Q: “Denise, I am not sure what happened, but over the summer my schedule totally got away from me. From staying up late because the sun was still out, vacations, crazy homebuyers, and my kids being out of school, I haven’t done my Hour of Power in months let alone get my workouts in. I don’t think we have had a home cooked meal in weeks! I keep wanting to get back on track, but it is hard!”
A: I hear you! Especially when it is still nice outside, the instinct is to go out and enjoy every second we have. But now that the kids are back in school, this is a great opportunity to get your schedule re-energized. Here are three easy steps to start getting back on track:
- Morning schedule – this is usually easier to control than the afternoon/evening due to all the variables that tend to come up later in the day. So start by deciding what the morning schedule looks like for the family. What time does each person get up? Does each person make their own breakfast? Who feeds the dog? What time does each person leave? Are family members required to get other family members to school or the bus? Are you doing an Hour of Power in the morning? Start here and get everyone on the same page. This is also a great opportunity to delegate certain chores to the kids (such as feeding the dog) if they are old enough to take on some common family responsibilities.
- Calendar – One way to deal with the chaos is to get it on a calendar. Setting up a family Google or Outlook calendar that everyone can access gives everyone a picture of what to expect. From who is responsible for getting kids to their different activities, putting sports schedules up, putting your work schedule on, this keeps everyone on the same page – even the kids. If they aren’t sure if they are taking the bus home or if they are supposed to walk to tutoring, it is all there on the calendar which they can access from their smartphones or a school computer with a login.
- Planning Time – I suggest a once-a-week planning time that everyone participates in. Sunday evenings work great for this and it gets everyone refocused on the week ahead. Involve your spouse, your kids, and make sure you indicate the big events and what your priorities are. If you need to get your workout in Monday, Wednesday, and Friday before dinner, name it, claim it, and put it on the calendar! This keeps you accountable and makes you more likely to do it. The once-a-week planning also gives you an opportunity to raise your hand and ask for help. For example, if you know you have buyers coming in out of town for four days and you usually pick up the kids from soccer practice, this allows you to ask your spouse for help or even get the kids to ask another parent to bring them home.
Those are three very easy things to implement that can help steer your family back to a schedule for everyone. But don’t forget to add those fun things in too that help you savor our summer.