Everything we do requires a choice. We make choices when we wake up, eat food, get dressed, answer the phone — it’s all a choice. Although our choices are not always contemplated or obvious, they are choices nonetheless. And if we don’t choose our tasks and time deliberately, we can unknowingly allow important things to slip through the cracks.
We often hear people say they wish they had more hours in a day. Well, the experts say that for every one minute you spend planning, you will gain ten in execution. WOW! Over time, those minutes add up. You can do the math. So now the question is – Are we going to take the time to plan, and if so, how do we plan?
Start With the End Result in Mind
Time management is about starting with the end result in mind, and then working backward to achieve our goals. That’s really what this is about — setting goals and then figuring out our priorities. If we don’t do this, life just seems to happen to us, and years slip past us without any real significant achievements to speak of.
The corporate and the academic worlds are moving toward a more project-based environment. So as our kids grow up, they’re going to need strong project management skills, and we can begin teaching them some of the basics by showing them how to look at their to do list to find mini projects: papers for school, putting together a vendor booth for their small business, planning a birthday party.
What Has to Be Done?
- Teach kids to ask, “What exactly needs to be done?”
- They should be clear and concise because being vague clouds vision.
- Then they should define any related goals and be specific.
My fifteen year old has a successful henna tattoo business, and she gets a good amount of business from booths at various fairs and events around town. For these booths, she has to have a table with good signage. She needs pictures of her work, brochures, business cards and pricing information. Her goal is obviously to do tattoos at the event and make money, but it’s also to network for future business. That means she has to provide information on weddings, pregnancy belly tattoos and home parties (which tend to bring in good money). Her goal is to leave an event with at least three bookings — one to replace that day’s event and two to grow her business.
When our kids are defining their goals and tasks, they need to think about what they want the end result to look like.
Most parents love the idea of their kids making their own money, and who wouldn’t want their kids to gain the life skills that come from running a business? But the first obstacle that most families face is coming up with a business idea.
This Saturday we’re kicking off a radio series on this very topic. Our guest is Certified Public Accountant Carol Topp who wrote a curriculum for families called Micro Business For Teens. We launched this series with a newspaper column about preparing kids for the real world. Speaking of which, if you haven’t already joined the group by the same name, head over there now and jump in on the conversation.
Start With What They Love
The first step in helping kids find a business is figuring out what they enjoy and what they’re good at. Our kids knit and spin their own yarn. So for a season, they made some money selling knitted items. In fact, one summer my daughter raised $300 making and selling knitted owls.
Isn’t art just something fun that we let our kids do to keep themselves busy and ward off the dreaded boredom?
Not so much.
Life Lesson: It’s Okay to Make Mistakes
In my own life I have struggled with allowing myself to make mistakes. Often times, I was afraid to begin a DIY project for fear I would mess it up. I could feel the struggle inside. “Just go ahead and try your idea – Oh, you’d better not, you’ll mess the whole thing up and waste all your time and materials.”
But my daughter, on the other hand, has no problem trying something new, mainly because of her art training. During high school she attended a local visual and performing arts program. One day, she came home and told me how her beautiful 3D creation had plummeted to the floor. Her instructor demanded that she, “make it work.” He told her that mistakes and accidents happened to make art more interesting and it could very well be the best 3D art she’d ever create. Well, as it ended up, her project turned out amazing. He was right!
That experience taught her that it’s okay to step out and make mistakes (and not just in art). She also learned that there’s more than one answer to every problem. And to be honest, I learned through her lesson too.
The starving artist is starving by choice. Art does not have to be synonymous with poverty. Even Vincent Van Gogh, perhaps the poster boy for the starving artist archetype, wasn’t exactly starving. He worked in a prestigious gallery for six years, and he received a generous monthly stipend from his wealthy brother.
Bedroom in Arles, courtesy of Wikipedia
Maybe it was the Bedroom in Arles painting that perpetuated the myth, or maybe it was his sad demise before seeing any recognition for his work. Whatever the case, Van Gogh wasn’t the starving artist that he’s remembered as, and artists today don’t have to be either.
Back to school also means back to extra curricular, and with these come new relationships, tighter schedules and more commitments. Knowing that your little chicklette is going to be spending a ton of time with a new adult, have you ever considered interviewing them? You know, checking them out to see if they’re a good fit.
Would you hand off your precious offspring to a complete stranger for hours on end? Sometimes we do. They’re called coaches, role models and mentors.
Do you have a little person in your house between the ages of birth and six years old? Do you know someone who does? Then, you need to know about the Absorbent Mind period because there are some very specific things parents can do to make the most of these very important years.
This week we’ve been talking about the Montessori education method and philosophy, and in our post on creating a Montessori Toddler Room, we touched on the Montessori concept of Sensitive Periods — the developmental stages in a child’s life.
From birth to about age six, Dr. Maria Montessori identified a crucial period in a child’s development that she called The Absorbent Mind, and she believed that what happens during this period lays the foundation for all future intellectual and psychological growth.
Once I saw passion brimming from my son, I knew politics was going to be in his life forever. It was then that I was compelled to tailor his education around his goal of becoming a lawyer. Little did I know that I was following a basic tenant of The Montessori Method. As the years have gone by, and the more I’ve read, I am even more astounded by the genius of this philosophy.
My two year old just started sleeping in his own room. Until now, he slept with us, which was very handy for breastfeeding and early potty training, but now that he’s transitioning into his own space, I’m on the hunt for the perfect room, and I do believe Montessori has the answer!
Order, simplicity, routine and beauty — the cornerstones of a Montessori-inspired toddler bedroom. Ahh! Just saying those four words together invokes a sense of inner peace, doesn’t it? And if anyone could use some inner peace, it’s the mom of a strong-willed two year old boy. You know what I’m saying?
How many birthday parties have you planned for your children? If you’re like me, it has added up to quite a few. When the kids are very small, it’s pretty easy: just friends and cake. Later on, you can take your pick of whatever Disney character, popular toy, or favorite activity your child is obsessed with to focus on as a theme.
What about when they’re a little older? Once your child hits the upper elementary grades, middle and then high school, all bets are off. They may deem all your creative ideas as “uncool.” You begin to think that you have to resort to pizza and a movie for the rest of the birthdays you’re responsible for.
I was stuck in the same boat. My daughter Ashley’s sixteenth birthday was rapidly approaching. I wanted to try something different, something to create long-lasting memories for my special girl. I asked Ashley if there was anything she wanted to do.