It’s January again when we flip the page to a lovely smooth, blank calendar. There are lots and lots of pages to fill with a list of activities a mile long. Pretty soon that fresh blank calendar is a potholed minefield marathon of “How am I ever going to get all this done”? Oh yeah, major stock show season is underway. If you’re thinking “just kill me now”, never fear.
Here are 3 tried and true tips for getting organized heading into the new year:
- Clear the clutter. Are you thinking Marie Kondo would have a stroke if she walked into your barn? Set aside a day early in the new year to have all hands on deck to clean and sort your show supplies. Group like things alike. Throw things away. Donate things. Fix the things that need fixing. Clean the things that need cleaning. Order the things that need ordering. Know exactly what you have on-hand. Threaten everyone within an inch of their life if they dirty it up again… you know the drill. In the words of the shoe company, just DO IT.
- Plan your planner. Like the wonderful life lesson story, if you put the big things in the jar first, then all the little things fit around them. No one has an excuse for not having a planner. You can be classic and keep a paper planner, or anyone who has a smartphone has a calendar app. Use it! Start by putting in your major dates – stock show days, deadlines, weddings, birthdays, family and community events. If you write these down in a list before putting them into your schedule, screenshot that list and send it to everyone in your family. From ages 8 to 88, they will appreciate it! Set additional electronic reminders a few days ahead of the dates when you put them in your calendar. Then add in standing obligations, routine appointments, practice times, and the rest of your household schedule. Even though you know these smaller things by heart, putting it on the calendar will help you from overlapping events. Enter and make changes to your calendar constantly throughout the year as soon as things arise. Add in notes like flight and hotel info and reservation numbers directly onto your calendar to save time later. Merge/share electronic calendars between family members to cover all the bases. Save your calendar to the cloud or back it up on your PC regularly to prevent total panic and desperation in case your phone takes a swim in the water trough or meets a similar inevitable fate. Yes, you should even plan for your planner getting lost in an unplanned change of plans. Got it?
- Reuse and refine your checklists. Are you the “list” person in your household? Do you find yourself starting a list from scratch each time? For stock shows as an example, you probably make a “pre-show to do list,” “packing list,” “supply list,” “showbox list,” and maybe even a “snack list” heading into each show. Save your lists electronically to use next time. This saves the panic of forgetting something on the list and lets you start out a step ahead. Arranging for health papers, a fitter, and getting the show clothes to the cleaners in plenty of time? No problem, it’s on the list. Did you pack the right show boots and pants for the wash rack? No problem, it’s on your list. Everyone’s favorite snack in the cooler? Yep. Check!
There may be no “easy” way to organize a family, especially when you’re talking multiple kids, activities, and throw in ranching and stock shows on top of it all. However, keeping things organized will keep your whole pack on the track for success!