07 June 2014

Check(list), Please!

Dear Lissy,

Dad and the boys are already gone for the day, and I'm off and running on morning chores.  Years ago when all of you were little, I ran our home with checklists.  Constant interruptions gave me a perpetual case of Mommy ADD, and I relied on checklists to help me do during the busy hours what I knew I wanted done in the quiet of the evening.   

What's the difference between a checklist and a to-do list?  So glad you asked!  A to- do list is a list of tasks that need to be done once.  A checklist is a list of tasks that is repeated daily, weekly, or monthly.  "Vacuum entry" is a checklist item; "Pick up new exterior light fixture for side entry" is a to-do list task. 

I shed my checklists over the past few years as blocks of uninterrupted time became available.   May was exceptionally busy with a flurry of appointments, robotics events, farmer's markets, and sourcing out supplies for a Dear Lissy Bible marking kit.  Regular routines were bumped, and the house is run down.  I'm back to a season of busyness punctuated by constant interruptions, and I have to adjust quickly.  I've talked about "Plan B" before, so I'll keep this simple:

Checklists are an important tool for me when life changes pace.

I'm not taking time to re-invent the wheel.   I blew the dust off my Beautiful Life Manager, ordered new pages, and hit the ground running.   I even scored a DayTimer calendar for just a few bucks to help finish out 2014.  I do find it a little embarrassing to need a checklist to hold my hand at my age -- it seems like I should waft effortlessly through my housework by now.  Wisdom -- doing the next right thing -- reminds me that setting up a system of checklists to make sure the next right thing gets done is wiser than beating myself up for needing a checklist.

I've also noticed your brothers struggling with their day-to-day tasks as they take on new responsibility.  I'm going to be teaching them how to create and use checklists this summer, too.  They are still accountable for their chores, but they are far past the age where I set up "chore time" and oversee the minutia. Checklists give teens autonomy and accountability.  They can do the work anytime they want, provided the work is done to our family's standard by the set time. 

Checklists motivate pre-teens and provide a sense of accomplishment.  You are at the age where I give you a list (not just a task) that must be completed and checked at the time I hand it to you.  We set a timer for the list, and you "punch out" when you've completed the work.   

I need to weed and plant while the garden is still cool.  I hope we have a great summer -- fun is on the checklist, too! 


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the mention, Rebecca! Enjoy your gardening and the busyness of spring/summer!