Setting Goals

Goals are a means to help you be organized with school and home, therefore, relieving stress. Goals can be as simple or as detailed as you like. The idea is to have a plan for accomplishing something you need to complete.

Last month I had a dark, ominous cloud hanging over my head as I was thinking about the upcoming school year. I knew I had to prepare for 6 classes that I am teaching this year and quite frankly, it was overwhelming me. I didn’t want to deal with it. I just wanted to run away, but I decided to stand  and conquer this amount of work I had to get done.

elderly_lady5.gif This not an actual picture of me as I was not smiling.

So,with pen in hand I wrote down ALL that I wanted to accomplish for the next month in regards to school. It is said that the pen is mightier than the sword. 😉

I filled an entire 8.5″x11″ sheet of paper and I write small! I wrote each class in a separate category and listed under each one what I wanted to accomplish. It took me a solid 2 weeks to accomplish the majority of the list and another week to finish up other details, but VICTORY! I did it and it has been a great feeling. I treated myself  to a day trip with Dale to Natural Bridge, Kentucky and had no feelings of thinking I should be home working on lesson plans. —Pause here and visualize me doing a happy dance.

Are you feeling a little like I did with clouds hanging over you? Here are some tips that I have found helpful:

  • Establish Categories

Do you just want to work on school or do you need to include the house as well?  I will list the house as an example since this is the area I need to work on right now.

  • Write Subcategories

List all of the things you want to do within that category. For instance, under the category of house my subcategory is the kitchen. I could list the basement as well, but I am trying to not take on more than I can possibly accomplish over the next week.

  • List specifics

What exactly do I want to accomplish in the kitchen? In my kitchen I’d like to clean out the Lazy Susan,the refrigerator,and clean the pantry.

  • List details of how to accomplish these tasks, including delegating part of the job to a family member.

“Many hands makes light the work.” was an old Shaker saying that I think holds true in this instance.  I am going to ask my son, Ian, to put all of the canned goods and other items for the Lazy Susan on the counter and to check  expiration dates on canned goods. You can make it fun for your young helpers by setting a challenge to see who can find the oldest can in the bunch. Dale just brought up a bottle of catsup from the basement cabinet yesterday with an expiration date of 2009. ewww!

I don’t really list the details for the refrigerator since I know I just need to get rid of old food and clean the shelves and compartments. If you are asking for one of your children to help, then that is an entirely different matter! List everything that you possibly need done so you don’t have a partly done job that you must go back and do yourself or have them finish later. Regarding the pantry I made a list that has the following items: empty pantry, check expiration dates, wipe off shelves, wipe down walls, clean floor, take inventory of items, make grocery list of needed groceries, and put all items back on shelves.

  • Schedule a Time to Accomplish your Goal

Allow plenty of time to complete your goal. Will it take an hour, a day, a week? Clear your schedule and don’t let anything interrupt until you are finished with that goal or until the time you allotted has been used. If you didn’t finish set another time, no longer than a week, to get it finished. Remember, it took me a long time to complete my lesson plans, but I stuck with it and got it finished.

  • Cross off Completed Tasks

I like to have boxes to check off next to the items that need to be done. I also like to use a bright highlighter to visually see what I have accomplished. If that doesn’t matter to you, don’t do it; it’s all a matter of preference.

  •  Admire and Celebrate your accomplishments.

You did it! Congratulations on completing your goal. What do you want to tackle next?

Now that you have read through how I set goals and take on tasks, why don’t you take a few minutes to think about an area where you need to work? If you have a long list break it down into smaller pieces. Start by  setting a goal, making a list, and enlisting some helpers. You’ll feel soooo much better, giving you more time to spend with your family, friends, and of course, schoolwork. It looks like my next goal will be to clean out the cabinet in the basement where the catsup was residing, or I could start on my lesson plans for October….

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