Texas Living

Organization Hacks to Slay Back-to-School Mayhem

By Abi Grise Morgan 8.10.23

The start of the school year is a blur. It takes a conscious effort to switch gears and get into a family routine with work, school, sports, and activities. It’s enough to drive any parent crazy. Thankfully, effective organizational hacks can clear your mind to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. (Like, say, your sanity!)

Family Kitchen Calendar

Centralized calendars keep your family on track by helping coordinate drop-offs and pickups for school and extracurricular activities, assigning chores, managing homework and study time, and scheduling family outings. Color coding helps each family member follow their responsibilities and events.

The classic family calendar is a paper copy on the kitchen counter or whiteboard on the fridge. For a family with tweens and teens, a digital calendar (Google Calendar, for example) frees up physical space and allows for real-time updates on the go.

Bullet Journaling

Bullet journaling is a popular organizational hack created by Ryder Carroll that combines to-do lists, calendars, and notes into a customizable format that uses bullet points to represent tasks (•), events (○), and notes (-). Bullet journaling is usually done in a simple grid notebook, allowing you to create themed pages for the purposes of goal setting, gratitude lists, and habit tracking (we’ll get into that in a minute).

What sets bullet journaling apart from other to-do lists is the focus on staying motivated and living intentionally. (You are not beholden to bullet points; they are tools to get what you want out of life!) Learn more in Carroll’s book “The Bullet Journal Method.”

Habit Tracking

As the name implies, habit tracking is the act of recording your daily habits and behaviors for the sake of self-improvement. This organizational hack can help you become more aware of your bad habits (too many hours binging Netflix, for example) and focus on being more productive with your time. Most importantly, it can help you hold yourself accountable to reach long-term goals in short-term increments.

Habit-tracking journals are everywhere you look. There are beautifully designed notebooks from James Clear and Cloth & Paper and loads of apps for digital tracking, like Habitica. But, like bullet journaling, the old standard composition notebook will do the trick, too.


To reach your personal and familial goals, you must first believe they’re possible. Affirmations are positive statements you repeat to yourself regularly to consciously reinforce an optimistic outlook. The idea is the good ole “fake it till you make it.” If you repeat, “I’m killin’ it today!” or “Today is busy, but I can handle it!” you’re helping yourself cultivate the self-confidence you need to actually get things done. It sounds woo-woo, but it’s common sense. How you talk to yourself impacts your behavior. Being kind to yourself can do wonders for your motivation and resilience.

If back-to-school chaos is getting to you, take a mental health minute to take a breather and regain your focus.

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