Can you believe that fall is finally here? Boy, summer moved quickly this year!
I've always loved the fall. One of my greatest joys of the year is watching the trees turn all shades of wonderful colors. Fall brings up so many happy memories from my childhood, from jumping in leaf piles, carving jack o' lanterns, and picking apples to hayrides, bonfires and watching the local football teams. It's a tradition that, around the start of fall, my family begins to plan out all of the DIY Halloween projects we will tackle this season too (I can't wait to break out this crafts bag!) It's a fantastic time of year!
All of that said, the fall can be a frantic time as well. The kids go back to school, which results in juggling their new schedules, homework, and after-school activities. Fall also brings a range of new home chores. You need to transition from the summer to the fall by draining your sprinkler systems, putting away patio furniture, and cleaning all of the windows. And don't forget about the "fun" of leaf clean-up. Fall can also be a great time to get your trees checked before the harsher weather arrives. Mix all this with Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the rapid approach of Christmas, and you have a recipe for potential chaos!
The bottom line is that your fall is going to be incredibly busy. And a busy fall means that time management must be your best friend this season. Here are some of my top tips to help ensure you will have the time to notice all the wonderful things that this season has to offer:
Have a Master Calendar
Trying to keep track of everything that's happening during the fall can be tricky. That's why you need to make sure that events are properly scheduled, so you can see the entire season laid out in front of you.
Be sure to track everyone's activities on a physical calendar that everyone in the family can see. I suggest hanging it in the kitchen! Go over it with the kids daily to make sure they know what their day is going to look like. You can also create a digital version of this calendar that can be shared with the entire family.
List making is one of the most invaluable organizational tools you have at your disposal. Whether you use pen and paper or a digital list making app like Apple's Reminders doesn't matter. What matters is that you put the time in to complete it!
Don't focus on how many tasks are on your list – focus on the most important and most urgent tasks first. Covey's Time Management Grid is an excellent tool to help with this. And be sure to devote your time to only the task that you are currently working on. Multitasking does not work. To get everything finished, you must give individual tasks your full attention.
There is an old saying that "done is better than perfect." During the hectic fall seasons, you might as well put that on a t-shirt and wear it constantly!
The fight against procrastination is neverending, but there are some strategies you can use to help. Don't allow unimportant details drag you down the path of not getting started. I highly suggest completing your least favorite task first and just get it out the way. Once it's done, finishing the other tasks will feel like a breeze! You should also try to practice saying "no" when it comes to things that are extras or distractions. Focus is your friend!
Dividing up chores so that everyone can help is also be a useful strategy to beat procrastination. It can be difficult to motivate yourself to complete a task sometimes, but motivating your kids and spouse is probably something that you have lots of practice with!
Create Organizing Systems
It's simple: Being organized saves time. The more time that you have to spend figuring out where things are is time wasted. The key to creating an organizing system is that you need to streamline, streamline, streamline!
Create a filing system for your documents, including financial ones. This will really pay off during tax season next year! My personal recommendation is this Chic File Organizer that will be large enough to hold all of your documents. Make sure that all items in your home have a place to be stored. Don't just dump them in the closet, as that will create an entirely new mess you'll have to deal with in a few months. Take a look at your kitchen. Can you find ingredients quickly? If not, maybe invest in buying some airtight food storage containers. Is your email a complete disaster? Try spending an afternoon unsubscribing from email lists that you never bother to read.
And these organization systems shouldn't only be your responsibility either. It's important to teach kids the importance of organization from a young age. Create systems for their toys, clothes, closets, and books. This will help to show and teach them that there's a home for everything.
The first few weeks back to school are going to be nuts, there's no avoiding it! But there are a few ways that you can make things a bit easier for both you and your kids when it comes to school prep.
First, help your kids prepare the night before by picking out clothes for the next day, packing their school and/or sports bag, and making their lunch and snacks. You can also set up a homework station and establish a homework routine so that you don't waste time chasing them to get off their phone and into their work!
Your health is everything. If you aren't living a healthy lifestyle, then every other tip on this list is going to be much, much more difficult to accomplish.
During the fall, sleeping well, eating healthy, and getting exercise will help you focus more and increase your productivity. This will help with procrastination as you will have the energy to actually tackle the obstacles in front of you, rather than put them off until you are a bit more motivated.
You also need to consider your mental health during the fall. It's a common trap to forget about yourself and spend all of your energy on getting your family through. This isn't sustainable. Instead, allow yourself some "me" time and don't beat yourself up if something doesn't get done as quickly as you hope. Don't worry, you will get it done, but only if you take the time for yourself first.
Most importantly, you should enjoy the fall! It's an absolutely incredible season, and you don't want to miss it from being stressed out! Be sure to take a minute to enjoy the beautiful leaf colors! And if things still feel a bit out of control, you could always call me!
If you feel like you are more likely to "fall down" than enjoy the fall, then you could probably use a little bit of help! Click here and schedule a maintenance check with me, and we'll start getting your fall back under control!
Annie Kilbride is the CEO of Life Simplified, LLC a professional organizing business.