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A Pediatric Perspective

Organizational Tools

Published October 24, 2014 1:43 PM by Wendy Spoor-Hof
I can't believe how quickly time is flying by. I know when I was younger my parents would comment on how time seems to go faster when you are older but couldn't understand how that could happen. Now, as an adult working full time, going to school full time, with a family - boy, can I totally, not just understand how that happens, but relate to it all too well.

I'm in my 3rd week of a 10 week quarter at school and had forgotten just how much reading there is involved. It doesn't help that I do most of the reading at night when everyone is asleep and I'm curled up on the couch with my dogs. I am thinking I may need to find another way to do this as the last couple of nights have found me closing my eyes "just for a moment" and waking up at 1am. This makes getting up at 5:15am a challenge. I am able so far to keep up with the work load, school load, and family needs so I won't complain too much.

I do find that I need a way to organize my "to do" list better though. I was late getting a couple assignments in because I thought they were due on a different day. A good amount of the work we do is on-line and the assignments and when they are due are all on line. I consider myself tech savvy but even for me it can get a bit confusing. I am finding I can see firsthand how hard it must be for children with dyslexia, processing skill challenges and/or ADD that have trouble organizing their thoughts and their school work.

Realizing I need something to help I did a little research and came up with the following helpful organizational tools:

Google Reminders: This is one that my 15 yr old son showed me just the other day after the assistive tech at his school showed him it. I have not had a chance yet to use it but it does look like it might be a really good tool. I like that you can talk into the microphone to set the reminder.  You can set the reminders in the Chrome browser window or on the app on your smart phone. This is the app that I currently use on my Samsung Galaxy phone. I like that it will remind me when I have to do something but also allow me to postpone that task if I need to. I can postpone it for a few minutes, hours, days, weeks. I also like that it can link up to my contacts or to the web if my task involves either one of those items, making it easier to complete the task.

Calendars: I find it hard to buy a schedule/calendar that will allow me to write down my hour visits for work and have space for me to make notes of what I need to get done each day. Although I like the tech stuff I also rely on good old fashioned pen and paper. I like to be able to look at my calendar and see what the day is going to bring. I found sometimes it is easier to just print off my own calendar sheets and put them into a notebook so I have exactly what I need on the page. This is a good site that has many free templates for calendars/schedules. We print one up for my son and post it on his bedroom door each Sunday so he knows what the week ahead will bring. As he completes tasks he crosses them off. It also serves as a good reminder of what chores he needs to complete each day. Helps with the "I forgot" reply when I ask if he has done his chores. J

We also have one huge calendar on our front door. I will write down anything that we need to remember we, as a family, will be doing. I also write down what we individually need to remember we are doing (tutor appointment, haircut, sports practices, etc.) I have when my son has gym class so he remembers to bring his shorts/sneakers. It helps to be a gentle reminder before we are out the door of what that day is going to bring. I would LOVE it if Google or Microsoft would come up with a large Bluetooth-type screen calendar that could be hung on the door or wall and that would sync with whatever events, activities, and appointments we added to our individual phones or computer calendars. The screen would do nothing else but display what was happening each day/week/month and maybe *flash* if something was marked "urgent".

Does anyone have any organizational tools that they find are particularly helpful for their children or themselves? I do find that since we put the calendar up on the door we have not had to turn the car around and go back home because we've forgotten something. I also find the frequent reminders that pop on my phone to alert me that something is due has been a huge help when it comes to work and home life. I just need to find the time to integrate my school work to it also. I would love to hear what works, or doesn't work, for you.

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