As a busy mom, I sometimes feel overwhelmed about my ability to get all the things (or really anything) done. Organizing a family schedule is a full time job, isn’t it? Is there ever enough time? Then there’s the times when you forget something important. Or you think you scheduled something for one time, but actually scheduled it for another time. Or didn’t schedule it at all. Whoops!
Organizing our family schedule can feel like a full time job. So to help myself feel a little bit more organized, I’ve implemented three tools to organize our family schedule, appointments and meals.
Trying to coordinate all the schedules can be so intimidating! I know I have felt that way on many days with one child in school, another in activities, and appointments coming up. It takes a bit of prep work, but getting a system in place that works for you and your family is totally worth it.
Today I’m sharing what three tools have worked for my family over the past three years. What works for one family might not for another, but I’m sharing our system and the “why” behind organizing our family schedule in hopes that you’ll be inspired, too.
Organizing with a Paper Planner
The first thing I do is write everything down in a planner. I’ve tried different scheduling apps and paper planners and have found that completely unplugging from my phone and focusing on the planner by itself helps me TONS. At first, it seemed a bit backwards to me because I am a sucker for all the latest apps and technology. But trust me on this one. Sometimes you just can’t beat old fashioned.
I use the Happy Planner for organizing our family schedule. The layout works perfectly for me. I also love that you can easily take our or add pages. You can find this planner at Michaels, JoAnn, Amazon or buy it directly from the Happy Planner online. I picked mine up at Michaels and used a coupon to maximize savings.
Using the Happy Planner
Once a month, I sit down in my mini office with my planner and schedule out everything coming up for the next two months. School calendar dates. Kids activities. Social and church events. I review what I’ve already added and update with whatever is necessary.
The one exception to this is when I’m scheduling summer activities. This happens crazy early in the year (think: February). Not by my own choosing, but because everything fills up if you wait one hot second past the end of January. So, as I’m signing up for swim lessons, sports, and camps I go ahead and pop them in the calendar then.
Once a week, I review the week and discuss the upcoming week with my husband:
- I will let him know if I need him to be home early.
- I ask him if he has any work events.
- We talk about any joint social commitments, school events, or other dates that he should be aware of.
This works pretty well for both of us and helps eliminate some overwhelm in constantly reviewing the schedule. Now, I know that I’ll block some time each Sunday to get our family planner organized.
On the Go Family Scheduling
I don’t bring my Happy Planner everywhere. What I bring instead is a small notebook. If something comes up that needs to go into the planner, I jot it down in my notebook. Then I transfer it to the planner. After it’s transferred, I cross it out in my notebook so I know where I left off.
The type of notebook you use doesn’t really matter. Just pick one that will fit nicely into your purse or backpack. I use a rope sling backpack from Kavu and I really love it. It works well for keeping a few kids supplies (diaper, wipes and small snacks) as well as my wallet, keys, and journal.
Scheduling Family Meals
Making a family meal plan helps me to feel more in control of my week. And if one thing is important to me, it’s that we sit down together at dinner time. I love that time each evening to connect with my kids and hear about their day.
The meal plan isn’t always executed exactly, but just having a plan goes a long way towards making family meals happen.
This year, I’m using a weekly meal planning pad with a tear off grocery list. I found mine in store at Barnes and Nobel, but here is a link to a similar meal planning pad.
It lets you schedule out meals on the same page you write your grocery list. As a bonus, it has a magnet so you can put it on your fridge.
You can also plan ahead to future weeks if you’re an overachiever like that. Just tear off the current week when it’s over, and you’re ready to go.
Our meal planning process is super boring. I don’t change up our recipes a ton. I have a master list of about a dozen tried and true recipes that we circle through time and time again. I also keep a list of recipes to try, and only try those on a day where I’m feeling ambitious and have help with my kiddos. Generally, that happens once a month on a weekend.
To really simplify meals, I assign each day of the week to a food genre. For example, Mondays my kids choose dinner. Tuesdays are for Mexican. Wednesdays are for soup and salad. Thursday we do Italian. Fridays we eat leftovers. Weekends I either have a specific plan (date night of special recipe). Otherwise, the crock pot or pressure cooker is my go to.
Since we stick to three or four genres of food, I’m able to shop ahead easier. We tend to use the same ingredients over and over (just in different variations). If you like to shop the sales, this is a helpful way to make that easier to execute.
Now back to you. Tell me your biggest struggles with keeping your family organized in the comments. Then, head on over to this free printable goals tracker and download one for yourself!
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