Set Up A Control Central Within Your Home

Every manager needs a Control Central--be it a desk, a countertop, or an office. In a company, it's the place from which he or she calls the shots. In a home, it's the place from which the Family Manager organizes, tracks the family's schedule, notes changes, responds to messages, makes lists, and keeps all those important papers in their places. By setting up your own Control Central, you can better oversee your family's comings and goings and manage the countless tasks, responsibilities, and decisions that are made every day. In short, by becoming more efficient, you'll save precious moments that can be redirected to your larger priorities.

Here are ideas to consider when setting up your own base of operations:

  • Choose a central location in your home. Make sure it has a desk or countertop you can work on. Install a bulletin board in this area, and place a trash can within easy reach. If possible, a filing drawer should be easily accessible.

  • Hang a family calendar on an adjacent wall. Record each person's appointments, activities, and important dates.

  • Stock Control Central with pens, pencils, a highlighter pen, and some notepads for jotting down ideas and recording phone messages.

  • Pull together the following supplies and keep them at Control Central: paper clips, stapler, staples, staple remover, rubber bands, scissors, tape, and letter opener. Let family members know that these supplies must stay in their new home.

  • Put a copy of your local phone directory here, as well as a list of numbers your family regularly calls. This is also the home for directories from church, school, home-owners associations, clubs, and other groups.

  • Keep an ongoing grocery and personal-needs list here so family members will always know where to add items your running low on.

  • Have an easy-access file for takeout menus and coupons.

    Family In-Boxes

    Purchase stackable in-boxes and label one for each child. Place them near your Control Central. When kids get home from school, have them unload their backpacks right away and put important papers and forms in their in-boxes. Mom and Dad should go through kids' in-boxes each night and review contents, signing and returning any papers that need to go back to school.

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