11 December 2006

Banish chaos and mayhem next week

If you feel that every morning is a nightmare and Monday mornings are catastrophic, here’s what you need to do now to not start next week with a disaster.


You’re astute and ordered at work - mostly. But every morning is a nightmare and Monday mornings are catastrophic. Today you took your son’s silkworm project to the airport instead of your laptop. Here’s what you need to do now to not start next week with a disaster.

You take pride in your work and your desk is meticulously tidy. This belies the mayhem that occurs at home while you try to get yourself and your family ready. It’s a stressful melee involving car keys, laptop computers, school projects, pet food, VIDs (Very Important Documents) and notes to teachers.

You arrived at work the other day with mismatched socks and the wrong set of VIDs. Nobody said anything, but you’re worried. What’s to be done?

The most important aspect of getting a good start to the day is routine. Here are a few easy steps:

  • Make a list and prioritise; To-do lists are about as sexy as Frank Kahn, but they're useful. Draw one up and refer to it daily;
  • Give yourself enough time: In his eponymous autobiography, former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca says he would forget about his job on weekends, spending time with his wife and two daughters. Then on Sunday evening he’d prepare his work for the following week, then get an early night. This is a good idea during the week, too. If you have a project that needs completion overnight, avoid the temptation to watch several hours of television before getting started once your brain is addled by pizza, beer and the inanities of Profiler . Rather get everything done early. You can always record that not-to-be-missed Love Boat re-run and watch it later.
  • Get it all done at once: There’s no better way to ensure a chaotic morning that to go to bed thinking “I’m ready - I’ll just load my presentation onto my laptop first thing in the morning, just before I leave for the airport.” Some people find it easier to line up everything they need in order of use, from socks to car keys.
  • Set an alarm: You get more rest by turning in early than by sleeping in late. Get up early and miss the traffic to the airport rather than subject yourself to a potentially disastrous traffic jam. Some people develop insomnia worrying that they’ll oversleep. Set the alarm on your radio clock and cell phone. Some security companies will give you wake-up calls if you ask them.
  • Get help: If you know you’ll be rushed, consider getting a friend or relative to take the kids to school or day care.
  • Establish a routine: Be ruthless about getting your family to put keys, school bags and pet food in the same place. Of course, for all this to work, you’ll need to enlist the cooperation of the family. It’s little use being completely ready by 7.30am if your six-year-old then tells you she needs to take two cakes to school.
  • Cut the caffeine: Coffee is a wonderful substance, but too much of it plays havoc with your blood sugar levels. Have one good, strong cup and then stick to water or herbal tea.
William Smook – YourHealth writer

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