As a single mom who works full-time, I have to be super organized. I have to be. Am I perfect? No way! But reducing stress during hectic mornings and the after work and after school rush are important to my family's well-being.
I fall back on three organizational strategies that work beautifully for my teenage son and me.
Organize Your Clothes
Each Sunday, I organize my work outfits by day of the week, hanging them front to back in my closet. Any accessories are placed in a plastic grocery bag around the neck of the hanger. I have also installed shelves from the hardware store to make everything easier to see and access.
Rethinking Family Meals
My fridge is divided into sections corresponding to breakfast, dinner and snacks. The bacon, eggs and juice are all kept in a single corner for easy morning access. Dinners for my son, who comes home hours before I do, are in another, labeled by food and heating instructions.
I like to make home-cooked meals, so I devote a weekend morning to cooking for the coming week: usually mix-and-match combinations of grains, cooked meats and hardy vegetables.
Pie-charts and Kanbans for Productivity
For day-to-day organizing, I mentally make a pie-chart of each day and allot every task or chore a 15-minute increment. I schedule in homework and blogging time, activities, exercise, even me-time. After doing it for a while, you can get a better handle on where your time goes and how you can take better control of your schedule.
For long-range planning, I take a tip from work: the kanban board. These visual flow charts originated in Japanese manufacturing. They are widely used in business and software development to keep workflow moving smoothly and transparently. Sound boring? Honestly, they can be a fun and visual way to plan family projects.
Planning a vacation? Trying to track your kid's complex US History project? Working toward a financial goal? Use an app like Kanbanchi or create a pin board in the kitchen. All you do is move tasks left to right at different stages of completion. Everyone in your family can use kanban!
Every family is different. If you're time-starved like me, you might find one of these organizing hacks useful. They are plan-ahead tools that can keep family life organized during the hectic school year.