Staying organized is essential when finding balance and fulfillment as a parent. I run into a lot of parents who are always late, forgetting things, and stressed constantly. And I get it! I definitely have my moments too! Taking a few steps to organize your life better will help you stress less and feel more confident as a parent. For some of us, organization comes easy, while others have to work hard on it. My husband is an excellent example of someone who has had to put in extra effort to focus on his organization and productivity. He has used some of these tips to help him and in doing so, has become more productive than ever.
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Here are my tips for staying organized…
Keep a calendar – Paper or virtual? I actually use both! I have tried several online calendars, and Google Calendar is the way to go in my opinion. I enter all our family appointments, after-school activities, meetings, events, etc. on my phone from wherever I am. I use a color-coding system to keep track of personal events, Girl Scout events, and the kid’s events. What I love most about Google calendar is that my husband can also see my schedule and vice versa. When I’m trying to make a plan, I am quickly able to see what he has going on without having to ask him (as long as he’s remembered to update the calendar).
Side note: My calendar never looks this empty but I didn’t want to share the details of my life with the world wide web 😉
I use a paper calendar for my businesses, and I love Happy Planner. They are cute, functional, and most importantly, affordable. I can list my annual and monthly goals, as well as my to-do list for each month. It has a page for the entire month as well as pages to list items by week. I keep track of my business tasks on the monthly pages, and each week I write out my day to day plan on what I need to accomplish. I also love that you can purchase additional inserts such as budget and fitness planners so you can design the planner that works best for you.
UPDATE: I’m trying the Bloom Planner for 2019. I like the layout and it has a few extras including space for a vision board and spaces to review your year.
Communicate – I feel our communication skills are suffering due to the increase in our chaotic activity filled schedules. We are busier than ever and have more to keep track of. Each week my husband and I make a point to sit down, look at our calendar, discuss what’s going on for the week and who needs help with what. We have always worked as a team when it comes to parenting, and he has always respected my need for time to work, and time for me, despite the fact that I don’t leave the house to go to a job. By setting aside time to plan for the week, we are able to use our time as productively as possible, prioritize our family, and make sure we are both able to accomplish our goals without feeling frustrated with each other (usually). We definitely still feel busy and overwhelmed from time to time, but it helps to know we’ve got each other’s backs!
Meal Plan – Meal planning takes the guesswork out of what you’re going to eat each day, and can cut down on your grocery bill significantly. To make things even simpler, we do theme days. For example; Taco Tuesdays, Friday is Pizza night, and Saturday is breakfast for dinner. My kids love theme nights and I love not having to think about what to make for dinner! Make sure you put about 30 minutes on your calendar each week to meal plan and create your grocery list. It will save you lots of time and frustration in the end.
Pick out your clothes for the week-Every Sunday I pull out my kid’s outfits and lay them out by day. This keeps them from rummaging through the drawers and continuously messing up the clothes, allows my husband to help get them dressed without screwing it up (ha!), and makes our morning routine run much smoother. If you work outside the home you can do the same with your clothes and get all your ironing done if needed.
Wake up an hour earlier – I know this is an unpopular one, but if you haven’t taken a few minutes to read my post on how this one change has changed my life, please read it here. I accomplish so much in the first hour of my day, and I feel like a million bucks! My husband wakes up even earlier than I do and gets an hour and a half of solid work in each day before the kids wake up. If you want to be more productive and intentional with your time, this is key to getting it done!