Managing our time, schedules, and overall lives is a daunting task. Many of
us have a full schedule while also trying to manage our family members’ schedules.
Effective time management skills are vital, but how do we manage everyone’s
schedules successfully? Every day already includes getting up in the morning, getting children ready for school, making sure their homework is complete, dropping them off at school, and getting to
work on time. So, you might wonder how we balance everything we have to do and find time for the extracurricular
activities we want to do? Here are a few tips to help.
As we try to manage school, work, and extracurricular activities, are we finding little time left
for our families, friends, and fun? Set a schedule and stick with it. We get it; it is easier said than done. But making it a team effort can help! While the first step may be setting a schedule, it is
important to encourage children to make their own schedules too. Parents find it hard to
remember everything, so getting the family to contribute as a unit will help with managing all
the activities/tasks of the family. As we create our schedules, you can start to order them by filling
out the most important tasks first, such as school, homework, tests, or deadlines. You can also
make it visual, color code, assign specific pictures, etc. Second, add the extracurricular
activities, friends, family time, and social activities. Lastly, in our schedule(s), we may want to
include mealtime, chores/cleaning, exercise, downtime, and other tasks we need to complete
at home. Making sure to schedule downtime is an excellent way of ensuring our schedules don’t get too full and overwhelm us. Does a quiet cup of coffee help ground you in the morning? Put it in the schedule! Does a regular family game night make you feel happy and connected? Put it in the schedule! Making a schedule is an individualized project, so use an order or method best for you.
Encouraging children to make a schedule too can help us all to
stay organized, motivated, and balanced.
Staying healthy and energized
Schedule made? Check! What’s next? To be at our best in our daily routines, we want to make sure our bodies and brains are healthy. Small things like staying hydrated, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep all significantly affect our energy levels. You want to be in your best state for school, work, and those after-school activities!
The benefits of extracurricular activities
You might be wondering if we are already busy, why add more to our schedules? Great question; here’s why. Extracurricular activities
can benefit children in many ways. First and foremost, extracurriculars improve their overall
functioning. Research suggests children do best when they have structure, routine and are
encouraged to develop positive habits. Children involved in extracurricular activities perform
better academically, boost social skills and get opportunities to develop friendships. Furthermore, this can create opportunities for children to become more
involved in their community. Extracurricular activities promote the development of interests,
hobbies, and skills. These activities can also foster the skills further needed to manage time
While extracurricular activities are beneficial to children, there is a difference between busy and overextended. Creating schedules that prevent life from becoming overwhelming and staying energized
are helpful tips for keeping a timely schedule. Another suggestion that may be useful for time
management is time blocking. Time blocking is a method that allows you to divide
your day into blocks of time. Blocks are dedicated to completing specific tasks, groups of tasks,
or even nonspecific tasks. Time blocking may not be effective for everyone. However, if you find
yourself juggling many responsibilities, spending too much time on certain things, constantly
distracted, or desperate to find time for that big-picture thinking, then time
blocking can work for you. Below is an article that goes over how to utilize time blocking, time
blocking variations, and the effectiveness of time blocking.
As mentioned earlier, the key to time management is balance. Finding balance can be a struggle,
but it is possible. To summarize how to keep an effective, timely schedule
which includes extracurriculars; create a visual schedule, schedule downtime, dedicate time for
unstructured fun, practice moderation, try mindfulness, and praise children for their
accomplishments. The right balance for your family may look different from
other families, and that’s OK. The most important thing is finding a way to maximize your time to make you the happiest.