I can’t believe we are already half way through GO Month! Time is flying by and it just so happens that Time is this week’s topic.
Time tends to be a difficult thing for people to organize because it’s not tangible. You can’t touch or weigh or move an hour. This is probably why so many busy moms (and dads) constantly feel like they are running in circles trying to keep their family schedules straight. The same can be said in the workplace, where it feels like there is always more work than hours in a day.
If it seems like you are always playing catch up, these 10 tips will get you back on track.
Helpful Tools – Post-Its, blank paper, colored pencils, and a weekly planner with appointment slots or a digital calendar system such as Google or Outlook.
1. Analyze – Analyze your goals for the family. Do you want to be able to have a family game night? Does one of the kids want to add another sport to their already packed schedule? What items are getting pushed aside? Think about an ideal week for your family and write it down.
2. List – On separate Post-Its, list all of the activities your family is involved in. From work, to school, to chores, to sports, even any upcoming birthday parties, write it ALL down. Don’t worry about when these activities occur, just be sure to each one gets put onto its own Post-It.
3. Categorize – On a piece of blank paper create columns with categories for each of the activities listed. The categories can include work, school, social, chores, family time – whatever categories work for your family. Take your activities post-its and place them each under the appropriate categories. You can color-code each of the categories as well. Ex: black = work, red = errands, blue = sports
4. Label – Label your categories into three types: Set Activities, Must-Do Activities, and Flexible Activities. Set Activities are the items that must be done and cannot be moved to a different time of day such as work or sports practice. Must-Do Activities are those things which must get done, but when is not as important. This includes things like errands and household chores. Flexible Activities are those fun to do things that are optional and may or may not make it onto the calendar.
5. Block – Now go to your chosen calendar system, and start blocking out the family’s set activities. Some items may overlap in the time slot, such as work and school. To help prevent confusion, put each family member’s name next to their corresponding activity.
6. Decide – In the remaining time slots, decide when your must-do activities can be done. Try to keep the must-dos in the same time slots each week. This will help the whole family stick to your new system.
7. Schedule – Once your Set and Must-Do activities have been added to the calendar, look for empty slots for scheduling family time and flexible activities. It is important to always have at least one night a week for family time. It can be game night or movie night, something that allows the whole family a chance to be together for some quality time.
8. Ask – This is a family calendar, so the whole family should be involved. Ask everyone their thoughts on the new schedule. Kids will be much more likely to participate when they had a hand in creating it. Be sure each family member’s needs are met.
9. Implement – For the first month, strictly follow your new system. This will get the family settled into the new routine. It also provides a chance to review the system to be sure it is working for everyone. Do not overbook during this first month. If there isn’t room on the calendar, it can’t be done.
10. Analyze… Again – At the end of the first month, have a family meeting to discuss the new schedule. This is the time to do any tweaking and get it just right. Even if the new time management system seems to be working, it should be revisited as the start and end of every school year. As the kids get older, their school and sports schedules may change and adjustments to the calendar will be needed.