Back to school season means unsullied notebooks and squeaky clean
chalkboards. Fall is a fresh start. Tap into that "anything is possible" energy
and set your students - and yourself - on an organized, productive path this
Get in Gear
With the start of school, families often need to put the lazy low-gear
days of summer into high-drive. If late summer nights turned into indolent
morning sleep-ins, give your family time to adjust to the earlier school
schedule. Start encouraging kids to hit bed a few minutes earlier each night
and let the alarm ring a few minutes earlier every day. Expect about two-weeks
for the circadian sleep rhythms of your family to reset.
School brings schedules. Lots of schedules: lunch schedule; sports
calendars; test dates; and invitations. When the list is endless it's time for
a kitchen command center. This fall, commit to setting up a family calendar and
message board that works for your needs. Permanent filing solutions need not
apply; what you want is a communications hub handling incoming and outgoing
information needing action on a day-to-day basis. Set up your command center to
enable family members to walk in, unload crucial papers and items and have them
at their fingertips when next ready to leave.
Keep the Motor
Keep your organization motor running with regular tune-ups. Set aside
a scheduled block of time each week to prune the paperwork in your kitchen
command center; dedicate a longer chunk of time once or twice a month to file
away bills and paperwork. Deputize your helpers (aka your spouse and kids) to
tackle specific tasks. One can help keep sports items corralled in proper bins;
another can help keep key closets and the pantry in order. Keep a running
grocery list on the fridge, encourage all familiy members to add to the list
when an item runs out. Finally, at the start of the year, find a designated
spot for homework and backpacks for each child and make sure items are stowed
there when not in use.
Membership has its rewards. Make the American Express tagline apply on
the home front; all family members need to pitch in on Operation Organized, and
when they do, good things flow their way. Are backpacks and homework supplies
in designated spots? Computer free time is yours! Keeping your designated zones
(hall closets, the linen closet) shipshape? Earn a later bedtime or extra
texting minutes. When all family members pitch in each month to tackle bigger
organizational projects, treat everyone to a family movie outing or take-out
dinner. Conversely, lapses in maintenance can result in special privileges
being curtailed. Carrots and sticks. You get the idea.
In all things be true to yourself. Operation Organization will look
different for a family of six with a garage full of sports equipment then it
will for an empty-nester or young single. Fall's fresh start doesn't have to be
radical. Carefully assess what basic steps will help you get organized enough
to be productive AND relaxed.
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Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates
passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization. Believing in "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.