Texas Living

Quality Time Management

By Jessica Jones 1.16.14

Trips to the supermarket. Helping with homework. Shuttling kids to baseball practice and ballet class. Today’s parents are busier than ever and time management is important. The best way to stay on top of all of our responsibilities while still carving out time for what’s important is to create a family schedule — and stick to it.

To get started, keep a record of all the commitments you and your family members have, as well as how long each activity usually takes. Assign tasks such as chores, pet care, homework, etc. to each family member. Set priorities and goals for your family, then use your schedule to achieve them. Do you want to make sure you have an hour of family time every day? Do you hope to get the entire week’s worth of cooking done on Sunday? Keep these in mind as you fill out your schedule.

Now, choose a method:

Paper – Use a spreadsheet program or find a printable template online (chartjungle.com  has a good selection). Divide each day into increments—hourly, half-hourly…whatever works for you. If you have young children, opt instead for a piece of poster board or dry-erase board so it’s easy to read and fun to decorate with bright colors or stickers. Assign family members their own color marker and fill in activities, being sure to make time for the activities that you’ve decided are important to your family.

Electronic – Utilize programs that can help you efficiently create, update, and stick to a schedule. Google Calendar  is one that allows you to track multiple schedules in a single calendar, which can then be shared with—and edited by—the members of your family, with updates appearing in real time. Not only can you access it from your smartphone, making it accessible wherever you are, you can also import other schedules, calendars, reminders, alerts, birthdays, and more. There are also a number of helpful schedule-planning apps for mobile devices. One family favorite is Cozi, available for free for iOS devices, which can help you manage school schedules, chores, grocery lists, and more in a color-coded, straightforward interface. Like Google Calendar, it can be accessed by multiple family members simultaneously via their smartphones.

Things to Remember:

  1. Don’t get discouraged if at first you don’t succeed. Experiment with different methods to find the one that works for your family.
  2. If you’ve allotted 15 minutes for an activity that consistently takes you 30, adjust your schedule. Flexibility is the key to building a schedule you will stick to.

If you find you have more hours allotted than there are in the day, prioritize your extracurriculars and nix the non-essentials. Or brainstorm ways to make your errand-running more efficient (e.g. cut down