My best tips for an organized, efficient routine.
School is back in session, and with school-aged children comes a lot of commotion, whether it be extracurricular activities, homework, multiple drop-offs and pick-ups, or last-minute craft store runs for that project due tomorrow (if you know, you know).
I wouldn’t be entirely truthful if I said school days don’t come with some chaos mixed in, but in our home, we try our best to subdue the stress and be as efficient (and self-sufficient) as possible. These are my four guideposts when it comes to running a smooth operation.
This is probably the single most important thing to do to prevent a crazy morning. Prep work may not sound fun–but let it be appealing because the reward of it makes a world of difference.
For example, I have three different school lunches to pack every day. I would love for my kids to all like the same fruits and vegetables, but let’s be real, they just don’t. On Sunday, I wash and cut up all the fruit and veggies, and make sure I have everything else stocked for the week. We also set out the kids’ backpacks on school nights, so in the morning all we need to do is throw in the lunch boxes before we head out the door.
Whether it’s a task that takes 30 minutes or one that takes 30 seconds, these collectively add up–from the perspectives of both time and mental load. Make a list of any tasks that can be done ahead of time.
Little kids love responsibility, and you’ll feel the sweet relief when they can do certain things independently! Depending on their age, you can provide some oversight, but let them pick out their breakfast, get dressed, brush their teeth, and put on their shoes.
When the kids come home from school, they’re responsible for taking papers out of their backpacks, hanging up important notes on the fridge, and taking their gym clothes to the laundry.
In the moment, it’s easy to think, “It’s quicker if I just do it,” but tap into your patient side, and it’ll be a win-win for both you and the kids.
One of the most alleviating decisions I’ve made when it comes to operating a smooth household is hiring a housekeeper to come twice a week to help with laundry and cleaning. I don’t let laundry pile up; getting everyone dressed goes smoother when no one is frantically looking for their blue shirt.
I’m a big believer in outsourcing. For me, I’d rather spend that time with my family. Search in your location for services that might make your life easier.
If you have the advantage of choosing where you live and/or work, position yourself close to your school. In my book, Mom’s a Lawyer: How to Start a Firm and Take Control of Your Life, I talk about the importance of selecting an office location that works with your personal and family life. Similarly, living close to school can make or break your morning and afternoon routines. In our previous home, we had a 40-minute commute to school, and mornings and afternoons were a drag. When we finally moved into our dream home, which is two minutes from the kids’ school, our lives changed. My husband and I wake up first to drink our coffee in peace and take turns exercising. This leaves us a comfortable hour between waking the kids up and heading to school. In the afternoons, I can easily swing by the house after pick-up, while we plan out activities and playdates. Proximity between home and school–whenever possible–is an important consideration. Luckily, as an entrepreneur, you can also factor in proximity to your office.
While nothing with kids is ever truly chaos-free, control what you can. Helping you master life each day is a big part of my coaching philosophy, so if I can work with you to make this happen, reach out.