It is time to stop all the fun and games of summer and begin getting back to organized days and routine. If you are anything like me, summer means you lose a bit of routine and feel a bit less productive – which can be good, but there is a time for everything as they say – and now we must think ahead and move forward.
As the school year begins, it is the perfect time to take a look at organizing our day with intention and purpose. The real key isn’t to hope to pull extra time out of nowhere, but to learn to use the time you do have more effectively. Being intentional with your time management can be the key to success and a life with less stress and anxiety.
Here are my tips to jumpstart you back into an organized day!
An Effective To-Do List
This is one of the most essential tools in time management. Find a system that works for you. I know many have so appreciated combining their to-do list in the Weekly Household Planner – especially the version that is all ready to use, with all the household tasks listed out. I love using my planner and adding other tasks that I need to accomplish in the line available for each day or in the notes section. I also at times up a sticky note attached to my planner for tasks that need to be completed. Adding tasks to the list the night before helps me organize my day and realize what needs to get done and what I might be able to put on another day. Some moms have printed the blank version and used that exclusively for “other tasks” – making it easy to write on and organize.
Prioritizing what you need to accomplish will help you to understand what is truly important to get done and what may be able to wait.
Next is to prioritize them. Be honest when you do this. Figure out what you need to get done and put those higher on the list than what you want to get done.
Use a Calendar
Keep track of important dates, birthdays, appointments and upcoming events. Our family uses the Apple iCal system to keep things in order and all 6 of our calendars easily synced. I love it! From myself to my husband who travels 3-4 days a week and a college age daughter – we all need to know what is going on. This has been the easiest system for us to use. Find a system that works for you and use it! I have also used Cozi previous to our Apple conversion, or you can grab a paper calendar as well. This Amy Knapp 2015 version is great because it is big and easy for little ones to see what is coming up and is 17 months, so starts with August 2014!
Keeping a visual calender at arm’s reach does wonders for making sure you are on track and is a central place for everyone to see what is going on as well.
Take some time to find an area in your home where you can keep your calendar and tasks items located. When things are in their place you won’t lose time looking for them. This also makes it easier to concentrate. Having a central location for spare paper, pens, envelopes, sticky notes and your task lists will help you be intentional with staying organized. Put stuff away when you are done it and file paperwork as soon as it is ready to be filed.
This may make you laugh, but you are working too – so just like you would have scheduled breaks at an “office” job, plan time in your day to have a couple 10-15 minute breaks. They are important for staying refreshed so scheduling them will make sure you take breaks as well as helping some other little ones in your home expect them each day – routine makes everything bit easier! Use a timer to remind yourself if you need to, but take some breaks throughout the day.
Be flexible, yet firm
It is great to have a plan and a routine that works for your family, but remember that each day brings it’s own set of issues and it’s not always possible to stick to a set routine. I admit, adjusting to curve balls in my day can be a bit overwhelming to me, and is something I have to work on. When something comes up that needs to get done or you need to give attention to, stop and determine if there is something that will need to be deleted from your day or rescheduled.
Time management can save you a lot of trouble and stress. Through planning and organization you can save time and get more done. It may have a small time investment to get started, but the benefits can be amazing, plus you will open time up for things that are FUN things to fit into your day!