As your family life evolves, you need new systems to sustain it. We have felt this, especially as our children have gotten older, and have more responsibilities, hobbies, and interests. It is a big chore coordinating the lives of six individuals, which is why planning ahead and rooting out any conflicting pieces is vital for success!
There are two times a year that Justin and I hunker down and plan. The first is at the beginning of January, where we map out events, appointments, trips, birthdays, extracurricular activities, holidays, work conferences, etc. for the entire year. The second is right before school starts, where we take a magnified look at what our day-to-day schedules are gonna look like. We’ve learned that when we prioritize what matters most, everything else seems to fall into place.
We blocked out time for homework, music practice, and family dinner each day during the week, and then added specific weekly activities. For example, on Mondays we do Family Home Evening, where we focus solely on spending time together and reconnecting. On Saturdays for this upcoming year, we’ve chosen to start the day with family chore time, the distribution of allowance, and follow with an active activity altogether (hiking, biking, kayaking, etc.)
Getting everything on a calendar and out of your brain allows each member of the family to get a grip on the schedule. And in a family where there is a lot of anxiety present, this has significantly reduced the uncertainty of “what to expect.”
We’ve landed on a three-part system this year–which may sound intense, but it’s actually simplified things a lot.
Justin and I have a shared calendar, so we can coordinate. When we settled on our daily time blocks, we set them as recurring, and color-coded each individual family members’ individual activities.
Family Planner (weekly)
Each Sunday, we will spend 15-20 minutes reviewing the upcoming week, and transferring it onto our weekly planner, so we have a hard copy to work with/make changes as needed. For years I’ve been using @golden.coil planners, and swear by them! I don’t have a current code, but I promise you they are worth the investment. If you are like me and love a good highlighter for sub-categorizing, these pastel highlighter pens are my favorite.
Work Planner (monthly)
My friend Julie stressed to me the importance of having separate work and personal planners. I’ve always combined them and had a weekly planner with everything crammed on there. Now that I’ll have a more broad glance of my tasks, events, deadlines, etc. my brain feels so much clearer, and I’m able to better manage my workload. I found this awesome monthly planner on Amazon that I’m using for this upcoming school year. I’m also using these colorful sticky notes (that fit perfectly!) for additional notes that come up.
Here’s to putting in the work ahead of time, to create a smoother approach to the beautiful chaos of life.