How to organize your free time with your family

This article was co-authored by Sydney Axelrod. Sydney Axelrod is a certified life coach and the owner of Sydney Axelrod LLC, a life coaching business focused on professional and personal development. Through one-on-one coaching, digital courses, and group workshops, Sydney works with clients to discover their purpose, navigate life transitions, and set and accomplish goals. Sydney has over 1,000 hours of relevant coaching certifications and holds a BBA in Marketing and Finance from Emory University.

There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Between working, cleaning, school, and sleeping, it can be hard to clear you schedule for fun family activities. Sometimes it can seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day to have fun with your children. Therefore, it’s important to eliminate the unnecessary time wasters in your life to increase your free time. You can also include your children in your daily chores by making them into games. If you examine your schedule carefully, you’ll find that you, too, can create free time from chaos.

How to organize your free time with your family

How to organize your free time with your family

Sydney Axelrod
Certified Life Coach Expert Interview. 30 June 2020.

  • Try asking your significant other and kids, “What things do you think occupy the majority of your free time? What are your biggest time wasters?” Then, write down what everyone says.
  • After you have a list of everyone’s time sinks, work together to find ways to reduce or eliminate time sinks. For example, if your significant other says that they spend a lot of time organizing the family room at the end of the night, then you might suggest that organizing the family room become a family activity. This will cut down on the time it takes your significant other to organize the room and it might be a good opportunity for your family to work together as a team.
  • Also, keep in mind that everyone needs some alone time to relax. While you might see your teenage son’s after-school television time as a time waster, he might view this as an important part of his daily winding down routine.

How to organize your free time with your family

Sydney Axelrod
Certified Life Coach Expert Interview. 30 June 2020.

  • Try to aim for about an hour of family time on weeknights and a little more time on the weekend.
  • Have your children help choose the activities you’ll do. This will help keep them interested.
  • Avoid scheduling too many taxing family activities in a row. For example, if you go to the zoo on a Saturday afternoon, have a relaxing movie night on Tuesday evening.

How to organize your free time with your family

How to organize your free time with your family

Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP, is a board-certified pediatric psychologist, parent coach, author, speaker, and owner of A New Day Pediatric Psychology, PLLC.

How to organize your free time with your family

A daily schedule benefits both younger and older children by providing a structured environment. While it’s unlikely that you’ll follow the same schedule every day, year in and year out, having a weekday schedule for the school year can make a positive difference for your kids and family life.

If you spend any time in a kindergarten classroom or elementary school, you will likely marvel at the teacher’s ability to organize the children’s day. For elementary school students, providing a reliable structure is a critical part of developing a sense of security and mastery.

In older children, attachment looks different than it does in younger kids, with shared communication and objectives replacing some of the physical closeness that typifies attachment in the early years. But the schedule fulfills the same purpose for older kids, providing a sense of security and predictability while supporting independence.

The daily schedule communicates the family’s shared goals and allows children to contribute and achieve a sense of accomplishment. Each time they follow the schedule, your child has a small experience of mastery of their environment, and these moments add up and build upon each other.

How to Create a Daily Family Schedule

While every family’s schedule will look a little different, the basic process of creating it is standard. Use this plan to get started, then personalize it to meet your needs. Include every part of the day from waking up to bedtime routines. Follow these simple steps to create a consistent daily plan for your family.

Analyze Your Day

Do a simple, but comprehensive time study for each task or activity that needs to happen for each person in your family. The easiest way to do this is to create a daily calendar, either on paper or digitally. Note what each family member is doing at each time of the day. Look for any challenging times. Think about how the schedule can be structured to eliminate problems related to behavior, stress, fatigue, hunger, and disorganization.

Brainstorm What You Want

Think about your ultimate goals. You may be hoping for less confusion in the morning, homework completed by dinner, children in bed by a certain hour, family playtime, relaxation, and/or a clean house.

This is the time to think about what you want in your family life. Focus on a balance of activity and rest for your family. Take an honest look at both parents’ and children’s needs and priorities. Weigh doing the activities everyone wants to do with not being overscheduled.

Write It Down

Get a poster board and a marker or a whiteboard and write down your schedule for all to see. Post it in the kitchen. Tell the kids that you will now be following it. You may want to have a family meeting to introduce the schedule and go over it in detail.

Refer back to the poster often. You may get some opposition, particularly if there are any big changes, such as an earlier bedtime or less screen time. However, it’s key for parents to stand firm and provide consistency. Make sure that any caregivers who come into your home are also following the schedule (ideally, involve them as you create it, as they may have insights on when and where things are going smoothly—and vice versa).

Follow the Schedule for a Week

Aim to give your schedule a solid try to see how it’s working before starting to adjust it. Check the schedule often, and let it guide your days for at least one week.

Instruct the children to check the schedule and follow it. If you must remind them, do so. However, your goal is for the children to learn to take responsibility for their part of the schedule, as much as possible based on their age and readiness.

Giving it time and consistently following the schedule will help it to become habit for both adults and kids.

Tweak the Schedule

After the first week, take a look at what is working and what isn’t. Consider how the schedule needs to change to address any issues you notice. Make changes in the schedule, and write it on a new poster. Continue to follow your daily family schedule until it is second nature. In a few weeks, you’ll likely marvel at how this simple tool has changed your family life for the better.

Of course, there will be times when the schedule simply won’t work. Emergencies, illness, special events, traffic, and even weather can put a monkey wrench into the best-laid plans. But even if you get home late or need to buy take-out instead of cooking dinner together, try to regroup promptly.

Do your best to jump back into the schedule as soon as is feasible. In other words, a traffic jam or getting sidetracked at the grocery store doesn’t need to stop your family from getting to bed on time.

A Word From Verywell

Creating a family schedule is a great way to organize and streamline your family life. Routines offer consistency, comfort, and predictability for children—and a helpful framework for parents and caregivers to follow. Aim for a schedule that helps your life run more smoothly, and that you can adapt over time as your needs change.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure and privacy policy for more information. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Do you ever find yourself feeling completely frazzled about your family’s activities in a given week? With our large family lifestyle, I have found that keeping up with everyone’s activities can be hard on me. I’ve been known to show up for a doctor’s appointment at the wrong time! I decided to design this cute weekly family schedule printable to help keep me organized, and to let everyone in the family know what is going on during our week!

How to organize your free time with your family

Weekly Schedule Template

I designed this weekly schedule template for you to fill in the activities of six people. This is a great way to keep track visually of everything going on in your family so that you don’t forget important events and appointments! If you have less than six people in your family, you could use a block to write down your menu plans.

Place this schedule on your refrigerator (laminate it for repeated use with a wet erase marker!), a bulletin board, or in a glass frame in a prominent place!

How To Simplify Your Weekly Schedule

You know I’m all about simplification! If writing down your family’s weekly schedule leaves you scratching your head, I have a few tips for you!

Schedule appointments and errands for one day during the week. If you keep your appointments to one day a week, you won’t go bonkers having to plan several outings per week.

Evaluate your children’s extracurricular activities. How many per week are you going to? Does your child truly love the activities? Could you cut back in this area?

Plan family dinners. We like to have dinner together as a family every night. I know that’s not always possible in every family, but I would highly recommend at least one family dinner per week. More if you’re able. The Life Giving Table by Sally Clarkson is a wonderful book for inspiration on this topic.

If you need even more inspiration, I’ve written How To Live Simply When Life is Anything But Simple for more tips on reducing stress in our busy lives.

How to organize your free time with your family

Want even more blank printable charts?

I’ve designed several different printable calendars and planning pages. Most of them are free and they all coordinate with our cute and colorful theme.

How to organize your free time with your family

And if you want to get your home organized, our Clean and Organized Home Binder is the perfect solution!

daily routine during home quarantine

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The idea of spending weeks in home quarantine can discourage and scare you. However, you can do a lot in the current circumstances to make the time spent together not only tolerable but enjoyable for you and all your family members. This can be an unforgettable time spent with your children that you will fondly remember.

What you need right now is a daily routine – a schedule – that will keep your feet firmly on the ground.

It might require a little more effort at first, but don’t give up – you will be able to maintain a daily routine together with your family relatively quickly.

In normal circumstances, daily schedules are organized around school, work, sports, different groups we are active in, community events. But, until that happens again, here are some tips on how to achieve a stable routine in home quarantine:

  • Get up at the same time, go to bed at the appropriate time
  • Do not set goals that are too ambitious
  • Take some time to plan the schedule. This may seem like a strenuous activity, but it will actually make it easier for you to organize your daily life
  • Help your children establish a routine as well, as it provides them with a sense of security and predictability, which are of great importance for the child’s development.
  • Plan family activities together with children (talk and make arrangements with your teenagers, and make a schedule with younger children and put it in a visible place; explain the schedule and make sure they understand your expectations so that children would accept it)
  • Stick to your usual work/study times
  • Find some space where you can work if you are working from home – make it your “office – place for work”, and the same applies to your child if they go to school or university.
  • Eat at certain times, as you are used to
  • If you have younger children, schedule your activities into several shorter units instead of big blocks (think about activities packed into 30-minute blocks)
  • Tailor the schedule to your child – you know best what your child likes and needs. You know how long they can do a certain activity. Combine joint activities with activities the child will do on their own
  • Limit children’s use of digital devices (mobile phones, tablets, computers). Use them wisely as tools, e.g. let children use them only for a certain amount of time or save them for times when they are really needed (when you have an important meeting or business conversation or when you are simply exhausted – rely on the help of digital devices then)
  • If your child does not sleep during the day, put “time to rest” in the afternoon section of the joint schedule
  • It is important for you as a parent to get some rest – you worked during the day and you need to sit down (determine the length of “respite” that suits you)
    • During this time, your children can play, read in silence, or do their homework. You know your child, so you can pick an activity they enjoy (suggest quiet activities such as jigsaw puzzles, blocks, writing a diary). This can be difficult at first, but you can work on it every day, increasing the number of minutes every day. Children, just like parents, need some time to relax. If this is important for you, set this as a priority and set clear boundaries
    • What should you do in the respite time? Nothing. Enjoy yourself. Rest. Parenting at home without a break, without silence, while responding to your child’s needs all the time can be extremely tiring, especially with young children. It’s okay to take time for yourself and get some rest. Don’t worry about the mess around you – cleaning the house can wait.
  • Involve children in housekeeping activities, in line with their age and abilities. The activities you do together are important for children to develop a sense of community and the feeling of being needed
  • This is the perfect opportunity to introduce a joint book-reading routine – all household members spend time together with everyone reading their own book
  • Watching a film together can be a joint activity at the end of the day
  • Be flexible – don’t always stick to the schedule blindly, go with the flow sometimes. If children are having a nice time playing, don’t interrupt them just because the schedule says it’s snack time
  • This is a great time for your child to master the skill of playing on their own if they haven’t already. Start by motivating them or suggesting: “Look, you can throw a party for your dinosaurs!”
  • Limit the use of mobile phones because they can be a distraction. Lead by example – you also shouldn’t spend time on your mobile phone.

These are extraordinary circumstances. You don’t have to be perfect. Just do your best. This is not forever and will end at one point, and life will go back to normal.

This may contain affiliate links. You can read our disclaimer here.

In The Event Of My Death Printables For Your Loved Ones To Be Prepared Just In Case Something Happens.

How to organize your free time with your family

One thing we can all guarantee is death.

We know we will all die one day, but it is one of those things we don’t like to think about.

In trying not to think about it, we don’t even talk about it with our loved ones.

Would they even know what to do?

In the last two weeks, I have lost two family members.

Both were unexpected deaths, so therefore they were not planned for.

Their deaths left their immediate family with not only grief but confusion about what to do.

That really got me thinking that in the case of my death, would my affairs be organized for my family?

Just In Case Something Happens

I decided to get more organized just in case something happens.

I made some “getting my affairs together” worksheets to print and fill out.

Even if you have a will, (which is something that I need to take care of) your family needs to have organized information in the event of your death.

You don’t want them hunting around not knowing how to take care of things.

That is exactly why I knew I needed to get my life organized in case something happened to me.

When it comes to my family’s medical and financial information, I take care of all of that.

I pay the bills. I stay on top of our children’s doctor’s appointments and any medications our family may need.

In the event of my death, my husband would be lost in figuring out how to tie up loose ends while also dealing with grief.

I don’t want my family to go through that.

So I decided to make an “In The Event Of My Death” Printable Organizer.

I have printed it off and filled it out, it is now with the rest of my important documents in a fire-proof safe.

How to organize your free time with your family

A few of the printables are included in this organized bundle to get your affairs in order. Click the image to access the Resource Library.

In The Event Of My Death Printables

If someone had to suddenly pick up where you left off, this printable organizer should help with getting your affairs in order.

This organizer will help you organize all of your online accounts, important documents, medical records, and more.

How Do You Organize Information In Case Of Death?

Organize Online Accounts

With everything being at our fingertips, many of us have opted out of paper statements and have gone fully digital.

We use many online accounts, from banking to paying our bills.

So we must organize online accounts, so our loved ones won’t be faced with trying to figure it all out.

In the event of your death, your loved ones should know how to access all of your accounts, so they can either take over the payments or close them out.

Also, make sure to list any accounts that have reoccurring payments, so they can be taken care of as soon as possible.

Organize Passwords

I personally have a lot of online accounts.

I do not save my passwords to my computers, tablets, or even my phone because I worry about hackers.

However, I do have them all written down.

In this organizer, there is a password list for you to write down all the passwords that you have.

This just makes it easier for loved ones to have access to anything online that they may need to log in to.

Passwords that may be needed after death:

  • computer
  • tablets
  • phone
  • social media
  • websites
  • any other online account

Organize Important Documents

Maybe you keep all of your important documents in one place like in a file cabinet or fire-proof document safe, but just in case you don’t, your loved ones will need to know where to find them.

Important Documents That Need To Be Organized In The Event Of Your Death:

  • life insurance policies
  • birth certificates
  • social security cards
  • marriage certificates
  • vaccination records
  • tax returns
  • passports

These are all important documents that your loved ones will need access to if something happens to you.

Organize Medical Records

If something happened to me, I know my husband would be lost when it came to our children’s medical and vaccination records.

It is because as a Mom, I just take care of all of that.

I am the one who keeps a contact list of the pediatrician, the dentist, the optometrist, teachers, coaches, and other important people involved in my children’s lives.

So in the case of my death, there is now a printable that has all this important information listed. I printed out one for each child.

Also, I printed out one for our dog, so all of her medical information is together as well.

Organizing your family’s medical history is vitally important, I keep all of our medical records organized in this medical planner.

Final Wishes Covered

Make sure you have your final wishes covered.

The last thing you want your family to go through in the event of your death is not knowing what your final wishes are.

It will help them during the grieving process to know they are doing exactly what you wanted.

Get Your Affairs In Order In The Event Of Death

I know that death is something we don’t like to talk about, but we all know that one day it will happen.

In the event of my death, I want my family to be able to take care of things and I want to remove any burden I can from their grief.

If you want more in-depth details of all the documents you need to organize and exactly how to use my FREE death planner, then you should watch my FREE video which is included in the 2021 Get Organized Summit.

I am giving away these “In The Event Of My Death” printables for FREE to my readers.

If you are already one of my subscribed readers, you will find this in the FREE Resource Library.

If you have not subscribed and want these free printables, you can sign up here and you will be emailed the password to the Resource Library.

What steps have you taken for your loved ones to pick up where you left off? Let me know in the comments.

K ids with ADHD and other learning difficulties typically have trouble getting organized, managing their time and making the transition to living independently. They need specific training on how to manage those skills, which are crucial for college and beyond.

But, to varying degrees, nearly all young people have trouble with these issues.

As a specialist on prepping kids with learning disabilities for college, I often hear from parents that the strategies I teach really apply to all students.

So here are eight things all parents can do (or stop doing) to help their kids manage their time better, get organized and live without mom and dad doing everything.

Establish household routines. Choose a day of the week for household tasks like doing laundry, paying bills, and cleaning, and get your kids involved! If she knows that the clothes get washed on Thursday, your fashion plate can plan her ensembles accordingly. Engage your kids in setting the routine (it helps build their planning skills) and encourage them to follow yours or make their own when they get to college to keep chores manageable and stress low.

Help them learn how to use “free” time. Time management involves important skills -including planning, prioritizing and time estimation – which are crucial at college, where students’ only obligation is to be in class 12-15 hours a week. It’s counterintuitive, but having so much free time actually makes it hard for college students to use time well.

Have your kids create their own schedule for studying, chores and activities and try following it for a week. Then sit down together and review their results, being sure to discuss whether they over- or under-estimated how much time they needed for tasks (they need awareness of their time estimation abilities).

Adjust the schedule according to what they report, and try the new schedule for a week, with a check-in at the end. Do this each week until they have a schedule that works, then have them stick to it. If time management is a weakness for you, make your own schedule and, at those weekly sit-downs, let the kids help you evaluate how well you did.

Help them set interim deadlines for long-term papers or projects. Do you have that kid who constantly has to do an all-nighter because he started today on a paper due tomorrow, even though it was assigned three weeks ago? You’re not alone.

When your student is assigned a paper or project, sit down together and get the due date on the calendar. Then count backwards from the due date and pick a mid-point between now and the due date; this is the date for the rough draft to be completed. Then count a few days back from that point to pick a date to start any research that needs to be done, and a date to start the rough draft.

Does he want teacher feedback on the rough draft? Schedule that, too.

Teach them to use a wall calendar and an electronic calendar. Speaking of long-term projects and time management, the wall calendar is crucial for keeping upcoming deadlines visible so that they don’t pass unnoticed (and for counting days until they arrive – mark off days of the month as they pass).

The electronic calendar allows them to make appointments when they are out and about. Pick two or three nights a week to “synch” these by copying dates from one to the other, and vice versa (make this part of that routine you’re going to establish). You can enter weekly chores in there, too, to keep those from being forgotten.

Don’t wake them up for school….and don’t call them in late or drive them to school if they miss the bus. There are some interesting alarm clocks on the market that can move across the room, out of the reach of snooze button abusers. No one in the dorm is going to do this for your kids, and no matter what their friends currently at college tell them, professors know who makes it to class and who doesn’t. And they do care.

Put them in charge of adult functions. By senior year of high school, kids should be making their own appointments, arranging transportation, completing forms at to the doctor’s office, and so on, so that they are aware of the steps involved. They will be doing these things on their own at college, so make sure they are comfortable doing them before they leave.

Don’t run interference for your kids. At many colleges, professors don’t take phone calls from parents, so help your kids develop their adult communication skills. If your kids have a problem with a teacher or a coach, teach them the right way to deal with authority figures. You can help them to compose an email, or practice what they want to say if they are going to speak directly to someone.

Cut tutoring unless you’re using it exclusively to help students with a difficult subject. If you kid is really struggling with a particular class, some tutoring is appropriate to help her understand the content. But some well-intentioned parents have their kids tutored every day to help them earn the highest grades possible in service of getting into the most-selective schools.

This leaves kids no need to structure their own study time or decide what to focus on—skills they’ll need at college. It also leaves them with no sense of what they can do without so much assistance, which at college may be limited to one tutoring session a week by another undergraduate. Make sure the tutor teaches your kids strategies they can use on their own, and then cut the tutoring.

And most importantly, kids know when they are getting too much help, which may indicate to them that you don’t think that they “measure up” to your expectations, which can erode their self-confidence about their own abilities.

Remember—the more you give kids to do, the more they can do. The less you give them to do, the less than can do. More importantly, by having students hone their skills while they’re still at home, you’ll allow them to develop their confidence in their ability to cope at college and beyond.

Trello is an awesome project management tool that makes collaboration easy and, dare I say, even fun . But this visual list tool can do so much more, whether you’re organizing work projects, family chores, travel plans, or just about anything else. Here are some ways to put Trello to use for managing your entire life.

Trello Makes Project Collaboration Simple and Kind of Enjoyable

Just-launched webapp Trello is a simple yet powerful project management tool. We know, “project…

How Trello Works (and Why It’s Awesome)

A Trello board is basically a web page containing lists laid out horizontally on the page so you can get a bird’s eye view of your project. Items within the lists, called cards, can be dragged and dropped onto other lists or reordered within lists.

Individual cards themselves can contain checklists, images, attachments, deadline dates, colored labels, and discussion notes from others who share the board. You can have as many boards as you want—one for “House Stuff,” for example, one for “World Domination,” and so on.

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You can probably see how this comes in handy. Trello cards are like sticky notes you arrange on a cork board—that is, digital sticky notes that are searchable, shareable, and come with reminders. You can also create cards via email .

Trello works for me because I tend to think very visually, and images and colored labels register with my brain better than plain text. While I’m a big fan of Evernote for managing tons of information, in the past I found myself turning back to individual lists scrawled on paper and even index cards spread out everywhere to get that top-level overview of my days. Trello was a big upgrade; it’s one of those few apps that actually balances both a simple, elegant user interface and powerful, flexible features.

What’s All the Fuss About Evernote? Should I Be Using It?

Dear Lifehacker, It seems like everyone is always raving about Evernote, but I don’t really…

But enough praising. Let me show you how I and other Trello users are getting stuff done with a few example boards.

Use Trello to Manage Projects and Tasks

Perhaps the most obvious and popular way to use Trello is as a projects and tasks manager, both for personal to-dos and team projects.

Implement GTD in Trello

The Getting Things Done (GTD) productivity system fits perfectly on this platform . You could have separate boards for each of your main lists (e.g., a NextActions board with lists for each context, such as @calls, and a Someday/Maybe board with lists for each category) or, as I’m using it (screenshot above), one big tasks board with the appropriate lists.

For example, my board includes:

  • Big Picture/Projects: I like to keep tabs on which projects I’m juggling, so I create a card for each one on this list, as well as choose a color for each project (so when I see a related task in one of the other lists, I know it’s part of a bigger project). I also add a card describing each colored label, because sometimes I don’t remember whether blue meant personal or green means work or whatnot.
  • Inbox: Do a brain dump and create cards for each task, then drag them onto the other lists to prioritize and organize them. You can also add due dates, a detailed description, and attach files.
  • NextActions: Basically, the next things to do
  • Waiting: Delegated tasks or tasks on hold
  • Someday/Maybe: Tasks I want to do. someday
  • Done: Once tasks are complete, drag the cards here so you can see your progress. Or just archive the card to take it off your board altogether (they’ll still be searchable in Trello)

Any other lists and labels system can work too, such as using one list for “This Week” and another list for “Next Month” or labeling tasks by your “ big rocks ,” as Stephen Covey called them (things like family, learning, health, and so on).

Plan Your Weeks with Daily Lists

You can also use Trello as a weekly planner, with lists for each day of the week. For example, in addition to my tasks board, I have a weekly posts board where I can plan out which articles and posts I need to work on for each day the next week. The colored labels relate to each client as well as each kind of writing task (e.g., the main writing focus of the day, researching, or editing).

You can build an even more advanced editorial calendar with Trello or use the weekly planner for non-writing needs: to map out next week’s meals, chores, exercise routines, homework assignments, and everything else you might list by day.

If you enable the Calendar power-up (under the sidebar menu > Power-Ups), you can even see all your cards that have due dates attached to them in a monthly or weekly calendar view and use the iCalendar URL (under Power-Ups > Calendar > Settings) to sync your cards to your external calendar.

Create Recurring Tasks and Log Completed Tasks

If you have repeating tasks and don’t want to keep adding the same cards over and over again, connect Trello to webapp-automation service Zapier and use this recipe to schedule cards for every day, week, and month.

Or you can link Trello, Zapier, and RescueTime to automatically track your time and log all your completed tasks , as RescueTime’s step-by-step directions will show you how to do. Cool, right?

Integrate the Kanban Method to Manage Team Projects

Kanban is a system that organizes workflow visually, often with cards organized into columns (such as “To Do,” “Doing,” and “Done”) on a board. As you can see, Trello gets its inspiration from the Kanban board and is perfect for this way of managing projects. Agile software teams in particular seem to have taken to Trello to prioritize tasks and get a handle on all phases of a project , as well as to record meeting notes and share resources.

Even if you don’t use “sprints” in your projects, you can copy this sample Agile board to your Trello account and adjust the lists (which include Next-up, Questions, Room for improvement, and Awesome Things lists) as you wish for your work projects.

(By the way, the free version of Trello lets you change the background color, but to get fancy photo background support like you see in the screenshot above, you’d need Trello Gold, which is $5 a month or $45 a year.)

Use Trello for Personal and Family Organization

In addition to your to-dos, you can create all kinds of lists in the tool, with the cards being any sort of text. Here are a few examples.

Power up and be more productive

How to organize your free time with your family

How to organize your free time with your family

How to organize your free time with your family

The Balance / Theresa Chiechi

Do you feel the need to be more organized and/or more productive? Do you spend your day in a frenzy of activity and then wonder why you haven’t accomplished much? Then these time management tips are for you — they’ll help you increase your productivity and stay cool and collected.

1. Realize That Time Management Is a Myth

This is the first thing you have to understand about time management, that no matter how organized we are, there are always only 24 hours in a day. Time doesn’t change. All we can actually manage is ourselves and what we do with the time that we have. Appreciate this. Internalize it. And move on as soon as possible to the next tip.

2. Find out Where You’re Wasting Time

Many of us are prey to time-wasters that steal time we could be using much more productively. What are your time bandits? Do you spend too much time Internet surfing, reading email, Facebook posting, texting, or making personal calls?

In a survey by, 89 percent of respondents admitted to wasting time every day at work:

  • 31 percent waste roughly 30 minutes daily
  • 31 percent waste roughly one hour daily
  • 16 percent waste roughly two hours daily
  • 6 percent waste roughly three hours daily
  • 2 percent waste roughly four hours daily
  • 2 percent waste five or more hours daily

Are you a time-waster? Tracking daily activities helps to form an accurate picture of how much time you spend on various activities, which is the first step to effective time management.

3. Create Time Management Goals

Remember, the focus of time management is actually changing your behaviors, not changing time. A good place to start is by eliminating your personal time-wasters. For one week, for example, set a goal that you’re not going to take personal phone calls or respond to non-work related text messages while you’re working.

4. Implement a Time Management Plan

Think of this as an extension of the third time management tip. The objective is to change your behaviors over time to achieve whatever general goal you’ve set for yourself, such as increasing your productivity or decreasing your stress. So you need to not only set your specific goals but track them over time to see whether or not you’re accomplishing them.

5. Use Time Management Tools

Whether it’s a planner, a software program, or a phone app, the first step to physically managing your time is to know where it’s going now and planning how you’re going to spend your time in the future. A software program such as Outlook, for instance, lets you schedule events easily and can be set to remind you of events in advance, making your time management easier.

6. Prioritize Ruthlessly

You should start each day with a session prioritizing the tasks for that day and setting your performance benchmark. If you have 20 tasks for a given day, how many of them do you truly need to accomplish?

7. Learn to Delegate And/Or Outsource

Delegation is one of the hardest things to learn how to do for many business owners, but no matter how small your business is, there’s no need for you to be a one-person show — you need to let other people carry some of the load. Delegation shares the tasks you’d be better off leaving to someone else, so you can make the most of the time that you have.

8. Establish Routines and Stick to Them as Much as Possible

While crises will arise, you’ll be much more productive if you can follow routines most of the time. For most people, creating and following a routine lets them get right down to the tasks of the day rather than frittering away time getting started.

9. Get in the Habit of Setting Time Limits for Tasks

For instance, reading and answering email can consume your whole day if you let it. Instead, set a limit of one hour a day for this task and stick to it. (The easiest way to do this is to assign a solid block of time to this task rather than answering email on demand.)

10. Be Sure Your Systems Are Organized

Are you wasting a lot of time looking for files on your computer? Take the time to organize a file management system. Is your filing system slowing you down? Redo it, so it’s organized to the point that you can quickly lay your hands on what you need.

11. Don’t Waste Time Waiting

From client meetings to dentist appointments, it’s impossible to avoid waiting for someone or something. But you don’t need to just sit there and twiddle your thumbs. Technology makes it easy to work wherever you are; your tablet or smartphone will help you stay connected. You can be reading a report, checking a spreadsheet, or planning your next marketing campaign.

A Bonus Tip: Your Time Belongs to You

And here’s the most important time management tip of all. You can be in control and accomplish what you want to accomplish — once you’ve come to grips with the time management myth and taken control of your time.

26 December, 2018 |

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How to organize your free time with your family

Free Printables Get Organized : Need help getting organized this year? Here are 25 awesome free printables organizing your life the whole year through.

I love all tools for organizing everything. From fun storage containers to sticky notes, I love daily planners, calendars, and making lists to get things done. That’s why printable organizational tools are fabulous. There are labels to help us clear the clutter and daily checklists to keep us sane.

This year, let’s get organized. Over the next few weeks, let’s roll up our sleeves and get busy around the house doing whatever it takes to make our home a happy place we all want to gather. I think these printables to organize your life are great tools to get us started. They’ll help kickstart us in the right direction to form habits of keeping things tidy and organized in our homes.

So I’ve rounded up 25 of the best free printables organizing everything and, even things you may have forgotten. There are lots of them, so I have divided them by household needs. Simply scroll down to find the ones that best suit your needs right now.

Here are free printable to organize everything. It’s a list of downloadable printables to organize your money, house cleaning, cooking, and everything else.

Labels for Everything

Who doesn’t love labels? They’re great for clutter control. By adding labels to your storage bins, it’s easy to keep your shelves and closets nicely organized. Labels are helpful reminders that every item in our home should have its own designated space.

How to organize your free time with your family

How to organize your free time with your family

How to organize your free time with your family

How to organize your free time with your family

It’s not about how much time you have. It’s about how effectively you manage your time. – R.L. Adams

One of the most effective skills you can have in life is powerful and effective time management.

If there’s one thing I have learned over the years, it’s the importance of paying attention to how you use the precious time you have.

As busy parents and entrepreneurs, finding work-life balance is always challenging, but the truth is, it doesn’t need to be overwhelming.

I can tell you as a work-at-home mom that it CAN be done. Even the busiest mom can carve out pockets of breathing room within the day – with the right system in place.

Managing your time is not just good practice, but it is also good for productivity and organization. Follow a time management system that will help you get things done in order to achieve success with your goals. By managing your time properly and efficiently, you can create an organized life!

Here are some simple strategies to help you manage your time:

1. Get Up Early

Take a good look at your morning routine. What time do you usually start your day? How do you spend the first hour (or two)?

There are plenty of examples of how the most successful people are early risers and have a morning routine in place. Morning routines often include:

  • Meditation
  • Visualization
  • Exercise
  • Reading/Learning
  • Healthy Eating
  • Planning/Prioritizing
  • Establish a regular morning routine to ensure that you start your days successfully. This is extremely important, as this will set the tone and pace of your entire day.

If you want to keep track of your exercise routine, here is a running routine chart that you can use. Want all of the organizing printables? Subscribe for instant access to the vault.

2. Create a To-Do List

Creating a to-do list should be a regular habit undertaken daily.

To help you feel like a superhero and finally cross every item off your list, I recommend you select three goals for each day to ensure that you can complete them. Don’t forget to prioritize the items on the list and review them throughout the day. I like to tackle the most important tasks first, particularly the ones that would take up the most time.

When you work from the hardest task to the simplest, you can actually free up more time later in the day. Also, checking off items as they are completed will give you a sense of accomplishment and motivation.

3. Use Sticky Notes

Some of us use our phones to remind us of our tasks. But you may miss an important reminder if your phone dies or accidentally hits the snooze button!

With Sticky Notes, on the other hand, you can be sure that you don’t miss a task on your to-do list.

Sticky Notes are ideal for displaying reminders of tasks, motivational quotes, and visualizations. They now come in various colors, sizes, and designs, so it should be a fun and interesting way to get things done!

For example, if you’ve got a pile of letters that need to be mailed and that’s an item on your to-do list, why not put a sticky note on top of the pile with a deadline for posting them? It’ll serve as a reminder to get them posted and cleared out of your way.

4. Record It

Of course, you can record your notes digitally using note-taking apps or in a text document, or use pen and paper but have you thought of recording them using a digital recorder?

This is a fast and easy way to get things done if writing things down is too much of a fuss.

You can get free recording apps for smartphones. By making a voice recording you can replay the recording and listen to your ideas. This will give you the opportunity to listen from a different perspective.

5. Create a Schedule

Online calendars now make it so easy for us to create schedules.

Using an online planner such as Google Calendar will ensure that you are able to access your schedule on your smartphone, tablet, or computer wherever you are.

I love how you can color code different categories of entry and share with friends, family, and colleagues as necessary!

6. Use Pen and Paper

Many of us have gone digital, but I still love the process of writing down things with pen and paper.

For your most important events, tasks and notes use the traditional recording method of pen and paper – use a diary, planner, or bullet journal.

You can keep it with you at all times. It won’t distract you with messages or run out of power. You’ll also be able to flick through at a glance to see how much you’ve achieved, past or forthcoming events, and outstanding tasks.

7. Prioritize

Be realistic. Not all tasks and events are created equal, and surely, you can’t do everything!

Find a way to highlight events that are essential so that you can see them at a glance and be sure not to miss them.

On your to-do lists always prioritize these events and complete the most important first. If there are items that aren’t important or not time-sensitive, then consider moving them off your current list and on to another day.

8. Delegate

I am the queen of delegating! From my groceries and bulk shopping (think Amazon or Instacart!) to professional tasks I can hire out, I’ll delegate it.

The truth is that you don’t need to try and be a superhero and do everything yourself.

Kids can tidy away their toys and when old enough learn how to load the dishwasher, set the table, do their laundry, water the plants, and do other simple chores. By enlisting the help of other household members, you not only empower them by teaching life skills they’ll use for life, but you will also get more accomplished in less time.

Managing your time properly and efficiently with these tips is one of the keys to staying organized. When you implement a few smart rules in your daily routine, you will surely have some extra time for yourself. Be sure to do something wonderful and kind, something you truly enjoy. You so deserve it!

Professional Organizer, Author, Business Coach for Professional Organizers

Hi, I’m Helena! I am ​a home organizing expert, coach, and instructor for Professional Organizers. I have been organizing the homes and calendars of busy moms since 2010. My motto is, life can be busy, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. I share here tips and tools to help YOU simplify your life and create time to enjoy it. If you want to organize your entire home, click here to get started!
Start Here!

How to organize your free time with your family

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How to organize your free time with your family

The Spruce / Daria Groza

Whether you’re moving across the country or to the neighboring town, preparing for a move can be incredibly stressful and overwhelming. Between packing boxes, decluttering, finding reliable movers and possibly getting your current home ready for sale, there seems to be an endless amount of details to think about. That’s why we’ve created these guides to help you stay organized, know what needs to be taken care of and to keep everything on track so that your move is as stress-free a process as possible!

How to Prepare and Plan Your Move

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The Spruce / Daria Groza

As soon as you decide that you are moving, create a plan. You can start with a preliminary plan and fill it in as you find out more details and figure out a schedule and timeline. Think about what needs to be done in your current home, whether that’s decluttering, packing or any small renovations that you need to take care of in the case that you are selling your current home.

Think about a budget and estimate what your moving costs will be; consider the cost of everything from packing tape, bubble wrap and boxes to moving company fees. Figure out what you need to purchase for your new home to be move-in ready, and note down details like when you will receive the keys and be able to start moving in so that you can create a schedule that will help you stay on track.

Should You Hire Movers or Move Yourself?

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​The Spruce / Daria Groza

There are several different options when it comes to moving all your possessions. To decide which option is best for you, consider the following questions. How far away is your new home? How much stuff do you need to move? Are there many heavy, family heirloom type pieces that you need to move or mostly small, apartment-sized furniture?

You can take the DIY route and pack and move everything yourself, in which case you need to budget for packing and possibly rental moving vehicle expenses. If you’d rather not do that, you can either pack up your home yourself and hire a professional moving company to do the moving portion for you, or hire a company that will do both the packing and moving for you.

How to Create a Timeline and Schedule

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The Spruce / Daria Groza

There are so many moving parts when it comes to a move, which is why creating a timeline and a schedule is crucial to keeping your sanity and making sure you don’t forget to do something.

Create a week by week schedule, then as it gets closer to the day when the truck arrives, create a day by day schedule. Include what room you’re going to pack on what day, when you need to hire a moving truck, days that you may need contractors to come and do repairs on your current home, and every other detail you can think of that will ensure you stay organized.

A Quick Guide to Getting Started and Completing a Move

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The Spruce / Daria Groza

A move is a big project and it can be difficult to know where to start. Our step by step guide will help you get started and guide you through the process, giving you plenty of helpful tips that will save you time and energy. Like labeling boxes! It may seem obvious, but forgetting to do it will cause you such a headache when you’re trying to unpack your kitchen dishes but can’t seem to find them. These simple steps will help you get organized so your boxes are packed and ready for the moving truck.

How to Sort Your Stuff and Decide What to Pack and Move

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The Spruce / Daria Groza

There’s no better time than a big move to go through all your stuff. It’s one of those tasks that we usually put off until it has to be done, but make sure to sort through everything before you move so that you’re not moving tons of extra boxes filled with items that will be thrown out anyway.

Decide what you want to keep, what you want to give away to friends and family, what can be donated and what no longer works and just needs to be thrown out. This can be a long process, so make sure to give yourself enough time and use this guide to help you figure out what to pack and what to get rid of.

How to Get Rid of Stuff You Don’t Want to Move

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The Spruce / Daria Groza

After going through everything (congratulations, that’s a big task!), the next task is figuring out what to do with items you’re not taking to your new home. We’ve compiled this list of the five best apps that you can use to sell items you don’t need anymore to make it easier for you.

Packing Supplies You Will Need to Pack Your House

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The Spruce / Daria Groza

If you’re not exactly sure what all you’ll need for your move, don’t worry, we have a checklist of all the moving supplies you’ll need right here for you. There are the more obvious items like scissors and moving boxes, but also all those things that are easy to forget, like bathroom essentials to quickly have on hand in your new home or a couple simple all-purpose cleaning supplies and trash bags that will come in handy at the new place.

If you believe you are going to be involved in a custody case, it is important to know how to gather and organize any evidence you may need. By collecting the evidence you may need before you actually require it, you may be able to save a lot of money and vastly improve your negotiation position.

You should start now, while everything is fresh in your mind (including events and other vital information). Start writing a journal, and add an entry in it every day. This practice should include any activities with your child and any behavior or incidences committed by your child’s other parent that cause you concern.

Your Child’s Best Interest

When making decisions about child custody, the main thing a court is interested in involves doing what is in the best interest of your child. Judges use certain custody factors when they have to make decisions about child custody. These factors include:

1. Current Physical Custody Schedule Already in Place

2. Domestic Violence – Is there a history of domestic violence in the home?

3. Living Situation and Standards of Both Parents

4. Neglect – Have either you or your child’s other parent neglected your child?

5. Parent’s Active Involvement – How involved in your child’s life are you?

6. Substance Abuse – Do you or the other parent abuse drugs and/or alcohol?

7. Willingness to Co-Parent – You must show a willingness to co-parent your child.

When you are gathering your child custody evidence, you want to keep the above factors in mind and ensure your evidence is relevant and will support your case.

The Types of Evidence You Should Gather

The most common types of evidence in child custody cases include:

1. All communication with your child’s other parent, such as emails, text messages, voicemails, and letters

5. Audio Recordings

6. Schedules – including any times your child’s other parent had to cancel or reschedule visitation

7. Records – including medical, school-related, financial, and police reports.

8. Social Media Posts

Your Daily Journal

Your daily journal may be one of the most important pieces of evidence you have. Here is the reason why: Any parent can give an oral testimony about what happened during specific exchanges involving your child. However, a parent will have better proof if they have a journal can refer to their written notes, in order to refresh their memory.

Your Calendar

Your calendar is documentation of how much time you have spent with your child. It is much like your journal, but it gives you and your family law attorney another tool to use that visually shows the time you spent with your child.

Make sure your calendar is easily available at any time. Note the times when the other parent denied you visitation, as well as other problems with your child’s other parent. Before you have to go to court, go to the office supply store and buy a 5’ x 3’ calendar. Write all this information on it, and take it to court with you.

Flip Charts

Show the court a graph of the missed visits if there is a problem with how frequently you are allowed to see your child. Like your calendar and daily journal, this tactic will have a higher impact on the judge.

Photo Albums

With all the evidence you and your family law attorney can present in court, kid- centric photo albums are among the most influential. By having the judge see hundreds of pictures of you with your children, it is hard to argue that you are not a good parent.

Your Witness List

Your potential witnesses may include your family members, employers, counselors, physicians, teachers, coaches, and record keepers. Make sure you give the information in the list below to your attorney. Alternatively, you and your attorney can work on this list together.

1. Names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses

2. Whether your witness is available to testify at a hearing or trial

3. Whether your witness is willing to appear in court and testify

4. Whether your witnesses’ employers will let them take time off work to testify

5. The evidence you want the witness to produce

6. The way your witness can strengthen your case. It is important to note that all of your potential witnesses may not be able to add to your case.

Keep in mind that witness testimonies help the judge determine how legitimate your claims and allegations are in your child custody case. Generally, the most influential evidence comes from witnesses who are not biased and have personal and/or expert knowledge of you, your child, and the child’s other parent.

Do not forget to add your child’s daycare provider, teachers, and neighbors to your witness list.


If you have a lot of long voicemails from your child’s other parent, you and your attorney will want to quickly get to the relevant portions of the voicemail. Oftentimes, it is not necessary for the court to hear the entire message. You could even anger the court if you play long messages that are irrelevant.

However, it is important to have all the full voicemails available, should the court request them. Also, you and your family law attorney should discuss how and when you are going to present the voicemails in court.

Make Your Evidence Credible

In order for your evidence to be admissible in court, it has to be relevant to your child custody case. Do not waste the court’s time on issues that have nothing to do with child custody, your child’s well-being, and the best interest of your child.


If you are in a custody battle, the day will soon come when you will have your final hearing, and the court will decide the custody of the child. In order to win custody and prove you are the better parent, you should present a lot of convincing evidence.

Keep in mind that your personal testimony will not carry much weight with the judge. Therefore, you and your family law attorney will dramatically increase your chances of winning your custody case by presenting clear and organized evidence.

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Are you looking to add some organization and order in your life and home? If you need to get organized in your daily/weekly/monthly planning, your goals, your finances, your eating, your exercise, your meal-planning and more – there is a free printable for you. Keep reading to grab them – for free! Updated for 2022!

Last Update: January 2, 2022

How to organize your free time with your family

To Organize Your Life, Free Printables are the Solution

As much as I love Christmas (which, to me, is just about the only redeemable quality about the god-awful season of winter), by the time January rolls around, I’m crawling of out my skin to get the decorations put away, the house cleaned, and my life organized with some semblance of normalcy.

I’ve always been a fan of routine, and I’m a sucker for any system that promises to keep life organized. And if it’s pretty, too? Well, I’m sold. If you add in the motivation of a new year and new goals, the restart of life in January might be the second redeemable quality of winter.

If you are like me and looking to get your life and home organized again, I’ve got just the tools for you. These free printables are exactly the thing to help get you back on the organizational track again. I even came up with a set of my own printables for a step-by-step plan to really reach your goals and make them stick.

If you need to get organized in your daily/weekly/monthly planning, your goals, your finances, your eating, your exercise, your meal-planning – there is a free printable for you.

Why Free Printables are Amazing

There are many reasons to love free printables, but here are a few.

1| They’re free. Do I have to elaborate on that. Some planners are SOOOO expensive! I mean, over the top expensive. These are all 100% free.

2| They’re customizable. You can mix and match and print out the ones that are most useful. I have such a hard time finding planners that are exactly what I’m looking for. I always ended up with a ton of wasted pages because they really weren’t something I needed.

3| I’m a pen-and-paper-kinda-gal. I’ve tried calendars on my phone, on my tablet – but I really just do best with physical paper and pens. And I need all the important info right in front of my face, as a visual reminder, not tucked into my phone.

All the printables you’ll find below serve a functional purpose. And not only that, I picked the prettiest ones, too. 🙂

Take a look below and grab what you need to get your life and home in order again! I’m right there with you!

21 Free Printables to Help You Organize Your Life & Home

A household notebook, also known as a home management binder or a homemaking notebook, is like a master planner for your home’s needs and family’s lives.

How to organize your free time with your family

One purpose of your notebook or binder is to get all that information you are trying to remember, like your daughter’s soccer schedule and the last time you flipped the mattresses, out of your head, and onto paper, where you can more reliably review it when needed.

If you’re just beginning the journey of creating such a notebook, here are some general resource articles on the site for you.

Each family’s home management binder will be unique, just like each family is unique. However, there are some common parts of most organized family’s homemaking notebook.

Below is a pretty detailed list of items which could go into your household notebook. Not all of them need to, of course, and not all of them need to be created at once.

In addition, if you actually were to put all these things in one notebook it would be huge and unwieldy. So these are just suggestions. You pick and choose the ones that will actually help your family and home!

There are also some resources on this site which can help you create your homemaking notebook, including a whole section of checklists and printables that you can use, as is, or tweak to fit your needs.

Here, you’ll find a Plethora of free organizational printables for the home. You’ll find free planner printables, printable (and editable) calendars, printable cleaning checklists, free printable wall art, coloring pages for adults, organizational printables, menu planners, checklists, and so much more!


Disclaimer: The free printables contained here are designed for personal use only. Please do not reproduce, distribute, alter, share, or sell these printables. I’ve worked really hard to bring these printables to you free of charge, so, if you wouldn’t mind sharing the love on social media, I’d appreciate it.

Each of these links will take you to either the post containing the free printable, or a sign-up page where your printable will be available for download via e-mail. A free PDF reader (such as Adobe) is needed in order to view the files.

These PDF’s download the best with Internet Explorer & Google Chrome browsers. . For best results, view on a tablet or computer.


  • Jumpstart Declutter: How to Declutter Your Entire Home in Just 15-Minutes A Day
  • The Complete Guide To Decluttering Clothes
  • Free 12-Week Decluttering Challenge (with free printable checklists)




  • Free Printable Rae Dunn Inspired Pantry Labels
  • 44-Free Printable Storage Bin Labels
  • Free Printable House (Deep) Cleaning Checklist
  • Declutter, Deep Clean, and Organize Your Entire Kitchen in One Weekend Or Less (checklist)
  • How to Declutter and Organize The Garage (checklist)
  • How to Clean Almost Anything With Next To Nothing (natural cleaner recipes & labels)
  • Quick-Clean Checklist: Clean Your Home in 20 Minutes
  • Essential Tips for Decluttering and Staying Organized When Moving (checklist)
  • How to Have A Successful Yard Sale (checklist)
  • Declutter Clothes (checklist)


  • Simple Meal Planning for Beginners (full and half size printable)
  • Super Simple Summer Meal Plan Ideas


  • First Day of School Photo Printables
  • Free Printable Chore Charts for Kids of All Ages
  • 10 Free Fall Printables That Will Make You Enjoy Autumn Even More
  • 10 Free Printable Inspirational Quotes-That Will Help You Stay Strong
  • 12 Free Printable Motivational Quotes To Help Keep You Going
  • Christmas Coloring Pages for Adults

* PIN THIS POST for later and be sure to check back as new printables are being added all of the time!

I’m a list maker. I use lists to organize my life. Lists are always a part of my weekly spreads. I have lists for everything and with so many lists it was getting out of hand!

I’ve tried various ways of organizing lists over the years:

  • 1 page per list category
  • Running to do lists and color coding by category
  • Using different colored pens for different lists
  • Using different notebooks for different lists
  • Use sticky notes to mark pages
  • Dog earing notebook pages with frequently referred to lists
  • Monthly lists
  • Lists organized by urgency / priority
  • To do lists organized by date
  • Sticky notes
  • Etc.

That’s a lot of lists!

I wanted one place to organize ALL my lists, especially tasks that are on my never ending list of things to do but that I’m not working on right now. Or things I want to do in the future (e.g. printables for my shop) but aren’t going to be scheduled in my planner yet.

I could’ve used an online tool but I don’t like that it’s not really yours. If the tool shuts down one day there goes all your lists. They can also be overly complicated with too many menus & sub menus. I just want something quick, simple and easy.

Enter… my master task list in Microsoft Excel!

How to organize your free time with your family

To enlarge the screen of the video, click the square icon in the bottom right hand corner of the video (it will say ‘full screen’ when you hover your mouse over the icon).

This is how I use my master list:

  • List out tasks & their frequency
  • Throughout the week, record the status of the task e.g. work in progress.
  • At the end of a week all of the tasks with a ‘weekly’ frequency should have ‘done’ in the status column. Delete all of the ‘done’s in the status column ready to start fresh next week.
  • Repeat each month for tasks that have a monthly frequency. For quarterly, annual etc.
  • You could change the title of the ‘status’ column to ‘day of the week’ if you prefer to allocate tasks to days.

I don’t transfer daily tasks to my paper planner as I don’t like re-writing the same thing every day (I use a habit tracker instead).

If you like my master task list template, you can download it here. Existing subscribers can log into the library here to download it.

When you see a red triangle in the top right corner, hover your mouse over that cell and instructions / my suggestions will pop up. That’s it – just 1 simple spreadsheet to organize everything 🙂

How to organize your free time with your family

Why don’t I plan everything digitally?

While transferring the tasks to paper is technically doubling up, I could never 100% convert to digital planning.

I like paper, I like writing and using colored pens, highlighters, stickers etc.

I like having my to do’s in front of me on paper when I’m working at my computer rather than flicking back and forth between tabs / apps / programs. This master list in Excel is a reference list (like a brain dump). I wanted all of the running to do, upcoming tasks, things that are work in progress organized in one place. And then refer to it when I’m adding tasks to my planner.

You could plan your entire week using Excel (I’ve tried it in the past). See this post.

Download the list template here. Existing subscribers can login to the library here.

I hope you find this template useful!

The template is for personal use only.

Physicians and health care providers keep medical records to better understand a patient’s prior care and to help inform their decision for treatment plans. Developing your own system for organizing medical information, or creating a personal health record (PHR), will help you stay on top of doctor’s visits, medications, and insurance claims. Providing your own medical records may help you receive safer and quicker treatment if you change doctors, move, get sick, or end up in an emergency room. “Organize Your Medical Information Month” in October is an opportune time to gather and catalog the medical documents you need. However, seize any available day during the year to get organized. Having your documents in order will also make it simpler to review and consider changes to your Medicare coverage during events like Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) from October 15th through December 7th.

When deciding how to organize medical paperwork for yourself or another as a caregiver, develop a system that works best for you and is easy to transport, store, and update. Consider using a three-ring binder or file folders. If you have the capability, make duplicate electronic copies of scanned or photographed documents and save them on your computer to mirror the organization of your paper files, or use a software tool made specifically for medical documents. The first page of your personal health record should include your name, date of birth, blood type, and a table of contents. The remaining information is customizable, but the following steps will help you navigate the process when creating your personal health record.

Step 1: Locate and keep copies of medical records.

Call your doctor to request copies of your medical records and let them know you’re creating a personal health record. Your doctor may also be able to help you find your medical records online, at hospitals, or other health care facilities. You’ll need to sign a release form, provide a valid government-issued photo ID, and you may be required to pay a fee. If you’re a caregiver and requesting records for someone other than yourself, facilities will only release them if a direct authorization to disclose records to a third-party form is signed by the patient. Most requests can be fulfilled within 5-10 business days; however, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) allows providers 30 days to complete a record request, plus a single 30-day extension.

Step 2: Organize medical history and current health information categorically and chronologically.

Every individual has a different health history, therefore how you categorize your records is a personal decision. Your current and past health information may include:

  • Doctor office visit information (date, doctor name, and notes)
  • Dates and results of tests, procedures or health screenings
  • Information about any major illnesses, surgeries, or hospital visits
  • A history of any counseling received
  • Hearing, vision, and dental records
  • History of childbirth
  • Immunizations records
  • Cancer screenings, including Pap tests, mammograms, colonoscopy, and PSA (prostate-specific antigen) tests
  • Information that is needed in an emergency (e.g., a pacemaker, stent or hearing and vision problems)
  • A list of long-term (chronic) health problems, such as arthritis, asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure.
  • A list of allergies, including drug or food allergies
  • Family history of disease
  • Medicines taken in the past and present, including any side effects (see step 3)

Step 3: List all current and past medications and prescriptions.

Include a list of current and past supplements, prescriptions, and over-the-counter medications. Write down the drug name, dosage, start date, end date, and the condition it is treating, plus any side effects experienced.

Step 4: Keep track of billing and insurance documents.

In chronological order, organize copies of all bills and receipts from doctors’ offices and any insurance payment documentation (explanation of benefits forms). Keep records of insurance claims, payments, and balance information. Include a log of phone conversations with insurance representatives, including the date and name of the person you spoke with. Include a copy of your insurance and Medicare card.

Step 5: Create a list of important contacts.

Record names, medical practices, addresses, telephone numbers, and email (if applicable) of your doctors and pharmacist. Include the emergency contact information of a caregiver, family member, or friend in case of an emergency. Include the name, policy number, address, and telephone number of your health insurance company.

How to organize your free time with your family

Imagine what you could accomplish if your home and life were organized.

    • You would always know exactly where to find exactly what you need (without tearing the house apart to hunt it down).

    You would be certain about where everything belongs (without adding it to the ever-growing “ important—do not lose! ” pile).

    You would experience your home as a place of peace and refuge (without constantly nagging someone to help you tidy).

  • You would have the time and mental space to chase your dreams and realize your purpose (without letting your family down or dropping the ball—again).

Does this sound like a dream? It’s not. You can wake up to a life just like this—and it will be your life.

How to organize your free time with your family

Can you relate to my story? From 2008-2011, I felt like a hamster on a wheel that wouldn’t quit spinning faster and faster.

Life was moving so fast I got run over. At the time, I thought it was just me, but now I know it happens to all of us.

We all find ourselves feeling like roadkill at least once in our lives.

Does your life feel like a disaster zone right now? Surrounded by stuff that’s either not in its place, or that doesn’t have a place to begin with.

And you, standing in the middle of it all, overwhelmed and ready to throw in the towel.

It’s time to get back in the driver’s seat.

How to organize your free time with your family

I’m a teacher. In the winter of 2012, I created a lesson plan for myself to help me stay on track as I decluttered and organized my home.

Within 18 months I had transformed my home and my life and discovered my own life’s purpose.

It was in my year-long transformation that I observed the cycle of organization. Until that time I had focused on each part of the cycle in isolation.

  • I would take the whole weekend and declutter like crazy reducing the visual overwhelm around me, but not achieving the organized feeling I craved.
  • Next, I would organize one or two spaces of my home with military precision and be completely overwhelmed with the thought of getting my whole house organized to this level.
  • Finally, I would abandon it all and focus on one project to completion in an effort to productively move my life forward.

When I popped my head back up from that project, the decluttering & organization progress I had made seemed to have disappeared.

How to organize your free time with your family

I lamented with my girlfriends and realized we were all feeling the same way. Busy, busy, busy with unending to-do lists & responsibilities, and yet so little to show for our exhaustion & efforts.

Our moral sense of responsibility, unwavering (& unrealistic) desire to be the best and figure out a way to achieve the perfect idealistic home we saw in magazines & on Pinterest left us chasing after perfection like a dog chasing a car. What would we do if we caught it?

Be angry. Yes! The few times my house has been “perfect” I was ticked!

I couldn’t enjoy my home, I had to protect the finished product that lasted. at the most . 48 hours.

It was a never-ending marathon with no lasting trophy.

Maybe the goal wasn’t the organized house?

How to organize your free time with your family

Yes ! That was it! It wasn’t about the house or the perfect picture in my head, it was about my LIFE’s purpose!

I eliminated the word perfect from my vocabulary and replaced it with excellence. I am not a perfectionist, I am a woman of excellence.

I started out again in the cycle of organization in each space of my house. Decluttering, organizing, and increasing productivity one space at a time focusing on improvements & excellence, not perfection.

I found myself naturally cycling through each space 3 times a year. At the end of my 12-month journey, I had functionally organized my home 3 times through and found myself in the process.

In other words, you can organize your way into your life’s purpose.

How to organize your free time with your family

No one is “born organized.” We are all learning & growing together. The process of getting organized will move you from.

Organization puts you in the driver’s seat. You determine your priorities and pursue your passions.

How to organize your free time with your family

How to organize your free time with your family

How to Organize House Records

By Erin Huffstetler | 01/09/2014 | 3 Comments

This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.

Ready to tackle another organization project? Let’s create a binder for all of your house records. I just transferred my house records over from a file box to a binder, so I have lots of tips and goodies to share with you.

First up? A pretty printable cover to slip into your binder.

How to organize your free time with your family

And now that we have your binder looking sharp, let’s tackle the stuff that goes inside. After going through all of my files, here’s what I decided to include:

How to organize your free time with your family

Business cards for all of our go-to contractors and service providers. These fit nicely in a couple baseball card sleeves that I swiped from my husband.

How to organize your free time with your family

Our paint colors. There’s a page for the interior colors (shown here) and another for the exterior colors. These are on file at Sherwin Williams, but I like to have my own copy.

How to organize your free time with your family

Users’ manuals and installation guides. I keep most of my manuals in that fancy schmancy users’ manual binder that I shared with you earlier in the week, but I decided to keep the ones that pertain to the house here. To make a clear distinction between the two, I included anything that would convey with the house, if we were to sell it (we won’t). So, manuals to our light fixtures, HVAC systems, stove, sink and all of those other house bits are stored here.

How to organize your free time with your family

House repair and renovation receipts. We’ve restored our house from top to bottom, so we have a lot of receipts. To keep them all straight, I tucked them inside a pocket folder.

How to organize your free time with your family

A Project Ideas Folder. When I come across good ideas in magazines, I like to tear them out and save them for inspiration (very Pre-Pinterest of me, I know). This nifty three-pocket folder does a good job of corralling all of my tear sheets.

Also Included in My Binder (but not pictured):

  • A copy of our engineer’s report (an accessory you gain when a tree falls on your house)
  • A copy of our homeowner’s association guidelines
  • A copy of our most recent appraisal
  • The certificate and recommendations from our home energy audit
  • Photos from our renovation projects and those tackled by past owners (for now these are just tucked in the back pocket)

Other Things You May Want to Include:

A Few More Tips to Help You with Your Project

  • Only keep labor receipts in your house records. Material receipts need to go in your fire safe (which is something I’ll be talking about soon)
  • If you put everything in plastic sleeves like I did, regular dividers won’t work. I used Avery NoteTabs in this project. When I run out, I’ll probably switch to Semikolon Sticky Tab Markers, simply because they’re cheaper
  • Be sure to choose a binder with enough room to grow. The picture below shows what my binder looked like after I tried to cram everything into a three-inch binder. Needless to say, I’ll be upgrading as soon as I come across a good deal

How to organize your free time with your family

Follow me on my organization adventure, and you’ll have complete binder system when we’re done. Here’s the first binder, in case you missed it:

Many web browsers have their own built-in PDF viewers, but they tend to be buggy. If you’re having trouble printing or editing one of our printables, click here for help.

How to organize your free time with your family

How to organize your free time with your family

When I was a novice writer, I chafed at the idea of using an outline. I was certain organizing my thoughts in advance would stifle my creativity and make my writing stiff and uninspired. After all, how can serendipity happen if you’ve got everything planned?

But then I started creating content for a living, and I needed to turn out several polished articles every week. I write at least 240,000 words per year to earn my keep. That’s only about half of War and Peace, but it still feels like a lot. I try to write quickly so I’m not still awake toiling away at the keyboard at 1 a.m. with a cup of tea and a couple of graham crackers. (1 a.m. graham cracker calories do seem to count, by the way.)

I discovered that it was taking me a long time to finish my articles because, when my creative mind was unfettered, I had a tendency to ramble in a chaotic stream of consciousness that I would then have to go back and structure in order for it to make sense. Not only that, but I would over-research. I’d wind up with a thousand words before I realized I was only one third of the way through my article. I’d have to go back, refocus, trim down, and sometimes even start over.

And so, I started outlining. And it saved me. Not only from sleep deprivation, but from graham-cracker weight gain. Here’s my step-by-step process. And it works!

1 Do some reconnaissance reading.

Unless I know my topic inside and out, I start with a little reconnaissance reading. I head to Google and look at what others have written on my topic. I try to think of new and interesting ways to address it. I look for an angle.

The easiest way to find an angle is to look for knowledge gaps in the articles you scan. Let’s use this article as an example. I searched to see what others had written on the topic of how to write an outline. I found a lot on the basics of structure, but not much about how to actually use outlines to improve the organization of your writing. Voila! An angle!

As you’re reading, take notes when you see interesting research or quotes you might want to share. Note the URLs, too, so you can reference them with links in your article. I keep my notes in a Google Doc on the same page where I’m eventually going to create my outline and write my article. Having all the information in one place will allow you to write faster when the time comes.

2 Write down your objective.

Now that you’ve figured out an angle, it’s helpful to write down an objective. What do you want the reader to understand by the end of this article? Put some thought into your objective and see if you can write it in one sentence. My objective for this article was:

Everything you write should support your objective. An objective will help you stay focused and prevent you from drifting off on tangents.

3 Create a list of all the main points you want to make.

I often begin this step while I’m doing my recon reading and ideas are popping into my head. This can be a quick brainstorming process. Don’t invest a lot of energy in organizing just yet. You’ll get to that in the next step.

4 Organize, revise, and eliminate.

Now it’s time to organize the list of points. Figure out the structure of your article. Will it work well as numbered how-to steps? A listicle? In standard essay format?

Take a look at the points you’ve jotted down and begin putting them into a logical order. Cross-check each point to make certain that it’s relevant to your objective. If you’ve strayed off the path and included extra information that doesn’t really fit the scope of your article, eliminate it.

You may come across a few things that don’t quite fit into your article as their own sections, but seem important to mention nonetheless. Those elements make great sidebars. In this article, you’ll see them used as tips. Pretty nifty, huh?

As you revise, start putting your outline into a standard format. You don’t have to be too formal about this process, just organize everything into a bulleted or numbered list. (If you want to be traditional, use Roman numerals. I think they make my outlines look fancy.) Include topic segments. Under each topic segment, indent and include the points you’ll discuss in each paragraph. You don’t have to get too granular here—all you’re looking for is enough information to help you remember where you’re going and keep you organized and on track. My outline for this article looked like this:

B. Becoming a professional writer made me change my tune

C. Outlining brings structure to chaos

II. Do some recon reading

A. Look for angle, ways the topic has not been covered

B. Take notes while you’re reading/record URLs

C. Don’t go too far down the research rabbit hole

III. Make a quick list of the points you want to make

IV. Organize the list into a formal outline

A. Get rid of anything that doesn’t support objective

1. Save extra stuff in a clip file for future use

B. Some extra stuff is worth keeping as tips/sidebars

C. Demonstrate standard outline format

An outline isn’t a prison—it’s there to guide you, not control you. You can take conscious detours, or change things around as you write. Outlines are just guidelines, so they shouldn’t feel restrictive. And yet, you’ll be surprised how the simple act of creating one will give your articles more structure and keep them focused and on-point. You’ll write with more clarity, and you’ll do it all faster and more efficiently. Outlines for the win!

Are you ready to organize your home, your office, your paperwork, basically your life? Chances are you are feeling a little overwhelmed. Doing an internet search for organization websites is a good place to start, but the options there are endless!

So, we’ve done the searching for you and came up with a list of 10 great websites that help you organize your life!

How to organize your free time with your family

Home Organization

Organise My House is a beautifully organized website. It breaks up the overwhelming task of organizing into smaller more manageable categories. The website also offers a free 30 day clutter blitz challenge to jump start your organization.


Organized Home also features categories to help you jump into organizing without feeling overwhelmed, including a tab called “Family Ties” which focuses specifically on organizing in family areas, kids rooms, homework areas, command centers, and more.

What I love most about this site is the Organized Tip of the Day!


Marie Kondo is the woman behind the Kon Mari Method, a system of decluttering and tidying up. Kondo teaches people to consider all their possessions and keep only those that bring them joy.

This is the organization website for decluttering!

Small Spaces

If you are having trouble organizing due to a small space, check out Apartment Therapy. This website features categories on interior design, diy, real estate to name a few, but their organization posts are the tops!

From bathrooms to kitchens to closets and more you’ll find all the tips and tricks you need for your small space.


Think you need to spend a lot of money on bins, baskets, and gadgets to get you organized? The Budget Decorator is an organization website that will show you how to get your home in order without breaking the bank.

Office Space

See Jane Work will give you tips on organizing and styling your office space. Whether you work at home, in an office, or you’re just looking to streamline your sorting through the mail/bill paying station, you’ll want to check it out.

Meal planning

Your home can be organized within an inch of it’s life, but if you don’t have a plan for dinner, you might end up standing in front of the pantry without a plan and a few hungry kids asking on reapeat, “What’s for dinner, what’s for dinner?”

To keep your dinner game on point, check out Say Mmmmm and Prepear!

Life Documents

No one really wants to talk about estate planning and wills, but if you are ready to organize that part of your life, check out GYST. With an easy to follow checklist, GYST will help you set up your will, living will, life insurance and more.

Overall Organization

If you are looking for a organization website to cover several areas, check out Organized Moms, covering topics like decluttering, menu planning, routines and more.

And of course, please keep stopping by The Organized Mom, our very favorite organization website for tips and tricks to keep your home and your life organized!

  • 10. JUST A GIRL AND HER BLOGHow to organize your free time with your family

I love this blog for practical ideas for real families! Abby is relatable and has amazing advice to organize and decorate any space!

Tweak the way you tidy up and put an end to the mess once and for all.

How to organize your free time with your family

For some, the prospect of spending a day fastidiously organizing the home feels like a treat — a welcomed chance to focus on the oh-so-satisfying art of living in an orderly, uncluttered, and highly functional dwelling. For others, the very notion of getting organized feels daunting — like fighting an uphill battle, with no obvious place to start, and tons of feelings involved.

No matter which category you fit into, you’ll find brilliant organizing tips in this expert-backed guide to tackling your entire home. Starting with the emotional hang ups and stressors that lead to clutter, this primer walks you through everything you need to get — and stay — mess-free at home.

As a first step? Think like Marie Kondo and do away with clutter that doesn’t spark joy. “Decluttering [is] the act of picking what you like, picking out what you [don’t] like, [and] choosing what you wanna keep,” Michele Vig, Marie Kondo-certified master organizer, founder of Neat Little Nest, and author of The Holistic Guide to Decluttering, tells Woman’s Day. “Declutter first, organize second.”

From there, you’ll have less stuff around to hinder the process of creating lasting solutions for a chaos-free home. Organize using tools you already have at home, and supplement with affordable organizing products that will take your strategy to the next level.

Whether you’re daunted by the idea or raring to get going, start now and get to enjoying your streamlined life stat with these easy home organization hacks from the pros that will save you time, money, and stress.

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When working full time, it can be challenging to find a balance that allows you to accomplish things outside of work, spend time with loved ones and perform well in the workplace. Though finding work-life balance is different for everyone, there are some things that you can do to create a life that fits your lifestyle and needs. In this article, we explain what a full-time job is and provide 10 tips for developing a work-life balance.

What is a full-time job?

The classifications for full-time employment can vary depending on the industry and position, but most companies require full-time positions to work between 35 and 50 hours a week. Though this range can be flexible, working 40 hours a week is standard for full-time employment. Full-time employees are usually given access to benefits, such as sick days, paid vacation, health insurance and a pension.

Work-life balance tips when working full time

Here are a few tips for preserving your work-life balance as a full-time employee:

Take regular breaks.

Use and enjoy your vacation days.

Customize your work environment and routine.

Find an employer that values its workers.

Create healthy boundaries.

Determine your priorities.

Reassess your goals periodically.

Set aside time for friends and family.

Prioritize the tasks that add to your goals.

Use your time intentionally.

1. Take regular breaks

When working in a fast-paced and demanding environment, it can be helpful to take a regular, scheduled break in the middle of the day to re-center yourself and reconnect with your thoughts. Take roughly 30 minutes and step away from your screens and go outside for a walk or meditate. You’ll likely return to work feeling invigorated and more productive than if you had worked straight through the day.

2. Use and enjoy your vacation days

Taking time off of work is essential to your mental and physical health which, in turn, reflects on your work performance. It’s important to take advantage of the paid vacation days that your employer provides so that you can find perspective and foster a healthy work-life balance.

The advancement of technology has made work easily accessible, even when on vacation, so to fully take advantage of your time off, avoid checking work emails or messages and focus on sightseeing or hiking and spending time with family.

3. Customize your work environment and routine

Everyone works differently and requires different environments for optimal performance, so it can be beneficial to move away from the traditional 9-5 work schedule to find a work routine that works best for you. Whether that means working earlier in the day, changing work environments and routines occasionally or working remotely, there are plenty of options for creating a scenario that allows you to improve your performance as well as your life outside of full-time employment.

4. Find an employer that values its workers

Of course, many of these suggestions for finding work-life balance will be challenging to implement without an understanding and flexible employer. When interviewing for positions, it’s a good idea to talk about the work culture at the company as well as your specific needs. A company that values work-life balance will allow you to advocate for your needs and create a schedule and environment that works best for you and your family.

5. Create healthy boundaries

Creating boundaries with work has become increasingly more important because of the development of smartphones and applications that make us constantly connected. To make sure that you are making full use of your free time, it’s vital that you create boundaries that prevent you from checking in on work well into the night.

An effective strategy is to simply delete the work messaging and email applications from your phone each night, and then download them again the next day.

6. Determine your priorities

Before you can create a work-life balance, you need to figure out what you want out of your career. For some, earning a higher salary is their primary objective, which inevitably takes more time committed to working and provides less freedom. For others, creating a lifestyle that focuses on family and free time is the priority. Once you identify your goals, you’ll be able to make intentional decisions and find the right job that helps you accomplish them.

7. Reassess your goals periodically

Even if you’ve already determined your primary goals and motivations, it can be easy to lose sight of them after a while. That’s why it’s important to regularly reevaluate your priorities so that you can ensure that you are still working towards accomplishing your goals and creating a life that you enjoy outside of work.

8. Set aside time for friends and family

Creating healthy relationships is an important aspect of finding a work-life balance. Regardless of your full-time work schedule or professional demands, designating specific days and times to spend with loved ones is a necessity.

9. Prioritize the tasks that add to your goals

It’s easy for work and life to become imbalanced when you begin to focus on things that don’t contribute to your higher-priority objectives. Though committing to activities outside of your goals is sometimes necessary, make sure that you are always prioritizing your more important goals.

10. Use your time intentionally

Learning to be more efficient with your time is one of the most important ways to make sure you are creating a life that is balanced while working full-time. It’s easy to become distracted while working on something, causing it to take much longer than it should. As a result, you could be detracting from your free time to complete the task.

An easy way to combat this cycle is to give your work activities structure by planning them out and then assigning them blocks of time to be completed. This often results in a higher level of productivity and the ability to enjoy the unscheduled time on your calendar.

How to organize your free time with your family

How to organize your free time with your family

Grab this free weekly planning printable, weekly planning pages that will help you set goals and be more productive using a simple technique called time blocking! (Oh and did I mention that the printables are pretty too?! Yippee!!)

How to organize your free time with your family

Weekly Planning Printable for Organizing Your Time

You know me– any time I start to feel stressed or overwhelmed, I make an organizational printable. It’s kind of a sickness, really. Sometimes I just need to organize, ya know?! 😉

Planning printables are especially helpful when I need to organize my time because they allow me to stay on task and accomplish more. Recently I revamped my little two-page printable that helps me organize my week as well as make a detailed plan for each day, and I am so thrilled to be sharing it with YOU today!

[See all 300+ pages of free printables that we offer on the blog in our library of free printables!]

Setting Goals for the Week

One of the most helpful parts of this printable is the little block on the bottom of the first page that gives me space to set some goals to the week. I am a bit fanatical about goal setting because I think they work. Goals keep me motivated by giving me something to shoot for. I’m a lot less likely to waste my time when I’m working toward a specific result.

How to organize your free time with your family

After I’ve written down some goals for the week, I plan out each of my days using time blocking…

Planning Your Week with Time Blocking

I love that each weekday of this printable is broken down by hour so that I can use one of my favorite productivity techniques, time blocking, to plan my days.

How to organize your free time with your family

If you’ve never heard of time blocking before, don’t worry– it’s simple! Basically, instead of just listing all of the tasks you want to complete each day, you assign each task to a given time slot. While this may seem like it would feel limiting, I actually find it pretty freeing.

How to organize your free time with your family

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Say I’m working on a project in the morning when I suddenly remember an email that I need to respond to. Since I know that I have time scheduled to answer emails later in the day, I can wrap up my project to completion– rather than leaving it unfinished to attend to email– and send my email response during the designated time later in the day.

How to organize your free time with your family

This way, I end up with more completed projects and less loose ends that I’ve left hanging because I was trying to run from thing to thing to thing.

Time blocking is also helpful because it keeps me from getting distracted. Since I know I only have a certain amount of time to complete a task before it’s time to move on to the next thing, I don’t have time to lose myself in the endless scroll of Instagram or Pinterest. Time blocking keeps me on task.

Collect All Thoughts in One Place on the Weekly Planning Printable

Finally, I added a small notes section at the bottom of the weekly planning printable where I can collect any thoughts and ideas that pop into my head while I’m working.

This makes it easy to stay on task but not forget other details I may want to remember or pursue. If my new thoughts or ideas require a specific action, I can easily add them to my time blocking plan later in the week.

So that’s it! It’s a super simple printable, but it really goes a long way in boosting my productivity and helping me to reach my goals!

You can download this pretty (and free!) weekly planning printable by clicking the button below.

What are your favorite tips and tricks for being more productive? Let me know in the comments below!

How to organize your free time with your family Planning a family reunion requires one to plan, organize, and coordinate well ahead of the actual event. In successfully doing so, your family will have the opportunity to catch up, rekindle old relationships, and create new memories.

If you have ever planned a backyard barbecue with family, a weekend full of activities, or even a camping trip for your extended family, then you are familiar with the basics of planning a family reunion. They can be as simple as a gathering of 25 people in someones backyard to as complex as a week long group cruise to the Caribbean.

Planning a family reunion can seem very intimidating at first

After all, it does take a lot of patience, time, and commitment to get people (who have not seen each other in years) to come together as a family.

Regardless of how many steps are involved in planning your first family reunion, there are certain things to keep in mind that will help you get through it. But before you read the steps, you should know why you are planning a family reunion.

Why plan a family reunion?

In today’s day and age, it’s become extremely tough to keep in touch with our families. With e-mail, Facebook, our work lives, and our personal lives, it seems almost impossible to maintain close ties with distant relatives. A family reunion gives us the opportunity to rekindle those relationships with relatives who we may have not spoken to in years.

Time spent with family members will provide a sense of belonging, and perspective on our own history and lineage. It’s a great way to reconnect with our past not just for ourselves but also for our children.

In addition to catching up, family reunions tend to be a lot of fun. Planning and participating in activities, special events, talent shows, or even genealogy is a great way to spend a vacation. One that you won’t forget for years to come.

So What Are The Three Guiding Principles

Plan At Least A Year Out-

If this is the first time that you are planning a family reunion, then give yourself at least a year to get things organized. Many new family reunion planners give themselves 18-24 months just to be on the safe side. You will need this much time to get the word out, take surveys, and organize committees to do things the right way. Anything less will require too many shortcuts (And shortcuts lead to long delays. ).

Giving your family members this much lead time will also let your family members plan their vacations around the family reunion, thereby increasing the number of people attending the actual event.

Don’t plan alone

Getting together a team to help you sort through, plan, and organize the event will not only take some of the stress off your shoulders, it will also create a great buy-in factor for those helping you.The more people you involve, the easier it will be for you to organize everything.

One of the easiest ways to get a team together is to create committees that are responsible for different parts of the reunion. To learn more, read What Are The Most Common Family Reunion Committees. If you are the one that is leading the charge, then remember to delegate the work instead of trying to do everything else yourself.

If you need help in planning a family reunion, we would suggest that you read our guide How To Plan A Family Reunion.

Start Small When Planning A Family Reunion For The First Time

Simply invite close family members to a park that is central to everyone. Instruct people to bring one food item as their contribution to the family reunion (Free Download : Family reunion picnic flyer). By keeping it small, you will learn the simple steps that require successful execution of a family reunion at a larger scale. Once your first family reunion is complete, then start widening the circle to invite additional family members that may live further out.

As the number of reunions grow, so will your attendees. Eventually, you’ll need to create committee’s to handle tasks like selecting a hotel for the family reunion. You’ll need to enlist a few family members to get group hotel rates, negotiate amenities and block hotel rooms and report back to you for final approval. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Just get the first one out of the way. And don’t try to grow too fast. Slowly growing the number of attendees every year will keep your planning smoother and your event successful.

What should you do next?

Since you’re planning a family reunion, take a look at our family reunion planning guide.

Planning a family reunion?

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