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Juggling Schedules for the Whole Family

family schedulesTracking and organizing your time is hard enough. And when you have to coordinate with your partner’s and kids’ schedules, things can get hectic. I’ll probably sound cliché if I say that organization is the key to this juggling act between work and family, but it’s true. Time really is like money: You can’t control your time if you don’t know where it goes.

Scheduling Tools

Your smartphone and laptop really can be your best friends when it comes to wrangling multiple schedules. A host of calendar apps can help everyone keep track of one another’s schedule, which helps in planning. You can also track your schedule more exactly when your calendar is available at the tap of a finger. These types of productivity tools really help you visualize where your time is being spent and may give you some ideas for how you can use your time more efficiently.

Tips for Keeping a Sane Schedule

There’s no wrong or right way to work out a schedule. As long as it works, stick with it. But what’s “working” and what actually constitutes a healthy lifestyle can often be two different things. Too little free time can introduce problems for an overscheduled family.

For instance, juggling schedules often leads to coddling children — which is a bad parenting strategy — in the little time you have with them. Stacking your child’s schedule with too many activities can also lead to burn-out, which is the opposite of what you want for a well-balanced lifestyle.

Questioning Your Schedule

Periodically, it’s healthy to take stock of your life and decide if your current lifestyle is really as happy and healthy as it should be. I’m not saying you need a mid-life crisis. I’m just suggesting that reprioritizing the activities that fill up our schedules can allow things to re-settle into a more comfortable rhythm. Ask yourself some of these questions about the items currently on your calendar:

  • What things in my schedule are fixed — work, school, sleep — and which can I adjust if I choose?
  • Could I combine some of my tasks to eliminate some of the travel time?
  • Are all of my activities really necessary? Could I remove or replace them with others that use less time, but achieve the same purpose?
  • Am I overloading my kids with activities? Have I asked them which groups, sports and activities they might drop if they could?
  • Does the family’s schedule revolve around one person’s activities? Is it fair? Can it be changed?

You can probably answer some of these questions better if you have some data in front of you. Try tracking your time (and have each family member do the same) down to the minute for a week or so to give you some perspective on how your family’s schedule works.

How are you managing your time? Do you have any productivity tools you’d recommend?

image by The Container Store

Related posts:

Are Your Kids Too Busy?
How to Get Your Children Into a Good Sleep Pattern
How to Properly Balance Family and College Life

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