Welcome to week 7 of the MVP Generation Go posts here on Frugal Upstate! As you know we’ve discussed Meal Planning, Kids and Youth Sports, Active Role Models, Discovering Your Community, Making Food Fun and Creative Recreation. This week’s MVP Generation Go topic for all of us ambassadors is Time Management and Setting Goals!
Now it is easy to see how setting goals is related to a healthy lifestyle for you and your kids–after all, any changes you want to make or current behavior you want to encourage is basically a goal you are setting-right? But what does time management have to do with it?
Well-for me it’s about making sure we have TIME to actually get around to accomplishing our goals and to participate in all those activities we have been talking about for the last 6 weeks. When we don’t plan, just going from crisis to crisis each day, it seems like we are just running as fast as we can just to stay in place. Looking at our time and making a plan for how to use it (sort of like making a menu plan back in week 1) ensures that we put our time into those things that are important to us!
So how do I keep control (if nominally sometimes) of our family’s time?
1. Set Your Goals
How do you prioritize your time if you don’t know what your goals are? Setting goals can be individual or whole family events. Sit down and talk with your loved ones about what is important and what your family needs/wants to accomplish. You can go formal or informal, write it all out or just think about it in the privacy of your own head. . . just make sure you have some idea of what is important to you and what you have to spend time on and want to spend time on.
2. Keep a Family Calendar.
You can not manage your time if you have no idea what events, activities and commitments are coming up. Period. No one is good enough to keep it all in their head.
What you use for your calendar is a personal choice and may change as you go through different life stages
For years and years I used a “Day Minder” type planner (this was before data phones). The kind that is a binder and fits about a half sheet of paper. I had the weekly calendar pages, monthly pages, phone book and any work related resources I needed to have on hand.
Then I became a stay at home mom with two toddlers and found I was constantly missing things. There just wasn’t a lot happening in my life on a daily basis that I needed to schedule-so I kept forgetting to look at my day planner. At that point I moved to one of those small month at a glance type calendars. I was home with the kids every day and only needed to jot down things like playdates, haircuts, doctors appointments and birthdays. I bought a big desk type calendar and filled that out as well so that Yankee Bill could also see what was going on.
Next the kids entered school and I started my new online career. Suddenly I had more to keep track of again-various school activities, work related appointments and calls, my editorial calendar for this blog. Yankee Bill also changed jobs and had a much more variable work schedule that I was trying to keep track of. Keeping a big family calendar plus one for me to carry around both updated with the same info became a chore. That’s when I moved to an online calendar–Google Calendar to be exact. (note: I also got a smart phone. )
Yankee Bill and I have our own calendars which we can overlap and both see and update from both our computers and our phones. I have separate calendars which only I can see for work and my editorial calendar. I even set up a calendar for the kids which they can use to add their own events in as they get older. As an added bonus I can set email, text message and pop up reminders at various intervals and easily set up reoccurring events.
3. Disseminate the Information
It does you no good to have a fabulous organized calendar if no one else in the family knows what is on it! You have to get that information out there.
You could hold a weekly family meeting and update everyone on what’s coming up the next week. . . yeah-I know, I’m never that organized either (although it’s a nice thought)
You could just give everyone access to the calendar and then put the responsibility back on them to check it. We have sort of done that with our shared Google calendar. Yankee Bill and I can both see it, so in theory we both know what is coming up. However that only works if we both take the time to look at the upcoming week. And of course Princess and Buddy are too young to do that.
What I’ve found that works the best for me is to set up a weekly calendar on a whiteboard for everyone to look at. I took a pre-made whiteboard calendar that you are supposed to fill in for a month at a time and INSTEAD I wrote the name of each family member down the left side in permanent marker. Then each week on Sunday I put the pertinent activities for each person on their week.
Even the kiddos can check their own week and see things like school library days, reminders to bring gym clothes, and after school activity reminders. Plus since it is hung in the kitchen where everyone has to walk by it about 100 times a day, I know everyone has seen it!
4. Check Your Goals
Every once in a while it is a good idea to do a goal check. What are you goals? Are they still important to you? Are you prioritizing your time to actually achieve your goals–and if not, why?
Now on to the fun stuff-the giveaway!
This giveaway starts today, August 15tht and ends at midnight EST on Sunday August 21st. Winners will be announced next Monday.
To enter, we would like to know your best time management tip for your family!
For an additional entry you can:
Tweet your ideas about time management #GenerationGo hashtag (one entry).
Don’t forget to head on over to the MVP Generation Go Facebook page andgive them a “like”! You’ll see all the great posts by the other Ambassadors-and to see their gift card giveaways as well!
DISCLOSURE: I am an MVP Generation Go ambassador. MVP Has provided me with compensation for this post. My participation is voluntary and my opinion is always my own. The $50 Gift Card for this giveaway was provided by Kids Fun Plaza.