The days have begun getting ever so shorter, and maybe just maybe you are catching a break from the sweltering heat. The neighborhood kids scoot down the sidewalk each day with their lunch pails and backpacks, and autumn is just around the corner.
For many people out there, the end of summer means the beginning of Life Insanity.
What do I mean by that?
Well, I don’t know about your calendar, but mine is getting slam packed full with events, activities, meetings and more. My day is filled with lesson plans and homework assignments, meetings and work.
So how in the world do I keep my sanity this time of year?
I can’t make it any less busy, but I am going to share a few of my tricks for helping it go just a tad more smoothly.
1. Keep Your Activities Organized
Whether you have a calendar on your phone, a planner on your desk or a white board on the wall, find a system that helps you keep track of the where and when.
One of the things that I have found that works for me is a combination of bullet journaling and a central calendar. My central calendar is simply a printed two page calendar that hangs on the freezer in the kitchen. I write all of my events and blog deadlines on that calendar. I write kids’ work schedules and homeschool events, special events and things going on in the community. I found these great pens that come in a gazillion colors, and I write each person’s activities in a different color for quick reference. Yeah, I’m a little partial to shades of green.
My bullet journal is a portable calendar, planner and notepad that I have to keep track of everything that I have made and adapted to my needs. It is a simple hard bound notebook and I create a calendar each month. One side keeps track of my blog deadlines and editorial calendar. The other side keeps track of my “real life” activities.
I don’t color code my bullet journal, because frankly I’m not carrying all those pens with me everywhere. In between the months I leave several pages for notes at meetings, thoughts and other things. In the back of the journal I have a page where I can jot down blog or vlog ideas. This is a system that works for me. If you would like to see my bullet journal in more detail, I have a vlog that I did a while back about it. You can see that here.
The point is, have a way that you and your family can keep track of everything that is going on. There are even apps that you can download and then share a mutual calendar that syncs with the rest of your family’s e-calendars. Find what works for you!
2. Delegate Chores
My kids have had chores since the day they were born. Okay, just kidding on that part – but honestly, it started when they were toddlers. We picked up the toys together and sang the Barney clean-up song. As they got older it was weekly total room cleaning. When they were about ages 8-13, they each had their own laundry basket and assigned laundry day. Yep, the eight year old was doing his own laundry! Now I did the bedding and such, but they were in charge of washing their own clothes. I also had a weekly chore chart. Every weekend there was a chore day. I have three kids, so I divided the chores into three groups. Kid #1 scrubbed the tub and toilet. Kid #2 cleaned the sink, counter and mirrors. Kid #3 vacuumed the living room and cleaned the windows on the doors. These three categories rotated so they took turns with who had which chore week to week. Depending on their ages, I would still have to go behind and “touch up” things here and there, but it still taught responsibility and I didn’t have to do *everything.* The older they got, the better they were at their chores and the less I needed to check up on them.
Don’t try to do everything yourself. Even if it is only you and your spouse, the two of you can split the work and make things go much smoother and take less time.
3. Have a Menu Plan
This is something that I have done for years. Each payday I sit down and make a list of all the meals I’m going to make in the next couple weeks, in no particular order. I’ll do my grocery shopping based upon that list, so I know that I have everything in the house and won’t need to run back to the store every other day. Here’s what I do with this menu: Monday night I’ll look at the menu list and decide what is for supper the next day. I’ll double check the pantry and make sure I have everything, then I’ll go to the freezer and pull out what I need to thaw for the next day’s meal. The next day, I already know that I have everything and the meat is already thawed and I’ve already decided what to cook so there’s no 4pm panic attacks. Make dinner, clean up and repeat.
Oh, and remember that delegating chores thing? Teach your kids to cook!
As they get older, that is something they’ll be able to do for themselves and the rest of the family too.
4. Use Your Crockpot!
I cannot begin to tell you what a time saver a crock pot (slow cooker) is! They are worth their weight in gold! I love my crockpots…yes, plural. They are all different sizes – but yeah – I have five of them. Crockpot recipes usually take very little prep in the morning or middle of the day, and dinner is doing its thing in the crockpot while you are helping with the homework, running errands or busy at work. Then dinner time comes around and you will have little to do, if anything before serving a healthy, home-cooked meal for your family. I have a number of crockpot recipes here on my website for you to try.
5. Take Some Time to Breathe
No matter what is going on in life, find a way to take some time for you. Whether it is a book club or painting class, find a way for you to enjoy some you time and feed your passions.
Don’t want to go out? Have a “pamper me” night at home! Give yourself a facial, have a glass of wine and rent that movie you’ve been dying to see and enjoy yourself after you put the kids to bed.
Everyone needs time to charge their batteries, no matter how much of a Superwoman they are. Put it on your calendar and make it happen!
What are your ways of keeping your sanity when summer ends? Share in the comments below!
Compensation for this post was provided by Operation In Touch via MSB New Media. Operation In Touch offers special savings, coupons, recipes, beauty tips, and editorial content tailored to the lives of active military families. To find out more, check out their website or find them on Facebook and Pinterest. All opinions expressed are my own.