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Beat Manic Mornings

Some have already gone back to school or will be in the next week or so.  While the kids on the Jersey shore know the new school year is just around the corner.  Today’s post was inspired by thepeacefulmom.com. It has been a long time since I had anyone going back to school but I do remember some of the tricks which helped this crazy busy single mom stay sane (okay, maybe only a little).

Transitioning from summer days to the schedule of the school year can be rough.  Belinda always had a schedule even in the summer because of sports (gymnastics, field hockey and cheering) but she was definitely NOT a morning person.  So the first step was adjusting from the late nights and late mornings to early to bed, early to rise.  When she was younger, we started about 2 weeks before school started with moving bedtime up about a 1/2 hour every few days until the time school started, she was going to be at her required bedtime.  No it wasn’t easy and many days it was a fight BUT when the school year started it was a little bit easier.

Here are some tips to to help you send your kids back to school and make mornings a little less crazy at your house.  You can take a few pro-active steps to reduce the stress and chaos.

Prepare the Night Before

Generally anything you can do the night before will help to relieve stress in the morning. Kids should pack backpacks, make lunch, choose clothing and pick up after themselves. Mom can make sure all permission slips and forms are signed and all homework makes it back into the backpack, then set the table for breakfast (or at least think about what the kids will eat the next morning).  I know this sounds like a lot of work after a long day especially for the single mommas BUT it does help.  I know breakfast is the most important part of the day but it was not Belinda’s favorite meal and she hated eating in the morning.  The key was to have some grab and go things she could eat while getting ready or on the way to the bus stop.

Gather Your Gear

Having one central spot for everything is key.  It makes heading out the door a snap. Place backpacks, shoes, library books, lunch money, permission slips, etc. on and around an entry way table or in bins or baskets inside your entryway closet. No more searching for lost keys or forms you need to sign.  Ours was the counter in between the kitchen and the living room.  This way we could see everything on the way out either the front or the back door.

Create a Morning Routine for the Kids

Routines are the key to making your mornings run smoothly. It started with a routine for me.  Up early to get ready for work then get Belinda up.  Probably making a list of everything your kids need to do, creating a checklist they can mark as they accomplish each task would work for some but we weren’t list makers.  If you have kids who are too young to ready, use pictures.  If we had multiple kids, this would have been a definite to do.  A chart inside a plastic page protector so your child can use a dry erase marker then erase the marks each day. A great way to teach kids responsibility while ensuring you are not running around like a crazy women trying to get everything done in the morning.

Use Rewards

Use whatever your kid loves (watching TV, playing on the computer, playing video games) as a reward for when he gets ready ahead of schedule. In other words, no playtime until he’s done what he needs to.  

Get Ready First

This was always huge for me.  The fact I was a morning person made the difference.  It was easy for me to be up at 5AM to get what I wanted done before I woke up Belinda.  If you aren’t a morning person, you need at least a few minutes before the kids wake up to gather your thoughts and start your day well. Creating a routine for yourself is imperative for sane mornings.  Believe me the 10 minutes or so of quiet time to drink your coffee will make a big difference in the way your day goes.

What is your best tips for a sane morning when school starts?  Share your ideas with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

Too Busy to Work YOUR Business

The summer season is upon us and with it comes a problem (at least for me).   I struggle with how to continue to work from home when I am busy with life.  I know that sounds crazy, right?  I am getting pulled into different directions and find myself too busy to work my business like a business.  UGH!

Deb Bixler talks about this in a recent blog.  Vacation Veronica lingers on the sidelines wait to pounce or drag me off and away from my business.  I have been talking about this for awhile while I seek balance.  I had an AHA moment the other morning.  I made the decision to get up early (like I used to at 5AM) so that I could shower, do my devotions AND be ready to get to work by 8AM (actually before).  WOW!  It was amazing how much I got accomplished.  I even had a POWER HALF HOUR making pink bag calls to past customers.

What was the difference for me?  Being intentional about my business.  I made the decision that I would only spend time on things that would grow my business.  We all have the same amount of time in a day. So the key is to determine how to use it wisely.  I was in the moment – working my business.  When I got done, I spent several hours with hubby enjoying more moments.  I didn’t check my phone or respond to emails.  We talked.  We laughed.  We enjoyed each other by just being together.

I like Deb’s suggestion of having 3 columns: ASAP – SOON – Some Day!  With a constantly changing list, you can use your pockets of time for business and be effective. 10 minutes, hmmm…. what can I do in 10 minutes? Do it, and cross it off!

A written schedule sets a professional tone to your business.  I LOVE using a schedule, the biggest problem is that my hours at my part-time job are inconsistent.  I never know what it is until a week before and the range of work hours varies greatly.

Work a Business In “Power Hours” Or Blocks Of Time.  With a couple of solid power hours a week with predetermined work assignments you will keep a consistent activity level that is essential to a work at home business.  This is my goal over the next few weeks to get and keep my systems in place.

Busy People Use Big Impact Habits.  A big impact habit is one that is simple to do daily and so simple that you can do it forever. It could be something as simple as making 2 customer care calls every day – forever! While that does not seem like much, the impact will be huge!

Working your business when everything is pulling you in other directions is a commitment that you can make by incorporating a few systems that keep working even when you cannot!  Thank you Deb!  I am putting my systems in place so I can reach my goal for this Thirty One year.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!