Both of my kids are attempting to bend Mrs ERJ and me into their own personal, executive assistants. They have lazily slipped into the habit of tossing us assignments as they head out the door. When challenged they dismiss us with, "Well, you guys are retired and have nothing better to do." Later, their feelings are bruised when they came home from their slumber party and find that we had not dusted and ironed their collection of silk butterflies to their standards.
Several years ago I was in a similar situation at work. The issue was resolved by instituting a work-order system. The work-order form adhered to the battle-tested Who-What-How-Where-When-Why format.
The top of the work-order documented the customer's desires regarding deliverables and timing. The timing requirement of "ASAP" was not permitted.
The middle portion of the work-order outlined what the customer was required to deliver to us before we started the work: drawings, account number, materials and so on.
The bottom part of the work-order documented our estimate of the resources required, actual manhours consumed, clockhours and any findings that would make the next job more successful. The primary function of this bottom portion was to calibrate our estimates and verify that we had met the customer's timing and deliverables requirements.
The pull on the resource dropped by 80% after the customer were required to pony up all of their pre-work obligations before the work started.
The 20% that did not evaporate were not initiated until all of the customer pre-work was in hand. Once started the work was executed with speed and precision.
My new "To do" list
My new "To do" list form also follows the Who-What-How-Where-When-Why format. So far it has accounted for a mopped floor, two sets of snow tires installed and a slow leak addressed.
It seems to be working.