Time management Monday: Preparing for the busy time

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5/4/2010: To-Do List

Here it comes, that super-busy time of year. For students and parents of kids in school, the end of the school year is approaching and with it exams, projects, performances and events. Even if your life isn’t school-related, spring and early summer bring weddings, home projects, social events and work ramping up. Summer is just around the corner, and your vacation won’t plan itself: booking accommodation and transportation, arranging for someone to watch your house and stopping your mail, buying anything you need for the trip–there’s a lot to do.

Now’s the time to get prepared before these upcoming situations hit you full force. Open up your planner and mark each event on the date. Then back-count the days for preparation. Write in deadlines ahead of time.

For example, if you have a big report due, write in your planner in the days or weeks ahead the dates when you need to finish your research, write your draft, complete the report, then add editing time. For each step, give yourself twice as much time as you think it will actually take. Surprises always come up. You don’t want to be printing your paper at 3am the night before it’s due and run out of printer ink. Set yourself up for success by giving yourself plenty of time.

If you’ll be going to performances, weddings, graduations or other big events, check your wardrobe situation. What will you wear? What about shoes? Buy anything you need well in advance to avoid last-minute desperate expensive purchases.

If you are a parent of kids in school, ask them what materials they need for their projects. Get them to think about what they need well in advance, and involve them in the purchasing process so they can see how much materials cost and have some choice in what they use. You don’t want your child approaching you at 10pm the night before their project is due asking for materials to build a castle/ the solar system/ a molecule of protein/ etc.

Think ahead to what will happen over the next few months, and think about what you need to do and acquire to be prepared. Give yourself plenty of time to avoid last-minute panic. With planning and preparation, you’ll be able to enjoy all the events and transitions of this busy time!

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