We all live crazy lives these days, with busy schedules and now that school is back in session, sometimes the things that matter most get put on a back burner. I know they have in our house, but all of that is in the past. I have come up with 5 simple strategies that help us keep our priorities in order and make sure the things that matter the most, happen every day!
In this third edition of the Back to School series, I am going to share with you my top 5 tips for keeping your family on the right track everyday! (Yes, even on school days!) These tips and tricks can be applied to any topic you want: staying organized with school events, eating better, fitting in time to get your hair cut, or just finding time to sit down for coffee with a friend. I am going to show you how to keep your health a priority on a day to day basis, and when I say health, I mean it all: sleep, stress, eating, exercise… it is all relative!
1) Plan ahead!
When I make time to plan ahead, our whole day runs so MUCH smoother. I like to sit down in the evening, after the kids have gone to sleep, and make a list of the things I need to get done the next day. From that list I prioritize: what must get done, what should get done, and what I’ll do if there is time (is there ever enough time?!) I compare my planner with my appointments in it, to my meal plan and go from there.
By planning ahead I know that I need to have the kids lunches packed, snacks in their back pack and what time I need to have dinner started, if they have activities that will affect meal time, etc. I also know if I am going to need to run to the grocery store or farmers market. Keeping this prioritized list keeps me on track and lowers my stress level for when I get busy. I don’t miss things or just throw together an unhealthy meal because I am overwhelmed and in a hurry. You’ve heard it before: “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail” It takes 5-10 minutes a night and saves SO much trouble.
2) Get everyone on board!
We have a “family command center”, its nothing fancy! I got a dry erase calendar at a garage sale for $1, a small curtain rod, some “S” hooks and a couple cute buckets. Everything we need to stay organized is in this space. I hang up the kid’s school calendar and lunch menu so we can meal plan together. (They are allowed to choose one meal per week to eat at school; otherwise they help me pack their lunch boxes in the morning! If they pack it they are much more likely to eat it!)
We have a meal planning binder with a list of the things we all like to eat and we go through it together every weekend, we also look at the schedule for the upcoming week so we are all on board there, too. When everyone is included in making decisions, less food goes to waste and we all know what we need to have so we’re not bombarded at the last minute.
3) Schedule everything!
I write everything in my planner, I mean everything! The gym’s studio schedule, birthdays, meals, what bills need to be paid, who I need to be in contact with, what I will blog about, when my husband has things planned, school events, date night, you get the idea… everything. I keep my planner on me at all times so I am never caught off-guard. This used to happen to me and trust me; you do not feel like you have it together when you forget about a meeting or appointment!
Lately, I have started scheduling everything in my Google Calendar. This allows me to have a daily routine, which is super important when you work from home! I have a knack for multitasking to the max, starting on 5 projects but not completing any of them, this leads to stress and aggravation knowing now I just have more to do tomorrow… I avoid this like the Plague!
With the calendar on my phone linked to my computer, I am able to set time blocks during the day for all of my tasks. Knowing I only have an hour and a half to write a blog post or 45 minutes to clean really keeps me focused and more productive. I will get a notification when I have something coming up which allows me to work on all my different projects everyday and still accomplish what I need to. I highly recommend setting up a digital calendar! (You can even link it to someone else’s Google account, if you need that so everyone can be on the same page at all times!)
4) Have a daily schedule
This is one thing that has saved me SO much time every single day. It is the simplest list you have ever seen, but by making each day only have a couple must-do’s it takes the pressure off and it seems much easier to keep up with my housework simultaneously with blogging, phone calls, appointments and coaching! (winning!)
You should change your schedule to whatever fits your daily routine, but mine goes as follows:
The schedule on the left is a general schedule and depending on the day there is also a trip to the gym, grocery store/farmers market, bill paying, etc. But this is what I generally go by in the evenings when I am planning for the next day.
The list on the right is my simple daily task schedule; I also have one for the kid’s chores. These schedules are in my planner but also posted in the command center. The idea being that anyone can see what the daily task is and do it, somehow this hasn’t happened, yet! 😉
5) Slow Down!
Even when life is crazy, if you just slow down everything gets a little easier. I love to journal, so in the morning before the kids are up, I like to write. Most of the time I start with what I am grateful for and then when my brain starts going 70 miles an hour, I just write it all down and get it out of my head. (If anyone read my journal, they would probably try to have me committed!)
When the kids get home from school, I give them an hour of undivided attention. This is something I didn’t do last year and I got very stressed between them getting home and dinner time… no fun! If I give them that time, the evening runs much smoother. We relax together, play outside and have a snack, then we do homework.
Sometimes they will help with dinner, or work on their chores while I do it alone, but no matter what, we all sit down together to have dinner. This is no phone calls, no email, no TV, no work or play, just our family sitting down and talking about our day. This is my favorite time of the day and I think the hubby and kids like it too, maybe just not as much as me. These 3 times during the day really help to keep us grounded and stress free (for the most part)
I hope these tips help you enjoy your days a little bit more! Check out the other posts in the B2S series here: #1 Getting Ready and #2 Safety Tips, also, follow the blog to get a notification when I post B2S #4 Meal Planning!
What are some ways you keep your stress level low during the day? Please comment below and share this with your friends and family, it might be just what they need today! AND, as a thank you for reading today, download your own Our Schedule Printable here!