National Work & Family Month: Managing Home Life

The boundaries between work and home are continuing to blur, integration of personal activities into your daily organization is becoming essential. With employers expecting more from employees, how do today’s families juggle the demands of home and work life? TeamViewer and Harris Interactive polled American employees and 61% said they were willing, or planning, to work during vacation this year.

While there is never a silver bullet for the organization, below are tips and tricks to hopefully make your life a little easier.

Tip #1: Take it one week at a time.

Pick a day each week to start your planning. Find a central place to write down your weekly menu and extra commitments. Check the school lunch menu, check the kids after school activity schedule and check you’re after hour activities. Write down your commitments for the day then write your meals for the week. Start with breakfast, plan easy to fix items for days you don’t have to pack a lunch. Write down days you will pack a lunch and what you will pack. Finally, plan your dinners based on your evening activities. This allows you to purchase your groceries for the week at once and manage your family’s expectations for mealtime.

Tip #2: Embrace technology

Who is picking the Janie from Soccer? What do we need at the grocery store? How is Tommy doing in English? Don’t forget I have a haircut appointment next week, can you watch the kids? Yes, today’s parents are busier than ever but we have some tools at our fingertips that our parents did not. Grocery apps, calendar sharing, smart lists and social media have the potential to help streamline your life. But buyer beware, there is a healthy balance for technological tools. Sometimes the KISS principle is best applied.

Tip #3: Keep paperwork at bay

Mail, school reports, home repair warranties and bills can stack up and become unusable if not organized. How will you find the roof warranty if you need it? What will you do with all the amazing artwork Katy made you? Where is the dang water bill? Jeremy’s math homework is due tomorrow, can you find it? Invest in bins, binders, files and a shredder to keep paperwork organized. With color coding and a system in place, you won’t be scrambling to find the home warranty number when your toilet backs up in the middle of the night.

Tip #4: Plan your meals

Start out simple, plan breakfast and lunch each day for a week and get grocery items accordingly. Next, try adding dinner. Find a few easy meals that you can cook each week like tacos, baked chicken or pasta. Try some theme nights like “Taco Tuesday” or “Soup Sunday.” Embrace crockpot cooking, it will save you time and will make a delicious meal for your family. Pick a day for grocery shopping and make sure to carefully plan your list so you don’t have to go back. Post your meal for your family to see, this keeps you accountable and shows them what to expect and maybe (just maybe) they will help.

Tip #5: Keep up with cleaning

The house doesn’t clean itself, someone has to do it. If that someone is you, your whole weekend could be eaten up with dusting and vacuuming. Try dividing up the cleaning both daily and WHO performs the cleaning. First, make a list of the cleaning actions that need to be performed that week. Next, determine who will be responsible for performing the task. Finally, determine which day the cleaning will occur. Try using clever names like “towel Tuesday” or “floors Friday.” Kids can help too, find age appropriate chores and create checklists for them. Adults are not the only ones who like to check things off a list! Aside from daily cleaning, make sure to schedule a regular deep cleaning. Air ducts especially can make your job harder if they are dirty by re-distributing dust and dirt.

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