Thursday, January 6, 2011

40 5 Time Management Tips for Busy Families

For those of you, you have found me via Money Saving Mom, I say, "Hello and WELCOME!"  I am so excited to have you here!  Now please forgive me right off of the bat, I am going to repeat the post you came here from, for all of my other readers who may not have seen it just yet.

That's right!  I was lucky enough to have a guest post on the most incredible money saving website I have found yet.  Talk about a blushing and honored moment!

5 Time Management Tips for Busy Families:

1. Find a Great Planner

My daily planner is my lifeline. It goes with me everywhere I go.


Planners have been around forever, but they are really the most genius way to keep it all together. Every paper that comes home from school with a date on it, instantly gets written in the planner.  What’s for lunch on Wednesday? It’s in the planner. What should I blog about on Monday? Oh yes, also in the planner. What night is garbage night? Family night? It’s all written down in the planner, and color-coded by category {i.e. blog post, meal plan, school event, etc.} When the planner is not physically attached to me in some way, it’s sitting on our counter to be viewed by anyone in the family.

If budgets are tight, with a little creative thinking, a spiral notebook could be transformed for anyone looking to adopt this idea.  Or, you can check out this AWESOME post on Centsational Girl for a plethora of planner eye candy and options on all sorts of budgets!

2. Make Family Night a Priority

Family Night gets scheduled in each week at our house, just like an appointment.


Family comes first and with the hustle and bustle of all things entertainment, family functions, school activities and sporting events, important family bonding can quickly become obsolete. Making sure to pen it in each week and learning to say, “No” to other obligations that may come up on the same night, is extremely important to us spending quality time together on a weekly basis.

3. Solve the Schedule Equation

On top of tossing all of our important schedules and appointments into the planner, we quickly found that it was still easy for us to get lost in our nightly routine. A quick video game or blog post writeup could simply turn into hours of lost time.

Trying to juggle homework, making dinner, baths, one-on-one time, story time and blogging was definitely a lot to manage without any type of direction. I knew I had to figure it all out, in order to completely maximize our evenings together {not to mention our super speedy wake-up-and-get-on-the-bus mornings!}
Something I found incredibly easy to do, was to break out the day in half-hour increments and plan out a “typical” day in our life.


Just looking at all the times slots paired up with all the things that I was dreaming of accomplishing in any given day was great for ensuring we get time to do all the things that matter, from time with our little ones to personal time on our hobbies or interests. I popped my visual breakdown right on the side of the fridge, because it’s great to have a time management reference point if I ever feel like we are getting a little lost.

I was beyond surprised that when the day was broken out there was so much time in the day that I then instantly wondered how I had been wasting it away in the past! Of course not every day is laid out perfectly as there is such a thing called life, but having a plan for our days has definitely proven to keep our daily goals in check and ease in our time management prioritization.

4. Create a Meal Plan

A very obvious time saver for us is meal planning. We have a meal plan/shopping list that hangs inside our pantry door, ensuring that when something runs out, we can it right to the list. Using the coupons that we have clipped along with trying at least one new recipe each week, we plan out our weekly meals before we head off to the grocery store.


Only spending time shopping for what we need, saving some money not buying what we don’t need and then doing as much of the preparation ahead of time means all we need to do is peek at the planner each day and make whatever is on the list!

Want someone to plan your meals for you?  Want to be able to prepare all of your week's meals, in just one hour?  Check out this great blog, Make 5 Dinners in 1 Hour, which will set you on your way to do just that!

5. Set Up a Dump Zone

We use a memo station to stash kid’s papers that we get home throughout the week, along with all of our mail.



Each Sunday I take a quick 10-15 minutes and recycle or file all the papers in each slot. We also have a dump basket with the same philosophy.


Since piles can form so quickly, and as much as I believe in the “return things right where you found them” idea, it’s not always practical. Keeping one basket or bin dedicated to dumping our “stuff” each week, is easy to stash away when company comes, and is gone through at least once a week to return items to their home. This is also a great task for little ones looking for ways to become more helpful around the abode!


These are just some simple things that work for our clan.  I can't stress enough that every day doesn't run smoothly, and life always is happening!  But we keep learning day to day and adjust as necessary, which is really all you can do right?! 

Now it's your turn!  What are your time managing tips?  What little things do you do or systems do you have in place, to ensure your days run smoother and you have time to do the things you adore?


40 comments:

  1. Love your site!! Can you tell me what type of planner you use for your family?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I live and breath with my planner. I am old school and I still have to write everything down!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I feel like my time management lately has gone out the window and life has really been bogging me down. This was a perfect {and timely!} post to remind me to get my act together again.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  4. love this post! such great ideas - especially dividing up the day and the dump zone.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Brilliant post! I too use a day planner for everything!!! Can't stand using my smart phone for that, must write it all down and carry it with me! Thanks for the tip and link on meal planning, that's a weakness for me! Love your organization center ~ I have one from Ballard and I do the same thing each Sunday. We're on the same page! Cheers to sanity through time management!
    xo
    Kate

    ReplyDelete
  6. I NEED this memo board in my life!!! It's the perfect solution for my husband and I, who have the tendency to leave mail scattered everywhere...especially our huge kitchen island that becomes a holding place for everything.

    I ordered my Erin Condren planner last night and can't wait for it to come in. Thanks for the tips!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I found your site over the Christmas break and spent my quiet time reading through all your posts I love love your philosophy and I love your ideas we're expecting our first little one in March and I was wondering if you had any tips on organizing before baby anything that makes life easier?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great post. These are all things I plan to incorporate into the new year. The meal planning, Agenda and we especially need a 'dump' zone. Im tired of old mail either in the junk drawer, in the office or on the counter lol!

    ReplyDelete
  9. FAAAAAAABULOUS! I need to bookmark this for when I start having rugrats! =)

    ohmygosh and i'm in the process of organizing a "dump zone" for my sloppy self and even sloppier pilot husband. Right now its just a chic thrift store end table with some baskets but soon... soon it shall be glorious -- and yours is pretty baller If I do say so myself! Love it!

    xoXOxo
    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

    ReplyDelete
  10. Love that memo board!! Great tips as always...

    I was writing about organization on my blog today and linked up to you :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wonderful tips! Is that a Jo Totes bag I see ?
    I have the rose bag in Turquoise but have been eyeing the gray one.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love your blog! I too am crazy about being organized! Thanks for some great ideas I'm going to try out at my home!
    Jo-Anna
    http://aprettylifeinthesuburbs.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  13. The schedule of my day is nearly identical to yours.. meals, dinner, clean up, bedtimes. Crazy!

    ReplyDelete
  14. And I see you have the PB daily system I've been eyeing and a dump basket like I have. It's like you're my long lost twin. Now I have to get the daily system.. and its on sale. Score!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great tips!! I love that PB system. Can you please tell me where you got your white hand bag? I love it!
    Thank you!
    xo,
    Kelly

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love the meal planning. Its not only a time saver, but a MONEY saver as well! Thanks for the great post.

    ReplyDelete
  17. so you caught me - blog-jumped over from MSM.. guilty. ;) You have such cute ideas here. I also love being organized but I'm a little on the not-so-crafty side. Thanks for the inspiration and the know-how! (because knowing's 1/2 the battle!)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I also have to write everything down, I use a busy body book and it is my life saver! I've tried computers, shared calendars, outlook, Iphone and other smartphones only to come back to pen and paper. I too have been eyeing the PB daily system! For those of you that are interested Bed Bath and Beyond website has an almost identical system as PB for less than half the price!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great tips! You always share wonderful ideas.
    So...your purse? A must have for a moma to twins...share please?

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have a few pieces of that Pottery Barn system AND a few pieces of the almost identical Bed Bath and Beyond system. We mix / matched them to create our home organizing central. We took the hangers off the PB pieces and just screwed them into the wall and used the hanging system that the BBB system came with. Those changes made the pieces the exact same height so it all just flows together. The label holders on both collections are identical so it all just works so nicely! I bought the PB pieces when we first got married and had a little extra in the bank account. We needed more pieces to it, but now with a little one money is tighter so I found the BBB pieces and it's been the best of both worlds!

    ReplyDelete
  21. For those inquiring about the "Purse", it was actually my dream camera bag, and a generous Christmas gift from my fantastic mom. You can find out the details here: http://jototes.com/handbags/missy-gray

    For all of you out there with DSLR's, this is a great option. I user a smaller clutch for a purse which I can also tuck right inside, and tote both my camera and personal belongings in this great bag! Perfect for an organized photographer right?!

    xoxo,
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  22. I suck at time management. There, i said it. This year I'm working on focusing on one thing at a time.
    I used to use my Franklin Covey planner really well, and I need to get back to it more.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Great Ideas! Love the Dump Zone. We have a "Family Central" tote that sits on the counter. That's where all of our school stuff stays permission slips, lunch menu, notes from teachers, even homework tools. Makes life so much easier when it's all in one place!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Good post! I have a question.

    It seems like you use different colored pens with your planner to correspond to various areas (blog, school, etc.) How do you keep track of the pens? I can't even keep track of the pens I use on my desk! Let alone three pens and a planner that I shuttle everywhere.

    I wonder if there's a planner that has like a pencil pouch attached where you can store a variety of pens/highlighters for easier color coding...

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Melanie!

    I just keep them in our memo station in our kitchen where most of the planning happens. If I am going to be gone for a day or two, I band them together and pop them in my purse, however, I typically don't bring them with me, only use them at home.

    xoxo,
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jen
      I could not see your memo station in any of your kitchen posts. Is it still in kitchen or in any entry ways? I have 2 options for mine, either on the wall which is dining nook in the kitchen where we have a small computer table or in the small hallway from kitchen to formal dining. I am not clear on that so wondering where yours is exactly located.
      Thank you for your wonderful blog. I just cant get out of it. One blog leads to another and I am so hooked to it.

      Delete
  26. Great ideas you got there!thanks for the very helpful information..I really need a new approach on time management ...it very difficult to balance work and family ...my wife will love this post.ty

    ReplyDelete
  27. Family bonding is very important to keep the family tight and to keep the home stronger, although we do lack time in catching up with our kids and other half. And the best way to catch up is to have a concrete time management plan. At least make it a point to bond with the whole family on weekends. Do recreational activities with and yes, dinner every night with your family is a great way to know how they are doing.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I love the idea of having a dump zone! This was totally what I needed to help me continue my trek to total home organization ;) Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  29. love the tips :) any chance you could give a more detailed post on using your planner? i just got the same one but it has been awhile since i used one and i am now working not in school..just some tips on what goes in what doesnt how detailed and such :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Great idea @yourmorningglory! It's on my list of ideas!

    xoxo,
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  31. You're really so organized! that daily plan, OMG!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Jen
    I could not see your memo station in any of your kitchen posts. Is it still in kitchen or in any entry ways? I have 2 options for mine, either on the wall which is dining nook in the kitchen where we have a small computer table or in the small hallway from kitchen to formal dining. I am not clear on that so wondering where yours is exactly located.
    Thank you for your wonderful blog. I just cant get out of it. One blog leads to another and I am so hooked to it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello!

      It's right inside the door that we use when we come into the kitchen from the garage.

      xoxo!
      Jen

      Delete
  33. Hi Jen!
    WOW is all i can say. You are such an inspiration. I hope i can start being as organized as you and your family are. My main goal is to start a weekly schedule, on meals, activities, family time. Thanks to you, i feel that i can finally do it.

    onelove
    Esther

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi Jen,
    Using the spiral notebook as a planner is a very insightful idea and not just because it's budget friendly, but because you can also customize it to fit your needs! After reading this I quickly ran some google searches and came across some great ideas! I've been through so many planners and have never been satisfied and I can't wait to try this idea.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thanks, Jen. This is super helpful for me. I am a college student taking 18 credit hours, holding a full time job, a part time job, I'm the president of one organization and treasurer of two others. Staying on top of things is hard, and because of how little time I have for the day I have to plan out every meal and snack, chapter to review, and exercise to do down to the minute. Whew, hard work. And since I'm not organized, it gets ever harder. But your blog is super helpful!

    ReplyDelete
  36. What do people do with their planner when it is full? I create my own planner that has calendars and blank pages for writing down things I kneed to know. When the planner is full I rip out all the old calendars, but there is still lots of info on the pages that I need to keep. I now have 7 of these books clogging up my system and I refer to them from time to time. Does anyone else have this problem? Any solutions?

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thank you for all your ideas! I especially love your daily family routine. I love how planning the day out allows you to make time for the things that really matter!

    www.thereadingretreat.com

    ReplyDelete

IHeart you taking a moment to comment! Although I absolutely appreciate, consider and read each and every comment, I will remove any comment that I believe to be inappropriate, malicious or spam like. This blog is my happy place, let's keep the drama at bay!

Don't see your comment? All comments are moderated and may take a moment to appear.

Thanks again my lovely friends! XO!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...