Back to School Chaos ~ Time Management for the
Written by Guest MyMommyBiz
Author Tracy Lyn Moland
While many parents are relieved
that their children are back in school, balancing a family's varying schedules
can be near impossible. Soccer, hockey, dance, skating, Brownies, Scouts,
skiing, swimming, school activities, homework, not to mention play and
sleep time, fill our children's lives. Now add in the parental activities,
including work, fitness, volunteering, and home maintenance - and well,
24-hours just doesn't seem to be enough.
Author and professional speaker,
Tracy Lyn Moland, who teaches time management programs to a number of
adults is now suggesting we look at time management from a family perspective
rather than an individual perspective. "I believe we need to shift
our perspective and look at time from a different angle." suggests
Moland, "Most people I know spend most of their time complaining
about all the time they don't have. I believe we need to be grateful for
the time we do have. People across Canada have been re-evaluating their
priorities in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks and effective
use of time is very important. Spending quality family time together is
one of these priorities and when a family is running around from activity
to activity, it is hard to find."
Moland provides a list of strategies
that a family can follow when learning to gain control of their time:
1. Hold a Family Meeting
- First parents need to objectively
determine some initial priorities for their family. These need to be
based upon last years schedule, the individual family member's personalities,
finances, current commitments and the comfort level of the family. Some
questions that will guide this process are: Do they want to focus on
activities or academics based upon last years performances? Will the
demands of school or work change? Do they want to fill time with activities
or a balance of activities and free time? Do different family members
have different needs? Is everyone enjoying their schedules? Is there
time for friends, for family, for quiet time, for reading, or for playing?
- Hold the meeting and give
everyone a chance to choose one or two priorities for the session or
year. If one member is having trouble narrowing their list down, have
them put them in order of importance. Make sure everyone shares their
list and explains why they put it in that order.
2. Create a Family Calendar
- Get a large calendar and
input everyone's current schedules for the upcoming month into it.
- Add or remove commitments
based upon everyone's priorities determined in the family meeting.
- Make sure this calendar
includes school hours and activities, work schedules, activity schedules,
religious events, family time, mealtime, homework time, sleep time and
most importantly NON-scheduled time.
- Take into account hidden
time- travel time, preparation/clean up time, waiting time, etc.
- Determine where conflicts
lie - and as a family see if you can figure out solutions. Maybe one
child can suggest a friend they could car pool with, maybe another can
walk to their activity, or maybe one can bring their homework along
and do it while their sibling is in a lesson.
- Depending on the comfort
level of the family - activities may need to be removed or postponed.
Some families thrive on being busy while others need to have a more
- Make sure that everyone
is in agreement or can live with the schedule.
- Try it for one month and
then have another meeting and evaluate the schedule. Make sure it works
for everyone and make necessary changes.
Once the priorities and scheduling
are done, there are few things that families need to do to make sure that
they can handle their schedules and not waste their precious time.
- ESTABLISH ROUTINES - If
everyone follows a routine that works, life will run much smoother.
Some areas where routines are a must are: before and after school, homework
time, chores and meals.
- ELIMINATE CLUTTER - Looking
for things wastes a lot of time. Have set places for the things you
use daily - keys, school items, library books, bags, purses, lunch kits,
- DEAL WITH PAPER IMMEDIATELY
- Read and recycle mail right at the mailbox, write all pertinent information
off school papers, newsletters, mail, flyers, etc on your family calendar
and recycle them.
- AVOID PERFECTIONSISM - Aim
for completion and excellence. A little dust or a wrinkle won't hurt.
- LIMIT DETAILS - We have
so many choices available to us in life. Limit the decisions you offer
your family. Ask questions like "Would you prefer a peanut butter
or ham sandwich?" rather than "What do you want for lunch?"
- TIME WASTERS - Limit the
amount of time family members do the following: watch TV, play video
games, surf the Internet, or talk on the phone - unless you are a teenage
Moland, again emphasizes, a
shift in perspective. "When we have children in school, we can't
help but be busy. But being busy with things that are important to us
is very different than being overwhelmed by disarray. If we take the time
as a family to determine our priorities and work together to eliminate
time wasters, we will be in control of our time!"
Lyn Moland loves to talk so she found a way to get people to pay her to
do just that! Her company, The Gift of Time, offers a variety of inspirational
and practical sessions on finding a balance in life. Tracy also talks
on paper with her first book, Mom-Management,
Managing Mom Before Everybody Else, coming out in the next few months.
for more info!