Every parent knows that having kids is like having a round-the-clock, full-time job. Of course, most parents also have to engage in actual full-time work to support the financial needs of the household, and it can be difficult to balance the two endeavors. And considering that you’re going from morning until night, attending to your myriad responsibilities, it’s no wonder that you’re running on fumes by the end of the day.
Luckily, there are ways to consolidate, minimize, and organize your schedule so that you can better manage your duties and possibly even have a little time left over for yourself. Here are just a few tips and tricks to help you out.
- Get organized. This is 100% essential to managing a crazy family schedule. Without an organized list outlining who is doing what so that you can work out the logistics, you’ll soon find yourself sinking in quicksand. Plus, a detailed schedule will help you to ensure that no overlaps accidentally occur. You might think you can remember everything, but do you really want to risk forgetting an important appointment or a random change in plans because you failed to account for limitations that all of us suffer from?
- Pare it down. You might not think you can cut even one thing out of your schedule, but you’ll be surprised what you can find to say no to. Once you’ve got a comprehensive listing of everyone’s activities, you’ll see just how bloated your schedule has become. So find ways to prioritize, and you can easily pare down your to-do list for ease of management.
- Create a rulebook. When it comes to daily activities, you may need to put restrictions on children. Since work and school are fixed commitments, the only time you really have control over is before and after. So when it comes to extras, think about creating restrictions that will ensure an easier schedule for all. For example, set a bedtime. If kids aren’t getting homework done or they’re staying up late, it’s time to cut some activities. You can set restrictions on how many activities each kid can have, including days per week, hours per day, and so on. And you can mandate that certain undertakings (like music lessons) include practice time in that number.
- Double up. If you wait until the kids are finished with their after-school activities to do other things, you’re really not making the best use of your time. So while your children are at softball, ballet, or chess club, don’t wait in the wings. Run errands or take your daily jog while the kids are occupied so that you can knock something off your list with time to spare.
- Use modern tools. A paper calendar, a bulky address book, and the trusty glass whiteboards at your home and office may be your staples when it comes to managing your schedule, but thanks to mobile technology and a wide world of useful apps, you can take everything with you on the go in one small carrying case and make changes anytime and at any place (even when you’re driving if you use voice command programs like Siri). Smartphones and tablets make it easier than ever to stay on top of your hectic family schedule.