Thursday, May 8, 2008

Oooh! Paperwork!!

Today I'd like to share a really cool website with some super-efficient forms, but you gotta sit through my story first.

I'm a weird bird. I readily admit it. I work best when things are written down and check-off-able. There's so much going on in my brain that things get lost up there. I can spend hours focusing on the minutiae of my day and leaving the major tasks undone. When I have a list, it's out of my brain, freeing up space for other things, and not getting lost in the clutter. I used to have a Palm Pilot - three in succession that kept dying - but as hubby explained, "Those things just aren't made to be on all the time!"

I have a hard time convincing the kids to follow my paper-driven lead. "MOM! We're out of cream of tartar! I can't make meringue cookies without cream of tartar!" I hear this, or a variation of it, daily. My answer is always "WRITE IT DOWN!" I keep a piece of paper on the fridge just for this purpose. If it's not written down, it doesn't get put on the shopping list and next week I'll hear, "MOM! I told you we were out of cream of tartar, why didn't you get any at the store?"

"Did you write it down?"

"No, I told YOU!"

Nope. Doesn't work that way.

I've designed a form called the Taxi Service Request. I have five kids, see, and they all need to be somewhere at sometime for some purpose and they all want me to get them there. But I only have one car, and it spends most of the day with my husband at work! Juggling all the family's errands, social engagements and medical issues is a time-management course in itself.

"Mom, it's Saturday, and I have to be at the grocery store to sell cookies at 9AM! Get UP!!"

"I didn't see a Taxi Service Request on that."

"You've known about it for weeks!"

"I didn't see a Taxi Service Request on that."

If it's a younger person, I'll generally relent and get them there, if a tad late, and make sure they get lecture 19B.3 on the way (I don't live in your head and can't be expected to keep up 24/7 with the needs and desires of every person in this family. Fill out the form or do without.) Older people might get lecture 42C.1 (You have a bicycle, right?)

I digress.

On Get Rich Slowly, one of my daily-read blogs, David Seah's blog was mentioned and I just had to go there to look around. This guy has created all these visually stunning forms for people like me! Of course, they are meant for people in business with, like billable hours and stuff. But my business is this family and this house and his forms are versatile enough to work for me!

I can't wait to whip out an Emergent Task Timer sheet the next time my eight-year-old complains that all she ever does is school and chores. Let's just see, shall we? I imagine filling in the bubbles will be a cool little exercise for her, and will encourage her to really take a look at where her time goes.

The next time my 18-year-old daughter heaves a heavy sigh and flops on the couch because she has so much to do she can't keep it all straight, I'll hand her an Emergent Task Planner. I love the positive messages on this one: Get three tasks done today, you're doing pretty good. More than three major tasks? You're on fire!

Or, when faced with a huge school project, I can envision my 16-year-old looking at a Destruct-O-Matic edition of the Task Progress Tracker and getting motivated enough to actually start, then making little explosion sound effects as he blasts his way through to success.

It might not actually work that way, but hey, a mom can dream!

I'll update to let you all know how these cool forms are working for us!


kim said...

paperwork scares me. I'm really really bad with paper.

Not that I'm any better with my brain.

I might actually do better with paper

but it still stresses me out

kim said...

uh ... am I imagining things?

A Frayed Knot said...

No, I decided to split off my Mystery Shopping blog stuff so to lessen the possibility of being identified. I'll send you a link. ;)