Get More Done While Your Kids Are at School

Getting work done at home

The school bus pulls away and the challenge begins for stay-at-home Moms and Dads. How much work can you get done before the kids come home? It’s a daily contest. Before you know it, time’s up, that school bus is pulling up again.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to feel like a losing game. Here are a few essential tips for getting more done while your kids are at school:

Start Ahead of the Game

Your morning should run like clockwork, but it starts with preparation the night before. So, plan breakfast, make your kids’ lunches, pack their backpacks, and check their homework in the evening. That way you’re not starting the day with a scramble, and you’re not wasting your work-time in recovery mode.

Your morning time should be quality family time — it can set the tone for everyone’s day.

Planner Tip: Schedule a nightly school-prep routine and create a checklist for all that’s required for each child, each day. Include meals, permission slips, gym clothing and other specific activities.

Plan Over a Cup of Coffee

Don’t jump into your day without a plan. Start every morning with a 15 minute planning session where you create an action list and confirm your appointments.

Planner Tip: Make priorities. Divide your tasks into those that you “Must Do,” those that you “Want to Do,” and a few that you would like to do “If There’s Time.” Order them not only by importance but how they fit into your daily schedule as well. Also, plan your meals for the day – it gives you a chance to see if you’ll need to do any grocery shopping.

Organize Your Housecleaning

Always clean with a plan so that you don’t feel yourself randomly wandering into projects that monopolize your time. Group similar tasks together and you’ll be more productive. You’ll also spend less time gathering different cleaning supplies.

Planner Tip: Divide and conquer. Divide your household cleaning chores into categories and plan them for separate days or time periods. For example: Group 1: Bathrooms; Group 2: Kitchen; Group 3: Bedrooms/hallways; Group 4: family room/dining room; and Group 5: closet/entryway.

Schedule Your Errands First

The morning hours between 9-12 a.m. offer a solid stretch of uninterrupted time. Run your errands during this period because you are less likely to run into crowds at the grocery store and traffic on the way home. It will ensure that you’re not rushing to get back in time to meet the school bus.

Planner tip: Before you leave, be sure to prep a list of what you need and where you are going, — and don’t forget to throw in a load of laundry before you leave.

Take a Break Before the Kids Come Home

Maintaining balance is a core component of life. Schedule some “me” time in the two o’clock hour before the kids come home. Give yourself time to recharge and prepare for the next phase of your active day.

Planner Tip: Ensure that you make quality time with yourself. Create a list of meaningful downtime activities in your planner. It might include hobbies, reading, phone calls to family and friends, and exercise time.

Have you set your resolutions yet for 2011? See our free guide for actually getting your goals accomplished this year.

[photo by stevendepolo]
Jeff Doubek Day-Timer Spokesperson Jeff Doubek can be reached at