Articles for appointments

Guest post by Paula Constable

I love routines to help me make the most of my time. It’s about picking a day or time of day to do recurring tasks or activities. By doing this you take control and decide, based on what works best of you and your schedule, when you want to get stuff done.

It’s all about having a game plan. Of course that plan can always be done away with when you are a mother, but I find it’s helpful to start with one; you can always adjust as needed.

Here are some examples:
• Meal planning for the week on Sunday night and shopping on Monday.
• Paying the bills every Thursday or on the 15th and 30th of each month.
• Washing 1 load of laundry everyday or all of it on Wednesdays.
• Planning your next day the night before or first thing in the morning.
• Devotional and prayer time in the morning.
• Checking email at the kids’ nap time and after the kids go to bed.
• Returning phone calls between 9 and 10 a.m.
• Vacuuming on Mondays, dusting on Tuesdays, and washing the floors on Wednesday.
• Starting meal prep 1 hour prior to dinner time.
• Opening and sorting the mail everyday after dinner.
• Filing your “to file” pile the same day every week.
• Waking up 30 – 60 minutes before the kids to get yourself ready for the day.
• Exercising on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
• Eating out with the family on Thursday nights. Read More→

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Organized MomThis week’s featured almost always organized mom is Tara Reed. Mom, artist, and designer. She recently launched a new website as well !

Here are Tara’s interview answers and tips for moms to get organized:

How do you keep your children’s schedules together ?
My household is a family of 2 – me and my son. I’ve been divorced for 5 1/2 years now, run my own business out of the house and my son just got his driver’s license… some days it’s a tad busy!

I have a combination of schedule managers but use a write-on-wipe off calendar on the side of the refrigerator for anything that is on my son’s schedule or that will affect my son.

For example, it doesn’t really matter to him if I have meetings, appointments or conference calls while he is at school – those don’t make the fridge. But if I’m speaking or have a teleseminar that is in the evening, it is there so he could see it.

Of course, he is a 16 year old boy so verbal repetition and texting seems work a little better than my calendar system. :) At the beginning of the week I’ll do a litte, “Here’s what I have going on, here’s what you have going on… anything you haven’t told me about?” (There often is.)

Then each morning while he’s getting ready for school I’ll remind him of anything that day. Then when he doesn’t remember after school, he texts, fesses up that he didn’t really listen, I tell him for the 5th or 6th time and it sinks in. (They say people need to hear things 7 times to really hear them, in my experiencethat is extra true for teenagers!)

Do you use a particular day planner or mom planner?
I have a Mac and recently discovered this wonderful system called “Daylite”. It may be more than an average mom needs but if you are a mom that is also working from home in any way – check it out!

It has a calendar, contact list management, connects emails to people automatically, politely reminds you of upcoming events… it does everything but clean the bathroom! I have it on both my iPhone and Mac and they sync very nicely – so if I make an appointment away from home I just hit “sync” and don’t have to retype everything.

Daylite has helped me save time, find communication threads and remember when to call people back, send in art for consideration and more. I truly can’t say enough good things about this software!

Do you own a blackberry?
No. As an artist and avid Mac lover, I went from a basic phone to an iPhone. Now I couldn’t live without it!

What is you most used ‘time saving tip’ when it comes to running your house?
Don’t obsess over dust. If you have a choice between dusting and relaxing with your kids, spouse, significant other or a good book – choose the latter. (Do dust sometimes of course!) I often feel like I’m ‘falling down on the job’ if my house wouldn’t be ready for a white glove test or photo shoot with a home interiors magazine but the truth of the matter is, we live here. I work here. Kids hang out and play guitar here. It can’t be 100% clean all the time. So save time by dusting 1/2 as much as you are compelled to and spend a little more time having fun! Read More→

Categories : Featured Busy Mom
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The following guest post offers tips for parents looking to help their teens learn study and time management skills;

It’s About Time -Changing Behavior to Improve Student Study Habits

timemanagmentforteensStudents live in a world of endless opportunities to learn, socialize, volunteer, work, and travel among a long list of things. Good study skills and time management are key to learning how to balance priorities and opportunities in your life as a student.

With all these options and new found freedom, a student might become dissatisfied with how they are managing their time. Perhaps they have developed a bad habit of procrastinating or maybe they have too many activities on the go. Changing behaviors is a difficult task but following the recommendations below will help any student improve their time management skills.

A student can start by doing a self assessment. Do I skip class? Do I set goals for myself? Am I easily distracted from school work? Own up to your short comings and bad habits. Set goals you would like to achieve this semester, this year and in life. This will help you determine what is most important to you and help set your priorities.

Starting to plan. Plan each day. You can do this the night before or first thing in the morning. Set out what you would like to accomplish today and prioritize the items on your To Do list. The best tool is a day planner. Read More→

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“So how do stay-at-homes moms organize their time? I’m new at being a SAHM and I can’t seem to get anything done! I thought I would be painting the livingroom and resurfacing the deck by now!”

I think part of the answer is to acknowledge your individual style and family needs.

I am often told by others that they think I am super mom – but things are not perfect in my home. I get a lot done by taking each project and breaking it down into small realistic steps – but that’s another topic …

I also found when i stayed at home I would notice motivation would wane and I wasn’t getting out of the house. So be sure to schedule out of the house time :-) If you know you have to be up and out of the house every day at 9 30 am, you will be able to schedule what needs to be done before then and have the motivation to get it done.

If we “stay home” too much we tend to slow down (or at least I do :-)

I have never liked the term stay at home mom … you are a mom.

Staying at home implies you are in the home – but you aren’t – you are everywhere ! Out walking, doing errands, scheduling play dates, classes, homework, soccer, ballet, dentist appointments … its a full time job. I like the title CEO mom. Running a family is as hard as running a company.

So those big jobs you mention (even if it was tongue in cheek … tell me your partner (the one who works full time out of the house) how much time is in his schedule to be painting the living room and resurfacing the deck” – that’s how much time you have as a full time mom ! You both have full time jobs..

It sounds like if you want to schedule those other big jobs in you will be pulling an all nighter at the office (oops home) outside of your regular stay at home mom working hours.
Another tip : Each evening write a to do list for the small things you realistically should be able to fit in the next day- start with no more than 5.
Good Luck !

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Some of us are blessed with an internal alarm clock. A little voice that wakes you up two minutes before your alarm goes off. This may be a blessing if that little voice also alerts you ten minutes before your son’s soccer game or before the school bell rings. However I don’t have that blessing.

Of course I have the internal ability to wake up 30 minutes BEFORE I have to wake up after only five hours of sleep. Unfortunately that alarm doesn’t seem to carry over into the waking hours. A thirty minute heads up would be handy.

Not having that constant heads up, instead, I wear the super mom cape as I leap over shoes, bags and the cat in a flurry of movement. Knowing full well that the school bell is going to ring in ten minutes and the drive is a minimum of 11 minutes and three seconds if no one is in the cross walk and that light isn’t red. Of course, I will have to drive laps to locate a place I can stop to let my son in. All the parking spots are taken by those nannies with an internal clock.

I thought I had the alarm clock before I had children. As a professional Nanny I was never late for a soccer game, a music lesson, or birthday party. It turns out there are two types of internal alarm clocks. The one reserved for those of us who don’t have children under the age of 18. This one allows you to roll out of bed just before your alarm goes off after a night of 8 hours of restful sleep.

Then there’s the other alarm clock. The one called the mom alarm clock. This internal alarm wakes you up at three minutes before the baby needs to be fed, or two minutes before your toddler wets the bed, or 8 minutes before your five year old wakes up with growing pains. Sometimes these alarms are all in the same night. The mom alarm clock results in a pure hatred of the real alarm clock that wakes you up at 7 am as the children are peacefully sleeping telling you to start your day.

Luckily I have some other time management tips under my cape to keep me on time and organized as a mother. Despite the internal mom alarm clock working against me at night, my children make it to their soccer games and birthday parties, usually with the present and cleats in the bag. Was that the blue bag or the red one?

*I wrote this last year – feel free to share it on your blog or website, just link back :)

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