Scheduling tasks

I remember vividly a conversation where the other person revealed that they chose to use a daily medication instead of a single monthly dose (which was truly cheaper and safer) because they might forget it once a month, but they could remember it if it was part of their daily routine.  I was dumbfounded.

Then I had kids.  Since having children I have forgotten many things that used to seem second nature.  My time, my stuff, and even my mind are not my own anymore.  Little voices and little hands routinely derail my plan for the day.  (Don't get me wrong, I love my family and appreciate many perks to parenting, but that's a later post.)  I lay a bill in an obvious place to remember to mail it, and someone lays their art project over it.  Forgotten bill!  I make my way downstairs in a ratty t-shirt to get my work shirt out of the laundry, and WWE erupts in the living room.  Forgotten shirt! I absolutely must make cookies for the meeting tonight, but a sick kid has to be picked up from school.  Forgotten cookies!  And if you're like me, some mornings you forget to brush your teeth.  (This is not a routine occurrence, of course, but it's happened more than once.)  So remembering to do routine maintenance on everyday items is not usually going to happen unless it's scheduled and on the calendar.

I've been working on a list that I'll share with you.  If lists are not already your best friend, get to know a good list and see if your can build a healthy relationship.  I'll bet you get along just fine.  I'm just starting. And I would appreciate any suggestions and additions you might have. 
  • Daily Medications - I put daily medications in a plastic days of the week medication box.  Then I add refilling it to my weekly 'to do' list.
  • Pet veterinary appointments - I make the next appointment at the office and put it on my calendar.  It's easier to move than to remember.
  • Pet grooming appointments - Some groomers will set up your appointments for the year.  You may be able to get a standard day, too.
  • Pet monthly medications (heartworm, flea & tick) - Give these on a memorable day or date like the 15th or the first week-end.
  • Replace furnace/air conditioner filters - Do this every month for the health of your family and to keep your unit working efficiently.
  • Pay bills - Set up auto payment through the bank or the company itself.  Pay bills twice a month on a schedule and a plan.
  • Change the oil in the car - Most of us drive a routine number of miles a month.  Determine how often you need an oil change and put it on the calendar.  Make your next appointment when you have service performed.  Make sure they are checking other fluid levels, tire pressure, and safety issues as well.
  • Have furnace/air conditioner cleaned - Have professional service done once a year, or according to the manufacturers recommendations.
  • Renew computer virus protection - Pay for upgraded software annually, but remember to do included software updates at least monthly or as often as updates are available.
  • Family and Friends' birthday cards and gifts - Start a birthday calendar, or enter dates in your digital calendar to renew each year.  Shop for all the cards you'll need once a month.
  • Test smoke/fire alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms - Test these using the test button or with a smoking match once a month.  Replace batteries annually.
  • Refill routine prescriptions - I refill all my household prescriptions at the same time once a month.  If you have a smart phone see if your pharmacy has an app for this.  I scan mine and it's done.
  • Balance your checkbook - Do this once a month.  If you've never balanced your checkbook, learn how. It's a great time to check in on your budget as well.  Saving up, keeping cash on hand, purchasing gear and stocking up on food and supplies are an important part of preparedness.
  • Write to your sponsored child every month - If you don't currently sponsor a child in a developing nation, I urge you to consider it.  Almost every one of us can afford the $1 (or so) a day to redeem a child from dark hopelessness of poverty.  I hope you'll consider sponsoring a child and starting a friendship that will certainly last that child's lifetime.  Click to Compassion International or World Vision to learn more.
  • Call a long distance friend - I tend to get busy with every day things and forget to reach out to important people that I don't see every day.  Make a phone (or Skype) date - pick a day and time to call a special someone.
  • Have lunch/dinner with friends - I try to have lunch with a friend once a week.  But if I don't schedule it, it doesn't happen.
  • Walk exterior of home looking for maintenance and safety issues - I try to do this at least once a month and after every storm. 
  • Check home and garage interior - Look for the dreaded electrical octopus and other fire and safety hazards.  Make sure there are adequate clearances for walking through.  Rearrange furniture and appliances or have an electrician install a needed outlet.
  • Schedule family haircuts - You know those people who take a picture every morning?  You'd laugh at me and my kids if we ever did that.  Our busy schedules often leave us looking shaggy.  If I make the next haircut appointment, we're taken care of.

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