I hope everyone is having a great weekend! We spent our weekend out and about, so my little corner of the internet has been a bit neglected, but I think it’s important to balance work and family, yes? In any case, I think that we can all agree that back to school is a busy time. As a teacher, you have meetings, in service/PD, classroom set up, and lesson planning. Not to mention anything else you might have going on in your life outside of teaching. (What? A life outside of teaching?) Today, I’m going to share with you my top strategies for staying organized in the chaos, whether it’s planning for back to school, an international move, or one last family vacation before school starts again. As I share this, I want to say that I think the most important part of organization is having a system that works FOR YOU. What I love about this system is that it works for me. Some of it might not work for you, but hopefully you’ll be able to walk away from this post with at least one strategy that’s helpful to you.
On any given Sunday, this is what I do to make sure that I’m ready for our coming week.
- I get out my super awesome and glorious Happy Planner, and make sure that it matches my travel friendly Google Calendar. I’m 100% not ready to be totally digital in my life planning, but when I’m out I rarely take my calendar with me so the first step is to make sure that both my calendars match. That means I’m making sure that any hard and fast commitments we have (meetings, doctor’s appointments, play dates) are on the month and week calendar views.
- After I make sure my macro views match I drill down to the weekly view. On Sunday, I’m adding in any commitments we have for the week. I’m also going back every night between 9:30 and 10p and adding my priority to-dos for the following day. So on Sunday, things like birthdays, meetings, and appointments are on the calendar. Each night I add the action items, like blog post, baby laundry, run 5 miles, etc for the following day. At the beginning of the week my calendar probably looks like this.But by the end of the week, it looks more like this.It’s also (embarrassingly) important to me to have my calendar color coded, and just so I never have to hold that code in my brain I have a post it tucked in the front of my calendar that always shows me what colors I arbitrarily assigned to each chunk of my life.Should I be embarrassed that our dog has a color on the calendar? I’m not.
- The last step I take (and the one that sometimes doesn’t happen until after Sunday, especially on busy weekends) is making our weekly “family hub”. Now maybe you were blessed with a husband who loves to be organized and always knows what commitments are coming up. Or maybe you have a husband who loves to make dinner. Or maybe you’re not married and you’re just the boss of yourself. Then you probably don’t need to be worried about this last step. But I HATE hearing “what’s for dinner?” or “when is the boys’ doctor’s appointment?”, so this last step helps me eliminate that. I have this super handy post-it pad that I got at Target (#themostamazingstoreever); it’s glorious because it’s divided. It has 7 long boxes and then one long list. I use the long boxes for our daily menu and any important commitments. I haven’t really filled it out for this week, so it looks a little pathetic now, but I think you get the idea.I’ve used the long list on the side for a mix of things–if it’s a busy week, I’ll use it to prioritize the 3 most important things I need to do each day. Other times I use it for a shopping list. But it’s really helpful. And then when I’m done I pull it off and stick it on the fridge, so everyone knows what we’re having for dinner/what we have to do each day. And when I say “everyone” I really mean the hubs, because the babies can’t read.
What are some ways that you stay organized during the busy back to school season? I’d love to hear about them! Have a great Sunday night! xoxo, Rachel