It’s September. My favorite season is about to arrive – Fall. I love the warm colors the leaves become, the smell of the crisp air, putting on a sweater and going for a walk to kick up the leaves that have fallen to the ground and curling up infront of a fire. It’s also back to school time. I’m a real geek here. I still get excited by all the back to school supplies in the stores these days. To me, September and back to school is more of a chance at a new start than the New Year is. Speaking of which. How are those New Year’s Resolutions coming along, hmm? Was better health a resolution focus?
How do you make your health a priority while managing a busy work and school schedule with all those extracurricular activities? Organization. Planning. Time management. I know. This doesn’t sound exciting or easy but the results you seek are on the other side of easy. Echoing in my mind are these two inspirational sayings: “You plan to fail if you fail to plan” – Benjamin Franklin and “A goal without a plan is merely a wish” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
I get we are all busy. So, I thought I would share my top 6 time management tips.Hopefully they will inspire you to take action and get back on track with those New Year Resolutions. It’s not too late you know. The year ain’t over yet. You still have 4 months.
1. Get clear on family goals. Get a chalkboard or whiteboard and colorful pens (a different color for each family member) and have a family meeting. Ask everyone what goal they want to accomplish for the upcoming year. Write the goals down on the board and discuss how you can support each other in reaching them. Talk about potential obstacles and explore ways you can work together to reduce these challenges. Keep your chalk/whiteboard in a place where everyone can be reminded of them daily. Taking time to set goals as a family will help manage time and prioritize activities for the upcoming year.
2. Make early morning exercise part of your routine. Whenever someone asks me if it’s true that people who exercise in the morning burn more calories than those who exercise later in the day, I always say “Yes, because they exercise and get it out of the way before life gets in the way.” Researchers have found that people who exercise first thing in the morning are more likely to stay consistent with their routine and folks, consistency is key with exercise and behavior change until it becomes a lifestyle. We know life gets busy and unplanned things happen, therefore morning exercise is a sure way to stay consistent. Not only is a morning workout a sure way to stay consistent, it boosts metabolism, helps clear your mind and increases focus and productivity. Who doesn’t want this?!
3. Plan meals and snacks in advance. Having healthy food on hand in your kitchen is absolutely essential. It reduces weekday stress by having one less thing to do. Find a time each week to plan 3 – 4 meals and write a grocery list. Cooking at home is a great way to help control your portion sizes, calories and ingredient choices which is necessary if you have food sensitivities. Enlist the help of family members and have your kids help in meal planning. Teaching children to take ownership of how they nourish their body is an important life lesson and the earlier you teach habits for healthy fueling, the better! Plus, when your kids are involved in every step of the process from deciding what the meal will be all the way to preparing it, they are more likely to eat the meal.
4. Enlist help from all family members. Originally, I wasn’t going to include this one, but I think it bears reminding that you can’t do everything on your own. At least not for long without losing your mind or temper. Delegate age appropriate chores and tasks to everyone, making sure all the work is not placed on just one person. Remind family members to support one another in their goals. Everyone needs to pitch in with chores and household duties.
5. Avoid overcommitting. This is challenging. As a parent you want to say yes to everything but you can’t be and do everything. Before you say yes ask yourself, “By saying yes to this, what am I saying no to?” Does saying ‘yes’ to the after school meeting mean you are saying ‘no’ to cooking a healthy dinner, spending quality time with your family, exercise, or rest? Remember, you are not being selfish if you take some time for yourself and your health. You must take care of yourself so that you can take care of others.
6. Embrace the .com. Seriously. We have a love/hate relationship with the internet and for good reason! However, for busy families the internet can serve as a tool to stay organized and help manage time. You’ll find time saving resources online from ordering groceries to using a service such as Blue Apron or HelloFresh to deliver ready-to-be-made meals to your door.