Does keeping your back-to-school life organized make you wish for summer again? If you just had a way to organize and manage your fall schedule without it feeling like something else to do, it would feel like life was finally on your side.
I feel you. The illusion that summer is easier used to hit me hardest three times during the school year: at the beginning, after Christmas break, and after mid-winter break. You feel like you finally got this rhythm, then boom–the schedule changes again. I had to learn how to make this pain stop because no matter what, those three dates were coming for me every school year.
All the stuff I thought I had in order would get disrupted when one of my kids would hand me another piece of paper out of their book bag. It felt like every week from September to November my child’s school was giving me the one-two punch and I could never get back on my feet.
Let’s not even talk about having kids in multiple schools and grade levels. During my daughter’s senior year I wanted to hide in my bedroom and not come out until summer, but I didn’t. I had to create a system to help me stay afloat.
What’s a mom to do when you want your kids to explore and get the most out of their school years, but you would enjoy time to breathe as well?
Manage Your Fall Schedule–The Plan
Here is how I stay organized during the school year. No, it doesn’t involve you purchasing another planner or downloading another freebie worksheet you’ll never use. These steps are life-sized practical things you can easily add to your already busy life.
- Write it all down: Take a day and write out everything that goes on in a typical week for you.
- Plug it in: Plug all due dates and activities into one calendar, preferably a calendar where you can see everything.
- Assess and regroup: After plugging everything in, notice where you are overbooked energetically and time-wise. This step helps you know what to say no to and where to ask for help.
You might wonder why I only have you doing this weekly. Well, here is why. When you are already overwhelmed, trying to schedule a month’s worth of activities and deadlines is exhausting; plus, during the school year things change frequently and quickly.
Scheduling for the month or school year might seem like a great idea. However, it disconnects you from your schedule, which will lead you to still be over-scheduling and dropping the ball.
Manage Your Fall Schedule–Action
Each Sunday I reassess my schedule and pivot when necessary. It takes me about 15 minutes each week to do this. It helps me start my week clear, focused, and ready to go. Add your weekly check-in times to your calendar now–make this a regular part of your life.
Also, by planning this way, I am now the queen of the fast no and slow yes. Looking at my schedule regularly allows me to stay connected to my time and energy output.
Just a disclaimer: yes, I do add all major school happenings as soon as my district drops the school year calendar, and anything that I know is going to happen regularly like track or band practice. As soon as I get the schedule, it goes on my schedule.
Your overwhelm isn’t coming from you not planning in advance. Your overwhelm comes from not taking the plans out of your head and underestimating the time and energy you really have to execute.
This school year, take the slow and steady approach to organizing your schedule. Nothing is fixed overnight, and the only thing trying to do it all gets you, is burned out.
Manage Your Fall Schedule–The Wrap-Up
I get that it feels like Rome is burning now, and that changes need to happen now, but I invite you to focus on the small consistent things you can do. As a mom, we crave consistency because our lives always feel like they are shifting and changing, and we have no control over it.
If you follow these methods, you’ll find that you feel more empowered and like you can breathe more. You don’t have to do it all at once. Take the time to build a foundation that will support you no matter what.