Effective time management skills are helpful to all adults and children. These skills are especially beneficial for busy families and critical for those with children who have attention and organizational issues. Day-to-day demands become overwhelming. By managing your time wisely and modeling that for your children, you and your family can make it through the day less stressed and less overwhelmed.
1. Individual Calendars
- Use a day planner of your choice – electronic or paper.
- Start on your own calendar system before you begin to work with your children.
- Be sure there is ample room space to write appointments and if possible some insert a list of to-do items for each day or week. You can set reminders to “review to-do list” each day and refer back to one list posted on Sunday or Monday each week, blank pages for notes, ideas, “to do” items that come up during the day.
- Block out realistic time frames directly on your calendar. Consider driving time, waiting time, rush hour, weather delays. An appointment begins when you get in the car, not when you arrive at your destination. For example:
- How long will the appointment at the doctor’s office REALLY take?
- Did you include travel time, time to go to the pharmacy?
- Do you need to build in time to pick up your child at school?
- Is school on the way or will you need to add time to backtrack?
Once you have become comfortable with your system, share some ideas with your children and your spouse. Each person should have a day planner or a calendar.
2. Family calendar
- Post a large calendar with ample writing space for each family member. An alternative is to use iCal or Google Calendar for the family. Be sure to check out the color-coding options so each family member has a distinct color.
- Transfer the information from each of your individual day planners on to the family calendar. This gives each person a chance to see the big picture.
- Use weekly family meetings to review the calendar and upcoming event. When time conflicts arise, work together to solve them. Don’t delay!
- Use a watch with a timer if that will help you.
- Set alarms on your computer, Smartphone or watch. There are apps available for alarms and reminders. One favorite app is TimeTimer or carry a small digital timer.
- “Human timers”- ask for help from others. If you work in an office, ask a
co-worker or staff members to push you out the door at a designated time.