JUGGLING ACT:  SCHEDULING TIPS FOR TODAY'S FAMILY

Most modern families juggle multiple schedules for work, home, and school.  We find ourselves running to get everything done and everyone there on time.  Here are a few tips for keeping track of everyone's busy schedules.

Write it Down
  • We can't emphasize this tip enough - the key to gaining control is writing everything down.  We recommend a master calendar, prominently displayed in a central hallway, the kitchen or the family room.  Make sure this calendar has plenty of room to write and is easy to update.
  • Write entries in pencil instead of ink.  This makes updating easy.
  • Give everyone a tool for communicating new calendar entries, like a Notes section on the calendar, a dry erase board, or self-adhesive notes.  This keeps scheduling items where you need them.
  • Don't rely on memory!  You have too much going on to remember if the appointment was on the 9th at 11:00 or on the 11th at 9:00.
Organize and Update Regularly
  • Update your calendar regularly, at least once a week.  Sit down when you don't feel rushed.  Review new entries.  Write everything on the master calendar.
  • Transfer repeating entries to next week or next month.
  • Some calendars feature repositionable, color-coded stickers for each family member.  This makes it easy for each person to quickly scan and see what's coming up.
Set and Keep Due Dates
  • If your daughter needs a permission slip turned in on Monday, highlight this deadline so you can complete it on time.  Same goes for paying bills and returning RSVPs.
  • Set interim dates.  This is especially useful for big projects or events.  Planning a party?  Set dates for sending invitations, setting the menu, shopping, decorating, and cleaning.
  • A pocket folder new your calendar helps you keep paperwork where you need it -- store it and work on it in due date order so you don't miss a deadline.
Make Time for Family Fun!
  • Use your calendar to "schedule" downtime for your family.  The kids can help with this one -- ask them to take the lead to plan a meal, organize game night, or schedule a nature hike.  This encourages responsible planning and ensures participation.