KayLee Parker has found the write way to get organized. Put it on paper, she says, and you'll get things done smoother and faster.
Parker's concept, which she has turned into a business, is like flying an airplane. Before taking off, a pilot files a flight plan and goes through a checklist of procedures to make sure the plane is ready. This eliminates mistakes and frees the mind to concentrate on flying.
Day-to-day living can work the same way, says Parker. Whether you're getting ready for Christmas, planning a camping trip of putting together a weekly menu, working from pre-printed checklists can make your tasks easier.
The trouble with many people, says Parker, is that they take a "seat-of-the pants" approach to life. In their rush to get airborne, they don't plan. Then they panic when the gas tank is almost empty and they haven't packed any parachutes.
To help avoid this kind of stress, Parker started a cottage business called Your Mom's Organizers. She sells pads of checklists designed to help with everything from grocery shopping to packing for a trip.
Parker developed her lists to meet her own organizational needs several years ago.
"I was a mother of four who was doing a lot of volunteer work," she said, speaking by telephone from her home in Colorado Springs. "Between that and my children's school activities there was a lot of confusion. I read a lot of books on time management and they all said, 'make a list.'"
Parker tried that advice but found it didn't always work.
"My lists were incomplete," she said. "I'd always forget things. Then I'd worry about it. I decided I'd have to get a handle on this."
Parker put her house in order by making detailed checklists on every area of home management. She found the lists jogged her memory.
"My system evolved," she said, "I tired a lot of things that didn't work I thought it would be good to write down what did work and put it in a book"
But Parker found her self-published book was not what people were looking for.
"My book was full of checklists for everything," she said. "My idea was for people to copy the lists and use them. But they wouldn't do it. They wanted something ready to use."
Parker took the checklists out of her book and put them into packets geared for specific needs. The Holiday planning packet, for example, contains advice on how to get through Christmas along with a holiday to-do list, a Christmas card list, gift lists for family members and friends, a menu planner and an after holidays to-do list.
The Christmas card section contains space for the name, address and telephone number of each person of family on your mailing list, the names of their children and the years you sent and received cards from them.
The gift section contains room for information like clothing sizes and gift requests for each recipient as well as space to record what you bought and spent.
"Once you get it down on paper, it's planned and you don't have to worry about it," said Parker.