Remember those days in kindergarten when your day was brimming with consistency? You knew the day began with Circle Time, followed by Center Time, then Recess and Snack. With each day you anticipated what was expected and you worked hard at each activity. Having a schedule helps us be more productive with our time and energized in our efforts. There are many ways to implement structure in our day.
“Pattern Planning” is a system recommend by Doctors John Ratey and Ned Hallowell in the book, ADD Friendly Ways to Organize by Judith Kohlberg and Kathleen Nadeau. Begin with the baby steps of your big goals and then create a pattern for the day with these. This includes a regular wake up time, breakfast, exercise, morning and afternoon work times, dinner preparation and bedtime routine for the evening. This simplified pattern includes all aspects of your life.
For families, this is especially important in creating a positive beginning and end to the day. Decide what is most important and then add the steps to incorporate this. Decide what time you need to be out the door, and work backwards allowing plenty of time to get ready and add 10 extra minutes just in case! Create organization around the structure of the day, including a “landing strip” to place and grab back packs to head out the door. An evening routine adds time for homework, pick up, and bedtime routines.
Does consistency lead to boredom? Add fun to the routines with a new dimension such as music, variety and choices for breakfast and partnering with family members. It is important to remember that “structure” is not about rigidity, it is about consistency! The pattern should be followed more frequently than not because the schedule honors your priorities rather than your distractions.
Get started by writing out your “perfect” schedule in a grid, allowing for appropriate time to do each step. Block in times with an arrow for your activities. Post it in a place you will see it regularly and use a timer to help you remember.
A schedule adds efficiency and effectiveness to our day by helping us focus on a specific activity. But more importantly, consistency makes for peace of mind and positive energy and of course we all want that!
Ellen R. Delap, CPO®
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Making Time and Space for what's important to you!
Certified Professional Organizer®
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Member/Past President NAPO Houston
Member National Association of Professional Organizers
ADD and CD Certificate/National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization
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