Summer is a time of year when most families have fewer commitments and fewer reasons to pay close attention to the clock; however, September with its schedules, activities, appointments, and to dos, is here. Time management is about making the most of your hectic schedules and making sure that everything that needs doing is getting done. This is a particularly handy concept for young people who are moving into high school and college, especially for those who will be leaving the nest and learning to live on their own. It is all about balance. The goal is to learn to balance all of the areas that are vital to your life to that of your family such as exercise, organization, work, meals, personal-enrichment, and rest.
My family will be especially tested in all of these areas as we enter the fall soccer season. All three of my children will be playing soccer. One at a home field on Saturday and two on travel teams on Sunday. Plus, my elder daughter will be starting to play for her school’s soccer team. This means soccer every single day of the week for my family. It will be especially important that I plan ahead so that I can balance all of the activities happening around us and still have time to work, manage the home, and eat well.
Me and my son, Clark, getting ready for a soccer game.
- Set goals. Know what you want to achieve and make it your priority. This can be anything, whether you want to achieve the goal in a day, a week, a month, or a year. Making goals can make it easier for you to look straight ahead. Juggling your time and activities can be very stressful and often result in not achieving your goals. If you have more than one goal, then it is a good idea to divide them into manageable pieces. Create an action plan to guide and motivate you. Members to ListPlanIt can create & manage their Weekly Goals and Monthly Goals at home or anywhere.
- Prioritize. Once you have determined your goals, it is important to prioritize the steps required to achieving the goals. This will help you determine what particular task needs to be accomplished first and what tasks can be set aside in the mean time. To achieve your priorities more efficiently, try to mark deadlines in your calendar.
- Develop a system. Whether you choose a tool to help you stay on task (e.g. a calendar, a list, an app, etc.) or create a routine that your family can rely on, it is important to maintain it. Nothing is foolproof. Accidental lapses happen. However, find a system that works for your family and stick with it. Don’t be afraid to ask around to friends or searching the internet for inspiration.
- Think ahead. While it is important to live in the moment, busy families must get in the habit of thinking ahead at all times. Consider dinner at breakfast. Think about after school activities before the kids go to school. Plan for tomorrow’s hectic schedule in the carpool lane today. And whenever possible. . .
- Write it down. The biggest key I can give someone is to record your thoughts and ideas. I come up with some of my best plans when I am doing other things. I try to keep my smartphone handy so that I can jot a note or add to my lists or set a reminder the moment I think of it. I try hard not to rely on my memory because it is often unreliable.
- Make use of extra time. For example, instead of doing nothing as I wait at my daughter’s soccer practice, I work on my bi-weekly menu plan or reconcile my checking account to my budget or plan my son’s upcoming birthday. Make it a habit to bring along a notebook or your smartphone whenever you leave the house. Spare time may seem like a luxury, but it is amazing how much can be accomplished in 10 minutes here and 5 minutes there.
What are your strategies for managing your busy family?
Members to ListPlanIt.com will find everything they need to set goals in Personal Interests and plan schedules and to dos in Time Management. Not yet a member? Get started today with a FREE 30-day trial here.