The start of the school year can be really overwhelming for mums. There is a lot to organise and wrangling the family out of holiday mode sure can be challenging. It can be daunting just thinking about getting everyone out of bed, ready for school, and out the door on time! But it doesn’t need to be stressful or overwhelming, Leanne Baker will be sharing some of her strategies for getting and staying on top of it all this year with the magic of routines. The best part? It can be implemented all year round.
Source: Leanne Baker
As a mum of two school aged boys (one starting High School this year!), I know well as anyone the challenges that are presented when starting a new school year, here are my top tips to start feeling more organised.
- Establishing evening and morning routines is critical.
- A load of laundry and dishes each day to avoid uniform and lunchbox overwhelm.
- Find a planning system to keep track of school events and after school activities.
- Reducing the noise and pressures from social media and doing what is right for your family/household.
- Giving yourself grace as you learn what works best for you and your kids/household.
Remember too that your water intake and the amount of sleep you get each night can also make a big difference to how you feel each day.
Morning and evening routines go hand in hand together to create magic!
One thing a lot of people don’t realise is just how important your Evening routine is for success the next day. During Project 14 (my online organisation course) people are surprised that we cover Evening Routines first, before Morning Routines.
Source: Leanne Baker Daily: Create Space Planner
These can be as long or as short as you need. For example, if you are in the season of life where you have young children, you will most likely need to focus on rest and sleep, so you will want your Evening routine to be as simple as possible, so that you can prioritise sleep and some self-care, which will really help you feel better the next day.
If you are in a different season of life with older children, then perhaps you can focus on a hobby or spending time with a loved one etc … and include this as part of your Evening routine.
Our routines do not have to be complicated or extensive to be beneficial. It is what we do consistently every morning and each night that will add up quickly.
When creating your Evening and Morning routines, remember also to work with the time of day that is best for you. Do you thrive in the morning or the evening? Do you have more energy in the morning or the evening? Identify the time of day that is best for you and work with that. For example, if you wake up early and are full of energy, then perhaps you can have a longer Morning routine than the evening. Perhaps you are someone that likes to go to bed with a clean kitchen at night and it’s important to wake up to a clean kitchen, so you will put that in your Evening routine. Alternatively, you might prefer to have a quiet night and wake up and tackle the kitchen, so you would include this in your Morning routine.
Source: Leanne Baker
Here are some of my suggestions for Evening routines –(many of these can be in your Morning routine if you have more time and energy in the mornings rather than at night!):
- Doing one load of laundry (if you haven’t done it earlier, so that everyone has the clothes they need for the next day)
- Do a 15 minute tidy-up around the house (this isn’t cleaning or housework, it’s putting things back where they belong, tidying the kitchen, putting washing away, clearing the dining table etc ..)
- Reflect on the day – what worked and what didn’t? If you can recognise what is consistently not working in your day, then you can make positive changes.
- Plan out what needs to happen the following day – What are your priorities? Write out your “List of 3” (three most important tasks for the day). What appointments or activities are on? You can also do this in the morning as part of your Morning routine if you prefer.
- Spend some time on yourself – fill that cup back up.
- End the day connecting with loved ones.
Commit to one positive change you can make to your Evening routine.
When creating your Morning routine think about what you can do so that you can slow down and stay calm. This is something I learnt with my boys – if I remained calm, they did too, and our mornings ran more smoothly than when we were rushing around and all getting stressed and upset with one another. Perhaps this means you get up a little earlier than your children and get ready first, or sit down with a quiet cuppa and plan your day.
If your children are older and can prepare and eat breakfast on their own, you could use that time to get yourself ready or to plan out your day, or clean the kitchen dishes etc … and if they are young and need more support then you may want to keep your Morning routine as simple as possible. Making lunches the night before can really help with streamlining your mornings.
If you are just starting out and don’t have routines in place yet my advice is to start small and build up your routine from there. Stick to the basics and don’t try and overdo it at the start. Put one or two new things into place and then add to them once these first two have become a habit. If you do have routines in place, spend some time reflecting on how they are working for you, and make changes or adjustments as needed.
It’s no secret that I am a big fan of planning and to me planning out the next day of an evening, or the day ahead in the morning really helps to keep you focused and avoid procrastination. I schedule what I am going to do in the morning, afternoon, and evening. This gives me an opportunity to be more efficient with my time by grouping tasks together and identifying the priority tasks and activities for that day.
Lastly, please keep in mind that life happens, and some days (and nights) things just don’t go to plan. I would really like you to remember that’s okay and perfectly normal. Aim to be consistent at least 80% of the time, be kind to yourself always and give yourself grace to learn what works for you and your family. There is no right or wrong to this – you need to work out what is best for your household.
Whatever season you are in now won’t last forever, so try and enjoy it.
You’ve got this!
Leanne Baker is a mother of two boys, a high-school maths teacher, and owner of two very successful businesses – Leanne Baker Daily (her daily and weekly planners and products) and Project 14 (her 14-day online organisation courses). She lives in Bundaberg with husband Tim, and their two sons. They also have a large fur family – 2 alpacas, 2 miniature highland cattle, 3 silkie chickens, 2 cats and 2 dogs. Leanne was born and grew up in South Africa and moved to Australia with her family when she was 12. Family is Leanne’s top priority, and she is very close to her parents who also live in Bundaberg.
Leanne is passionate about helping people reduce the overwhelm in their lives and help them to create space for what matters most.