I like to talk about stuff. I also like to complain about stuff. So, this is my stuff.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

What's the Plan?

When you make a resolution, it's always a good idea to make a plan. Without a plan, it's hard keep track of where you are, what you still have to do and in what order - unless it's something very simple.
If you really know me, you know I don't keep things simple (oh, and you thought you knew me!). I may not be on top of things all the time, I may not pay attention to the details as much as you do, and I guess I don't have OCD. But when I'm not procrastinating, I tend to go into projects full-assed (as opposed to half-assed). What can I say? I consider myself a perfectionist. Either things have to be perfect, or they won't get done at all.
The problem is, most of the time I end up with the latter.

It's time for a change!
My current resolution is to manage my resources better (time and money). I've had this resolution for a while, but I haven't made a firm plan on how to handle it. It requires a few different plans, working together to run the household with more grace and efficiency. There are several aspects that need to be considered. I figure the following applies:

  • Housework
  • Bills
  • Groceries
  • Cashflow
  • Projects
If I'm missing something vital, please let me know.

Now, whenever you set a resolution, you need to look in the past. Have you tried this before? Why did it fail? What techniques did you use? What worked? What didn't work? Who else in your life has achieved this, and can they offer any advice?

For the sake of reflection, when I made this resolution a while ago, I thought I had a plan. But it was all in my head, so there was no proof that I had accomplished what needed to be done. I thought I could just go ahead and be more productive, but I couldn't possibly make the right decisions when there are so many variables.

Bonnie decided she could work on these things, too. So we started keeping tabs on each other and our progress. It was good for us, but in the long run it's just not realistic. We'd need to have daily communication. Maybe once a week will be good for a little "support group", but it's not going to be our driving force.

Mom suggested an index card technique that her friend Cindy uses. She has one short chore per index card. She draws one card at a time, and as long as there's a card for something, it'll eventually get done!
I think this is a fabulous idea, and I'm going to use this in my plan. Thanks, Mom and Cindy!

So... what's the plan?
I have set aside a "To Do Table". Ideally, this table will not get cluttered up. I physically added this table (that we hadn't really been using) to an empty part of the room where we are not used to putting clutter. So this table definitely serves ONE purpose. If something is on the table, that means it needs to get done.
Right now I'm envisioning what will be on the table, in the above categories:
  • Housework - index cards with chores
  • Bills - arranged and ready for viewing
  • Groceries - a running list
  • Cashflow - a running list
  • Projects - more index cards

I'll go into more detail of the plan for each.

Housework: Some cards will be easy, others will be hard. That's just the way it goes. And some things must go together. You don't want to dust a room and not vacuum it, for instance. And you don't want to mop the floor without sweeping it first. I want to make sure that they make sense. There are also different frequencies at which things must be done. Duplicate cards will be made to accomodate frequent jobs, like "do 2 loads of laundry" or "clean the glass coffee table and vacuum the black rug because they both show absolutely everything". Those kinds of cards should come up almost twice a week.

Bills: Ah, bills. Don't you just love them? They have these things called "due dates" on them. Yes, they really do make it that easy for you! If you can only catch up with them, then you can start paying them on time, and isn't that what everyone wants? If you're lucky, your mom might even forget about the money she lent you, and your dad might give you a break on the car payment this month. Because after all, they just want to see you grow and learn and become more mature! And it's not every day we have the opportunity to give someone a little boost in the right direction.

Groceries: We'll keep a running list of things we need around the house. When the time comes that we need to do the shopping, we'll plan our meals for the next week or so and add those ingredients to the list. On days when we have to go shopping, we won't draw from the housework pile. But we will clean out the refrigerator so we know everything is fresh.

Cashflow: We'll have a little tally of when we take out money or spend money on miscellaneous things. We'll see if this helps our cashflow. I could probably use more suggestions on how to implement this.

Projects: Every time we think of a little project that needs to be done, it will go on a card seperate from the housework pile. Once a week, on a day off, we'll draw from both piles.

Obviously, there are certain things that need to be done EVERY DAY, like do the dishes and clean the litter box. And try not to trash the place.

sound good?


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