By cultivating a few new scheduling habits, here are five tips for busy parents that can make the back-to-school transition much smoother and less stressful on everyone.
1. Make your calendar easy to update
As schedules can change quickly, make it easy for your calendar to keep up. Parent/teacher conference gets moved? Need to switch carpool days? No problem. Keep your calendar within easy reach so you can make changes immediately, without having to remind yourself to do it later. Digital calendars on your phone allow you to do this within seconds from anywhere at anytime and sync instantaneously.
2. Upgrade your reminders
If your reminders are jotted notes—lacking the detail or relevant data you need to get things done right—they’re likely to add to your stress, rather than relieve it. Make sure every reminder you create includes specific details that relate to time, place, and what needs to be done. Need to bring snacks for your kid’s soccer game? Note where you need to shop and when, any dietary restrictions, and the location of the game so you can come through for the team without breaking a sweat.
3. Keep your notes in one place
It can be quite tempting to grab whatever’s closest to you to write down notes, or even to just open up your Notes app on your phone. The challenge is that when your notes are in various places, you are less likely to see them and have to take more steps to access them. The difference between knowing exactly what school supplies are needed on the first day of school and multiple trips to the supply store can be as simple as an easily accessible list. Keeping your notes in one place one your phone can save time and frustration.
4. Let others support you
In Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before, she highlights a significant portion of the population she calls Obligers. These are people who excel at meeting the expectations of others: If they tell someone else they’re going to do something, they are much more likely to do it than if they were to just tell themselves. If this sounds familiar, tell one or two people you see often about the most important things you need to get done or remember. Need to help your kid prep for the school play? Ask a family friend who loves Broadway to witness their monologue over FaceTime. Just inviting another person to support you or asking them to remind you can be enough to ensure something gets done well.
5. Use as few tools as possible
The modern pace of life doesn’t support much patience when it comes to getting things done. Minutes count. Even seconds count, when you’re trying to squeeze in a task while you’re waiting or on the move. Using lots of apps or scheduling tools, where you have to jump from one to another just makes doing simple things harder. Be selective with the apps you use, that way you can get things done more efficiently even while parked in the queue to pick up the kids.
Heading into a new school year often brings lots of new opportunities and challenges. That’s a good thing. Utilizing the right tools at the right time can make the difference between excitement and overwhelm. Thankfully, the technology is available at your fingertips to help you simplify and streamline scheduling. Use it to your advantage! Prioritizing and practicing these useful habits not only makes life easier and less stressful—it’s also a great skill to model for your kids. You are their greatest teacher.
About the Author
Johan Gunnars is an entrepreneur and CEO and co-founder of Simpliday—Meetings, Reminders & Email in One, a new iPhone calendar app allowing users to achieve a more organized and efficient life by bringing together meetings, reminders and email in one customizable, beautiful, user-friendly app. Gunnars experience in productivity, software, e-commerce, consumer electronics, among others, leads him to focus on how companies and products can make a difference while connecting to the overall vision and strategy. Gunnars is based in Malmo, Sweden. For more information about Gunnars and Simpliday, visit Simpliday.