Planning ahead when you don't have time

I've always been one of those super organized people. The one with a to-do list for projects to tackle today, this week, this month. And I love a good five year plan. Between work, school, and social schedules I was always on the go. From where I stood there was nothing that couldn't be accomplished by the all mighty to do list.

Then I had kids.

My organized, box checking life gave way to newborn non-schedules and making it up as I went- like every new parent trying to figure it out. The first day home from the hospital I made a list of things to do around the house now that the baby was here... two weeks later it was in the same spot on the counter without a single check mark. Having kids shifted my perspective from one of "when the time is right" to "when I have a chunk of time" for completing projects.

I was working with a client recently and I asked about their timeline for changes to their house and he told me "we work 60 hours a week so there is no time but we have to make these changes so I'd rather know now and chip away at it when we can instead of scrambling to do it against a deadline".


Looking at the big picture and working through the project list can help:

1. reduce the shock for family members resisting necessary changes

2. reduce the burden of time to make changes

3. reduce the financial impact by spreading projects out over time

4. increase the likelihood vulnerable family members will incorporate changes to their routine to promote safety and reduce the potential risk for injury

5. provide the opportunity for family members to participate in decision making pertaining to changes in their home  

6. provide the opportunity to broach topics that may be difficult to discuss- ie. end of life planning, level of at home care, living will, power of attorney, etc.

The most important part of planning ahead is knowing what you're planning for. Want to retire at 65? Figure out how much you need to save and work backwards to know how much to put aside for each paycheck. Want to take a vacation but you have deadlines coming up at work? Again, break it into chunks and work backwards.

Planning to stay in your home as long as possible? At what point would you consider moving to assisted living- after having to put grab bars in your home? When you have 20 hours of assistance coming in a week? It's up to you, as long as you plan ahead. Or, I should say, it's more likely to be up to you if you have a plan.

Figure out where you are to know where you need to go. Give yourself and your family time to make these changes. Reduce your risk for falls. Improve routines. Know when to bring assistance in. Make your healthcare choices and talk about it with your family.

Having a home assessment is a starting point.

Setting aside time to go through house projects will pay off in the end. Even if it's a grab bar a month, putting up the porch railing on a Sunday afternoon, taking months to finalize design plans for a renovation. Every step forward is a step closer to your long term goal.

If you are ready to start planning for the future and making changes at home- I can help.