There was that moment when I rushed out the door for the tenth time that day to run my kids to yet another practice and felt like I was just going to collapse. I was exhausted, I was overwhelmed, and I was so, so tired of running around. I vowed to myself at that moment that I would figure out how to organize my family’s schedule so that this craziness would stop. Maybe you’re in that spot too.
That spot where you spend more time being a chauffeur than anything else. Where you’re constantly rushing from one appointment to the next, one practice to the next, one volunteer/school event/recital/commitment to the next. It’s exhausting, isn’t it? Until you figure out how to organize your family’s schedule, you will never get past that point of being stuck and feeling out of control.
Let me show you how I did it so that maybe it will help you too.
Monthly, Weekly, Daily
The first thing I did after I got home from the running around on that day when I knew things had to change got out our monthly calendar. I jotted down everything that we had to do on the days we had to do it. That meant every doctor’s appointment, every check-up, every practice, every conference, every call, every day off from school…everything went on there. Needless to say, with four kids, there was a lot written on that calendar.
Next, I grabbed the weekly planning sheet from my Home Organization Binder and I wrote down everything for the upcoming week. I color coded the activities to coincide with who had to do what and made sure every commitment was written down. The key is to make sure that everything is there – from spinning class to soccer practice to the conference call with your child’s teacher because if it’s not on that calendar, it’s going to mean you’re frazzled at some point during the week.
From the weekly calendar, I then wrote out daily calendars that included the times for each thing. Being able to pull out my daily planner page each morning and see exactly when things were happening was huge. I made sure to add in drive time – this is huge!! – so that I had an accurate account of my time. Piano lessons may only be 45-minutes, but if it takes 30-minutes to get there and 30-minutes to get home, guess what? The 45-minute lesson just took up 2 hours of your day.
Don’t forget to put down your personal care time as well! I scheduled in my meditation, shower and breakfast time every day so that I knew I’d at least be doing that for myself!
Even just a minute to stop and THINK is worth 5 minutes…
What happened when I wrote everything down on the calendar was that we looked at it and realized we were doing too many things. With four kids doing three activities each, that was 12 practices, classes, etc. that they had to shuttle to every week. So, we set a limit. Now, each child can pick one activity. Not only was it good for them to evaluate what they really enjoy doing, but it cut down on the amount of running around I had to do and saved us money and time. Putting limits on activities is healthy and has made us all a lot happier.
Once I realized I couldn’t do it all myself (despite trying to!), I asked for help. My husband and I split the shuttling around and delegated what we could. Having those tough conversations about change and helping each other out is worth it. It’s been a huge relief to have an organized family schedule that doesn’t have the full responsibility of transportation and organization on me.
When you learn how to organize your family’s schedule, you free up time for yourself, as well as for your family to function as a whole. It’s the most important time you’ll spend.