How can I possibly get all this done?

By Berny Unruh
Family and Community Wellness Agent for the Cottonwood Extension District

Is it possible to plan for the perfect day? I always start the day with a to-do list and the outlook to get a lot done looks great. And then the first situation or problem pops its head into the room.

Whether you are planning for your family or for your day at work, it is still important to plan. Whether you are a morning person or not, it is still important to establish a morning routine. If you help your children practice doing the same thing each morning, it will help them establish a regular morning routine and develop a habit for life.

A recent social media post describes how a typical plan can quickly go astray: “I needed a pair of scissors to finish a project and went to the junk drawer to get them and decided to organize the junk drawer and found another item that did not belong there and went to put it where it belonged and found that the bathroom was a mess and stopped to clean the bathroom counter but found an item there that really needed to be in the bedroom” and the list goes on and on. The distractions that we face each day with phone notifications, email, picking up misplaced items in the house, cleaning off the kitchen counter are endless and suddenly hours have passed and nothing has been crossed off the “to-do” list.

It would take a series of articles or a week of training to teach the steps of organization. Let’s focus on family life first. It is most important to stay positive with your family members. Make a list of what is expected of each person so everyone can be in the vehicle ready to go to school or to work at an established set time. Be patient with the younger children and remember that a good mood and pleasant attitude will make a huge difference in the outcome.

In all reality, the organizing for the morning routine, starts the night before. Help each child lay out on a chair what they will wear to school the next day. Backpacks should be packed and by the door ready to go. If lunches are needed they should be packed in the refrigerator or laying on the counter ready to be packed.

I like to walk through the house each evening and pick up a few things that need to be put away. My house is never spotless but I do feel better if the dishes are in the dishwasher and the kitchen counter is cleaned off and ready for the next meal preparation.

A good evening routine should also include writing out your to-do list for the next day. There are too many things to remember and if it is written down at least it won’t be on your mind when you lay down to go to sleep.

Crossing everything off the to-do list isn’t something that is going to happen every day. There are not many days that it actually happens for me! The important thing is that we do have a plan and that we are willing to adjust the plan until we find what works for our family. Helping your children learn a routine and establish habits will make a big difference in their life.

Berny Unruh is the Family and Community Wellness Agent for the Cottonwood Extension District. She can be reached at 785-628-9430 or at bunruh@ksu.edu K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.