Family life is as rewarding as it gets. However, those rewards require a lot of hard work. Parents have to balance work schedules with children’s schooling, extracurricular activities, household chores, and more. From dawn until dusk it seems like every day is full to the brim with activities and responsibilities involving every member of the family.
Trying to make your schedule feel flexible might seem impossible, but there are some ways to loosen it up a little. Here are five tips your family can put to the test to make it so the family calendar doesn’t seem so suffocating:
1. Try Telehealth
Taking a child to the doctor can be an endeavor that lasts the entire day. You may have to excuse them from school, drive them to and from the office, and comfort them if they’re feeling sick. So much time can be saved if you opt for telehealth instead of a traditional doctor’s visit.
There are some cases where you’ll have to see a doctor in person, such as getting tested for certain illnesses. However, many medical consultations can be carried out through a video conference call with an online doctor. Checking on symptoms, refilling prescriptions, and asking simple questions can easily take place over a quick video call.
Doctor’s visits aren’t the only errand that you can cut time on using technology. Some other alternative solutions to your day can include:
- Grocery store pick-up and delivery
- Online banking
- Home workouts
- Virtual tutoring
Even just eliminating extra driving time can do a lot to open up your schedule. Instead of running to the bank, cash a check using a mobile app and use that time to finish cleaning the dishes.
2. Keep a Family Calendar
The better you can manage your family’s time, the more flexibility you can create in everyone’s schedule. Schedules can feel rigid when they’re not well planned out. Any wiggle room you might have had gets swallowed up by overlapping commitments, late starts, and a lack of reminders keeping you on your game. A family calendar will solve these problems and help you get a grip on your time each day.
Every week you can hold a family meeting. Talk about all of the events that are coming up and add them to the family calendar. Each member of the family can access a shared online calendar by adding their email address. You’ll be able to see everyone’s individual commitments and plan around them much more effectively.
Online calendars also have neat features such as color-coding options. Designating a different color to each family member makes it easier to set events apart for each person and identify potentially problematic overlaps.
3. Learn To Say No
You don’t have to accept every event invitation or join every sports club. While all of these activities might seem enjoyable individually, collectively they can be stressful and exhausting. It’s good to feel productive but not overwhelmed by everything on your plate.
Does one of your kids want to play soccer, baseball, and try out for the wrestling team? Try tackling them one at a time. Too much physical activity can make your child prone to injury or wear them down so much that they can’t focus in a classroom or at the dinner table. Having one sport to look forward to every couple of months will make the experience more unique and worthwhile.
Parents have plenty of decisions to make for themselves as well. If picking up an additional shift at work means you’re unable to drive your daughter to her piano lessons, you might have to reconsider. Knowing what to cut out of your schedule allows you to get everything you need to do completed while having the flexibility to decide what additional activities to include.
4. Team Up With Other Families
Other families are likely facing the same struggles as you; that is, the struggle to make time for everything without getting overwhelmed. Neighbors and community members can help each other by sharing certain responsibilities to save time for everybody.
Carpooling is a classic example of different families working together to free up weekly schedules. If your kids’ friends need to go to the same sports practice or after-school activity you can arrange for one family to take them there and another to pick them up. This reduces the driving time for both parents by half, giving them more flexible schedules for the day.
Families can take turns volunteering for school events, bringing meals to community potlucks, or directing the music in church. Any task that you can take on with another person, no matter how small, can save you a great deal of time and provide a lot of additional flexibility.
5. Learn to Be More Efficient
Everyone has room to improve. For many, it’s learning how to be more efficient when tackling certain tasks. Being able to complete tasks more quickly means they don’t have to bog down your schedule.
Let’s say you’re a stay-at-home parent with a checklist of errands and chores that you want to complete before your kids are done with school for the day. It’s easy to take your time cleaning the house, stopping frequently to scroll through social media or watch a TV show. If this is your approach, you’ll find that flexibility in your schedule will be a lot harder to come by.
If instead you worked on cleaning more efficiently, such as scrubbing the bathtub during your morning shower, you’ll be able to complete your checklist in less time. Now it will be much easier to grab lunch with friends, work on your latest painting, or make an emergency trip to the DMV without feeling like you’ve fallen behind.
Some days will end up being rigid from start to finish. However, by changing your approach on life and time management you will be able to find the flexibility you need to get everything done, while still having time left to spare and potentially relax.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay