School’s coming and you know what that means — soon you’ll be slipping into a relaxing routine with less stress, more time and less family conflict.
Not at all.
The secret is organization, and this blog article will help you on your way to making the fantasy a reality as you get ready for “Back to School.”
The Perfectly Organized School Day
First, let’s look at a perfect school day in a household that runs like a well-oiled machine. Then we’ll take a look at how organization made it happen.
In our fantasy family, the children get up without parental prompting as soon as their alarm clocks go off. Then they wash and put on the fresh clothes they set out the night before. The family has breakfast together. Then everyone grabs a lunch bag and goes off to school or work.
As each person returns, they put their school bags, briefcase, groceries, etc, each in its designated spot.
The family members all have free time, but there are certain things they always do out of habit.
Every day, at the same time, the family starts preparing dinner. They eat together; then they prepare lunches, set out the breakfast dishes and clean up.
Another thing they do at the same time each day is homework. There is a dedicated place for this activity that is free from noise, clutter and other distractions.
Finally, at the appointed hour, each person sets out clothes for the next morning and goes to bed.
What’s the Secret?
There are four principles to creating a relaxed household like this. Let’s take a look at each principle and see how our fantasy family is applying it.
1. Have a Place for Everything You Own
This family has place for everyone’s belongings. In this way, they save mental energy by not having to decide “where should I put this?” every day. They save time by not having to look for things. And, best of all, they save frustration because only rarely does anyone have to scream “Mom! Where’s my ____???” in the morning when everyone is rushed.
Pro tip: have a “landing pad” — a place to put things when you come home. Having a designated place to put briefcases, backpacks, mail, etc., allows you to stay organized even if you’ve just come home tired or hurried.
2. Have a Place for Everything You Do
While many families improvise daily when it comes to homework or meals, this family has a specific place for these tasks. By eating together at the dinner table (instead of in bedrooms or in front of televisions), they save time because they don’t have to pick up crumbs and dirty dishes all around the house. They also get to interact with each other.
A designated place for homework is convenient and sends a strong message that homework (and work in general) is an important and worthy activity. The parents also have an easy way to check that their kids are doing the homework and to help them if needed.
3. Automate Routine Tasks by Creating Habits
This family knows that every day they will have to eat, sleep and take care of homework. Instead of having to decide every day when and where and how they’re going to do these things, they have established routines that have become ingrained habits. There is no daily negotiation of “Can I just finish this show/game/text conversation before I do my homework?” Arguing, procrastinating and negotiating waste energy. This family just goes into autopilot mode and gets their stuff done out of habit.
4. Make Your Environment Support You
Since the kids have a distraction-free place for homework, they are able to concentrate and get the work done quicker and better. Mornings are less of a rush because clothes are set out already, waiting to be put on.
Another way this family made its environment supportive was to buy a few gadgets to solve problems. Getting the kids out of bed had been a struggle, so the parents spurged on an alarm clock with wheels for their daughter. When it’s time to wake up, the clock makes noise and rolls around the room. By the time the daughter catches it, she’s awake. The son tends to sleep through alarms, so his alarm clock has a pad that goes under his bed and physically vibrates him when it’s time to get up.
The family has certain lights on timers. As bedtime approaches, these lamps start turning themselves off as a gentle reminder that the time to rest is approaching.
In short, this family has set up their home to make it easy to maintain good habits.
Easier Said Than Done?
Organization is often thought of as something that is done once and completed, but it’s actually a process. It’s an ongoing way of living. No one is perfectly organized, so you don’t need to make perfection your goal. Just take a few hints, make some plans, and implement things a little at a time.
By being organized and following these four principles, you can raise your efficiency and relaxation while cutting back on conflicts and stress.