It’s almost that time — you’ve got your summer tan, your new summer hammock is well worn in, and you’ve set a new record for “most epic belly flop.” With Labor Day fast approaching and the 4th of July seeming like a distant memory, it’s time to face the music: it’s back-to-school time. Before cluttered calendars, busy mornings, and the sound of your alarm clock get the best of you, take a deep breath and relax. Getting yourself from the dog days of summer to the hustle and bustle of school life doesn’t have to be an awful experience. There are plenty of shortcuts and tips to help save time, money, and sanity. We’ve already got you covered with a list of our “go-to” back-to- school life hacks right here, so check them out and remember: deep breaths.
1. DEFINE YOUR PRIORITIES
Instead of saying, I don’t have time for that, try saying it just isn’t a priority right now. We all have a to-do list, but there is a difference between what we need to do vs. what we feel like we need to do! Ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen if I don’t check off everything on my list? Prioritize. What is the most important part of day? What do I absolutely need to get done? If you ask me, a priority should always be your health. Schedule it into the to do list. Oh and dare I say it? Practice the art of saying, “No.”
2. PREP YOUR MEALS AHEAD OF TIME
Take one day a week to plan out and prep your meals for the week. Lots of things can go into the freezer for the week ahead, so give yourself some dedicated hours on a weekend to prepare breakfasts and lunches for the whole family and store them in the freezer. Some freezer-friendly items include:
- Pancake batter (just pour in a plastic bag and leave some room for when it expands as it freezes)
- PB&J sandwiches
- Snap peas
- Smoothies/Shakeology (make a bulk batch and freeze each serving in a bag)
3.BUST OUT THE CROCKPOT
Speaking of meal planning. It’s also crockpot season. At least twice a week during the fall we select healthy, easy crock pot meals. This is a great option for evenings that are filled with family activities, running around, and carpools. Also the crockpot bag is a great way to avoid clean-ups too!
4. MAKE AN APPOINTMENT FOR “ME” TIME
It’s obviously important to get everything on your to-do list done, especially during this time of year, when the lists seem to never end. However, you also have to take a few minutes for yourself every day as well. Just like you would schedule in an appointment or meeting in your calendar, schedule time for yourself. If it’s actually in your calendar, you’re more likely to keep to your schedule and force yourself to a few minutes of relaxation.
5. OUTSOURE & DELIGATE
If you’re tired of doing it all, look at that list and think about who can help you tackle it all! Perhaps you can look at your family finances and decide if you can afford a little extra help. Rely on others too. CCan your husband tackle the piles of laundry? It’s not a poor reflection on you for asking help. In fact it reveals organization and establishes a more consistent routine. I call that winning!
and a few more of my favorites…
KEEP ‘EM MOVING WITH A TIMER
Want mornings to move like clockwork? Make it fun for the kiddos by setting a timer (your oven, microwave, or smartphone will do), and giving them 5 minutes to get their stuff gathered and out the door.
A PICTURE’S WORTH 1,000… MINUTES SAVED
Encourage your kids to pack their own bags, tidy their own rooms, and even make their own breakfasts. Easier said than done? Not if you photograph their best pack job, clean room, or Pinterest-worthy bowl of cereal. Hang the photos somewhere they can see and challenge them to “match the picture” every morning.
A NEW TWIST ON THE LUNCHBOX ICEPACK
Create your own ice pack with a frozen juice box. By the time they eat lunch, the juice will be thawed, their food will be fresh, and there won’t be a drippy ice pack for you to deal with when they get home.
Whether it’s different sets of keys, your kids’ notebooks, or your meal tupperwear, it’s going to be faster to grab-and-go if you can find it more easily. Use colored nail polish or colored stickers to mark your stuff. Grab-and-go will have a whole new meaning.
It’s amazing how a few quick tricks can help you make the transition into fall. Sure, the family is crazed with adjusting to the new routine, but that doesn’t mean you have to be too. With these few hacks, you can manage (once again) to be the coolest head in the house.