It’s Monday and I think I’ve recovered from this weekend. Here’s a rundown of what we did:
- Friday Night: Basketball Practice, Taste of the World Program at school, drive to Illinois for Indoor Track Meet
- Saturday Morning: School Admissions Testing, Basketball Game, Indoor Track Meet in Illinois
- Saturday Afternoon: Daddy/Daughter Movie Date, Indoor Track Meet in Illinois
- Saturday Evening: Story Planning for Book Submission, Indoor Track Meet in Illinois, Drive Home from Illinois
- Sunday Morning: Church Service with the family
- Sunday Afternoon: Household Chores, Planning for the Week Ahead
- Sunday Evening: Family Dinner and Meeting, Family Game Night
- Sunday Night: The MOM Spotlight January Feature
Yes, the track meet lasted the ENTIRE day. And yes, we did all that in one weekend. That’s a pretty normal schedule for us. Actually, Olivia’s normal Sunday afternoon acting class was canceled this week so we got a break.
There was once a time when I would get completely stressed out trying managing a weekend full of activities like this. Some things wouldn’t get done. I’d often feel like I was failing at life and motherhood. But once Alexandra became of age to have her own activities and interests separate from her brother and sister, I knew something had to be done.
So I began to use the project management principles that were so successful at work, in my home life. Now I look forward to not only planning for our busy lives, I also love reviewing what we’ve accomplished each week. And I owe it all to these 3 must have tools that allow me to strategize, plan and manage my family with ease.
Family Planning Tools: Cozi Online Family Planner
Because I am a planner, I have lists and calendars for everything. My challenge was keeping them all in one place and making sure everyone in the family had access to them. With Cozi, that problem was solved.
Now, all our activities are in one color-coded calendar that’s shareable with the whole family! Reminders, updates, to do lists, grocery list, and tasks are set up with the click of a button. Want to make sure your husband doesn’t forget to get the milk or your mom is reminder it’s her day to pick up the kids? Just create a profile with their name and email address and voila! Best of all IT’S COMPLETELY FREE! There is an upgraded version, Cozi Gold, (which you can try free for 14 days by clicking here), but you can do nearly everything you need without it.
Family Planning Tools: The Mompreneur Planner
When I am mapping out activities for the weeks and months ahead, it’s easier to write them out before I add them into Cozi. This way I can see conflicts and overlaps ahead of time and create a backup plan. Or simply choose not to participate in something. I’m learning to embrace the polite decline.
For this, I use the Mompreneur Planner, a lightweight physical planner that not only keeps your schedule but offers business planning and goal setting tools. It’s small enough to fit in your purse or bag without adding bulk, but comprehensive enough to manage your family’s busy lives. It’s especially good for those things you don’t need to share with the family – like the location your mani/pedi appointments.
Family Planning Tools: The Frantic Family Model
Even though this is last on the list, it’s actually the first thing I use in the process of managing my family’s lives. This model, by author Patrick Lencioni, is a mindset shifting tool that will help you treat your family with the respect it deserves as the primary organization in your life.
I learned about this tool in 2011, a life changing year for me, and I have never looked at managing my family the same again. Deciding the most important focus for your family is critical for managing the craziness of life. This tool provides the outline and the process for making that choice, monitoring progress toward achieving the goal and managing everything else that must be done to keep your family going.
With these three must have family planning tools, the daily life in your family will go from manic to manageable in no time.