Staying Productive During Back to School Time

It’s back to school time!  With three kids in elementary and middle school, this is a New Year of sorts for parents.  Here are some tips to help you stay sane and productive:

Back-to-the-Future. The first step in moving forward with back-to-school resolutions is to take a look back. What were the situations from the previous school year that could use improvement? Did your child often miss the bus? Did they have a hard time making the honor roll or even passing grades? Was everyone too busy to sit down for dinner together? Once you figure out what areas need improvement, it will help set goals for the upcoming year.

Talk to your children. Whether your school-age children are in elementary school or high school, talk to them about areas they would like to see change, both personally and within the family. Their insight into what areas need improvement may differ from their parents.  Discussing the differing goals will help to bring every person in the family on the same page.  Buy-in on goals from all members of the family encourages success.

Small steps. Having a student go from straight C’s to straight A’s may be asking too much. The same is true for wanting to have a family who never eats dinner together suddenly sit down at the table five nights a week. Success comes from breaking each resolution into small but achievable steps. Set up weekly goals for each person in the family in order to overcome barriers and create small achievements. Adding steps each week will insure a slow incremental achievement of the main goal.

Make a plan. Assess each resolution and make a list of what changes need to come in to play to have a successful outcome. A child who has not been known for good grades may need to have a tutor. In order to help avoid detention for being tardy, have a back-up plan for your student to take responsibility for making their lunch and setting out their clothing the night before. Move dinner back to 6:30 instead of 5:30 to make sure everyone is able to be there. Having a list of solutions for the resolutions gives everyone a roadmap about how they will reach success.

Coordinate. One of the main challenges with having family resolutions is time. While one parent is working late, another may be taking one of the kids to soccer practice, while the oldest child is at band rehearsal. Posting a calendar with weekly schedules for each person in the household will help everyone keep track of everyone else. This can help the children to know that the parents have early meetings on certain days; so being on time to the bus is a necessity. And parents can keep track of when and where the children’s extracurricular activities are taking place. It is also beneficial to provide each person in the family with a DayTimer planner. This will help keep the kids responsible for their own time and keep everyone organized.

Smile.  Stay light-hearted about the changes.  You can always start over at anytime.  And don’t forget, there’s another chance to create resolutions coming right around the corner.

© 2008 Laura Stack.  Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert, author, and professional speaker who helps busy workers Leave the Office Earlier® with Maximum Results in Minimum Time®.  She is the president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management training firm specializing in productivity improvement in high-stress organizations.  Since 1992, Laura has presented keynotes and seminars on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in today’s workplaces.  She is the bestselling author of three works published by Broadway Books: The Exhaustion Cure (2008), Find More Time (2006) and Leave the Office Earlier (2004).  Laura is a spokesperson for Microsoft, 3M, and Day-Timers®, Inc and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, CNN, and the New York Times. Her clients include Cisco Systems, Sunoco, KPMG, Nationwide, and 3M.  To have Laura speak at your next event, call 303-471-7401.  Visit www.TheProductivityPro.com to sign up for her free monthly productivity newsletter.

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