our “plan” is to enjoy each moment with them.

Kasey Johnson enjoys speaking to MOPS groups across the U.S. and spending time with her three boys and husband in Olathe, Kansas. She’s the author of 7 Ways to Be a S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Mom (Beacon Hill Press, 2010). Visit her at smarter-moms.com.

Hello-Dearest-Front-Cover_winter2016This originally appeared in an archived issue of Hello, Dearest. If you didn’t get a copy and would like your own, you can subscribe to get Hello, Dearest in your mailbox every season. If you subscribe, forward your receipt to magazines@mops.org and we’ll shoot a copy of the current issue in the mail to you for free … just because we like you.