With another summer ending and the kids are heading back to school, we are all focusing on how to best handle our new fall schedules.
Unfortunately, thanks to the pandemic, getting into a routine that works effectively is more challenging than ever. But getting organized is probably more important now than ever.
With that in mind, keep reading. I'm sharing with you my 9 best time management tips that will benefit the whole family.
The Benefits of Time Management
Not convinced it's worth your time? Here's how you (and your family) can benefit by adopting these tips into your daily lives:
Most of us feel as though the pandemic took away a lot of our control. By creating a schedule or routine, it's easier for you to still feel as though you have some control over your life.
It's much easier to get stuff done in a timely manner when you know what you need to do and when you need to finish it by. And you'll feel better about yourself if you know you're accomplishing tasks.
Better Family Harmony
Families (and friends!) living through this pandemic together are facing new challenges. These tips will help you communicate more effectively and hopefully lower stress levels throughout the household.
1. Prepare Ahead of Time
The more you can prepare and organize ahead of time, the easier it will be to stay on track when it gets chaotic, especially in the morning when you're all trying to prepare for a new day.
Create a group calendar to help you keep track of everyone. Keep it where everyone can see and use it.
Prepare everything you can (like lunches & planning your outfit) the evening before so you don't have to make as many big decisions during a chaotic time or if you’re not a morning person.
Keep your bags/shoes/books/coats/masks together and ready near the door so you don't forget anything and you don't waste time looking for anything, either.
Preparing ahead of time can help keep stress levels down, especially if something unexpected happens.
Problems arise when communication stops. Share how you feel and what you need and want from those around you.
Effective communication also ensures important activities and dates aren't forgotten and with making sure your family doesn't spend a part of every day arguing over whose turn it was to do the dishes.
Have a quick weekly meeting to ensure everyone is on track and aware of what's going on during the week ahead.
Talk together about what is and isn't working so you can find a solution as a team.
Respect is a two way street and starts with the heads of the household. The more all members are valued, the happier your home will be.
Communication is also a great skill set to have. This is a great opportunity to teach your children (and yourself) new and useful life skills.
3. Get Plenty of Sleep
Seems weird that while talking about organizational tips I bring up the topic of sleep, yet so many people suffer serious physical and mental health issues because they aren't getting enough sleep.
Kids especially need a lot of rest so they can stay focused in school but the whole family will benefit as a unit when everyone is well rested.
Go to bed at the same time every night especially during the week. This habit will help your body realize it’s time for rest and you’ll fall start to fall asleep more easily.
For a better rest, remove or cover all electronics and paperwork from the bedroom.
Light stretching or meditation right before bed helps the body and mind relax.
Designate and treat your bedroom as a place for rest and relaxation. Avoid bringing stimulants such as photos, electronics, and living plants into your bedroom.
4. Create and Maintain Routines & Systems
Organizing works best and is so much easier with systems and routines.
A well-designed system allows you to put mindless tasks on autopilot so that you can focus on more important matters. A great example for the home is creating a system to keep track of your house keys such as hanging a hook near the door.
In business, a good system may help you generate leads. Systems helps boost productivity while reducing stress.
Keep your systems simple or you won't stick to them.
Routines help kids (and adults) know what to expect and feel safe which helps them focus more on their studies/work.
Set up a morning routine around breakfast, serve it the same time every morning which will help you stay on schedule.
Don't forget to set up a system to eat. You'll find that taking a break to grab a healthy snack helps you stay focused and energized throughout the day.
4. Use Reminders and/or Lists
Reminders are a great way to get and stay organized and helps you stay on track. Thanks to technology, it's easier than ever to set up reminders for yourself.
Check lists are also useful to ensure plans and projects don't go awry thanks to a forgotten detail.
Post a reminder at your door (or on your cell): “Do you have your coat, shoes, school/office work, books & keys?”
Set a goal to accomplish the three biggest tasks each day.
Don't overstuff your To Do list.
Focus on what you did accomplish each day and celebrate! Do not focus on what you didn't get done, but do try to cross them off your list as early as possible the next day.
5. Focus on the Positive
It's easy to start off a new system feeling excited and motivated. But you may discover that unexpected things come your way which can threaten to derail you.
That's okay. And it's not unusual, even for the pros like me!
Don't be so quick to judge. Sometimes something that looks “bad” can actually be a good thing or at least provide you with valuable information to help you make positive changes.
Focus on what parts of your routine are working effectively and keep those - they might provide clues on how to do other things better.
Don't give up when things don't turn out how you expected. Instead, take an open and honest look at what isn't going right and then keep making minor changes until you find a system that does work for you.
Don't try to be perfect, just take small steps towards creating a better life for yourself. You'll be surprised at how quickly small positive steps create big changes.
6. Map out Your Time
You know how you think you have no time to ever accomplish anything and that somehow must mean you're not spending enough time with your kids (or your work) which somehow means you're a terrible parent/employee?
Turns out, that's probably not true, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t greatly benefit from taking a closer look at how you're really spending your time.
Track your time in 30 minute intervals. Do this for 2 weeks to help you take an honest look at where your time goes.
Use this to see that you are spending time with your family and then see where you might be able to make some tweaks to create more time.
Stop choosing to feel like you're inadequate in everything you do. It's not true and it's an emotion that doesn't do you, your family or anyone else any favors.
Small changes lead to huge differences in your life. Keep taking one small step at a time!
7. Keep It Simple!
The more complicated a routine or system is, the easier it can break down and the harder it is to maintain.
People feel often overwhelmed having to make too many choices especially before 8 am, so don't provide more than 1-3 options when it's time to make a big decision – like what to eat at breakfast or what to wear to school.
Keep items closest to where you need them so they're easy to find, grab and return.
Trust your gut.
Your first intuition about something is usually the right answer. Try to get out of the habit of second-guessing yourself. You might even find your confidence begin to rise!
9. Look for the Helpers
No one can do everything all on their own. It's impossible and often life gets much harder when we believe we're completely on our own, especially if you're feeling isolated due to the pandemic.
We all benefit from helping one another out and behaving like a community rather than a single unit.
Ask others to help you.
Get your kids to contribute.
Outsource anything you can.
Hiring professionals to do anything you can't do or won't do. But also remember that your time is valuable, if you can hire someone to do it better for less money and time, do it!
Take it One Step at a Time
Getting and staying organized during the school year doesn't have to be hard. Yes, things will happen that no one was counting on (like this pandemic), but with an effective system put in place, it makes dealing with the chaos much easier without everyone or everything else, falling apart.
Taking it one moment, one day at a time and keep choosing to make self-love-based decisions rather than fear-based decisions and it will all come into place for you.
Like what you've read? Keep coming back to read my latest blog or hire me to help you get and stay organized.