The goal oriented process of time management works equally well in family time management as it does for work related time management.
How can you adapt these processes to the unique needs of family time management?
Get Everyone on the Same Page
You won’t be able to manage the family’s time if you have one or two members who won’t cooperate. Sit down with everyone and explain that everybody is busy but we will all be happier and get more of what we want if everybody can work together.
Make sure that everybody sees the benefit – meals won’t be so late and appointments won’t be missed if everyone does their best to keep to a schedule. That means that school appointments and extracurricular activities MUST be put on the schedule as soon as they know about them.
Respecting each other’s time will mean that everyone gets a fair chance. If schedules overlap it is time to reorganize or eliminate activities.
Make it Fun
Planning is easier when it’s fun. Get a large wall calendar or a laminated blank calendar and put the dates in. Get everyone together and assign a colored marker to each individual. Have everyone write their activities and times on the calendar (or have them tell you while you fill it in).
Every time a new appointment is made the family is required to mark it down or tell you so you can fill it in. This will prevent double booking the car or a parent’s time and the colored markers will identify if one person is demanding more of the family’s time and resources than the others.
If you are a parent and you see that your children’s schedules are packed with extra curricular activities it might be wise to limit them to once or twice a week. This is especially true if homework and projects are interfering with sleep, meals and other family time.
Teaching your kids to keep a balanced schedule not only promotes good time management habits they will need in college and work life, but it impresses on them that taking care of responsibilities and spending unstructured time together is part of a balanced life.
If everyone is dashing off in different directions all the time put meal time into the schedule as well as a family night. Both children and adults can then plan their activities in advance so that most nights the family can be together for at least a part of the evening.
Lists…so you don’t forget!
If you have the room, make a note on the calendar of the items needed for each activity or appointment. If there’s no room you can list the activities elsewhere along with the needed items. Keep it next to the calendar and you can quickly see what needs to go with whom.
Remind each person the night before to have the necessary items ready – sports equipment, musical instruments, documents, etc.
Lists like this can also be used to make weekly meals run on time and with less stress.
Have each person tell you a meal that they enjoy. Put it on a Master list of meal ideas. Leave the list on the fridge or somewhere that the family can add on to it when they think of something.
Later, take the list and create a shopping list for the meals. Each week you can choose the meals you will make for the week and will already have a list of all the ingredients you ne