What If The Russians Land On The Roof?

Parents like lists of things to do.  But they should probably forget about them.

More than a little ironic advice coming out of my mouth because for years I made my living with lists and schedules of things to do.  My specialty was manufacturing production control, what was later called Materials Management a discipline which involves a time phased explosion of Bills-Of-Material of customer or stock orders into their components parts, sometimes down thru  many levels, then the ordering the purchased parts and scheduling their delivery just when the factory needed them as well as ordering the parts being made in the factory, all in just the right sequence to be assembled into the final product which we’d then schedule to ship.  Thousand of different finished goods, tens of thousands of components.  So my desk was covered with lists, I had lists in my pockets, I used to go home at night, go to sleep and dream about lists.

Russian ParatroopersBut in my first year or two on the job, I also had a very wise boss.  What he would say to me when it looked like I was losing it was, “Dick what I want to do is this, come to work each morning and discover that Russian paratroopers have landed on the roof the night before, broken into the factory and destroyed every piece of paper you own.  Then figure out what the two or three most important things you have do in order to get the factory running well that day, go and handle them, then come back to your desk, have a cup of coffee and calmly plan the rest of your day.”

And when I finally took his advice, about forty repetitions later, life got a lot easier.  And I got promoted.

It’s the same with a busy family.  What two or three most important issues do you have to address in order to keep it running as it should.  Do those and then calmly, because you can calmly, work through the rest of your day.