Visually Organizing Our Days — For Ourselves and Our Family
Boundaries and organization to your day facilitate active time too!
Our newsletters have focused recently on ways to use movement to organize and calm given all the turmoil in the external world. This edition provides a tactical focus supporting a more structured, productive day, and calmer household.
It’s magical how much a visual plan makes for a smoother day for everyone. Erika, one of our Bridging Specialists and a mom of younger kids, and I share how we incorporate visual planning into each day.
Adding organization and boundaries to simplify your day
These flexible days seem like more time spent doing nothing. I often end the day wondering what I got done.
Having a clear plan to get through the day makes it easier by just focusing on the doing. Plan the work, and work the plan, so the old saying goes.
Every week I start with two lists — one for weekly to-do’s, and one for the day. I think and plan once, then go through the day following my list and crossing things off. See more below.
Helping kids with structure to their day helps everyone
Your children benefit from a daily plan as well. It reduces uncertainty, and makes responsibilities clear.
Defining the basic tasks for the day in an easy to understand format is a great way to cut down on friction between family members. Kids know what they minimally have to do, so there are fewer nagging requests from parents.
Erika finds that pre-planned snacks are essential for keeping the kitchen from turning into a disaster zone. It also allows her kids to be self-sufficient without having to ask her for snacks all day long.
See below for Erika’s simple solutions for staying organized with kids.
Planning time for movement
A base element of our plans includes time to move or exercise. This is why it’s so important.
From a primal perspective, when we stop moving for more than 20 minutes the brain thinks it is time for sleep. With all the online webinars, meetings, or classes, we are definitely sitting for more than 20 minutes!
Our brains need planned times to move! Using simple tools for organizing your day, you can build time in for short movement breaks, which help the brain to stay engaged.
Lowering the bar by shifting the goals
The goal for your active time these days should downshift to just doing something. Chances are you’ll do more on some days.
A walk around the block, 20 minutes of dancing, five times up and down the stairs, etc. That’s all — you want it to be simple enough to actually do it!
Once the world finds a new state of being, we can go back to training for the next 5k, hockey game, or tennis tournament. For now, those are not the goal.
In general, we’ll all feel calmer and more secure when our days are organized. You can find tips to feeling more secure, calm, and organization in our recent newsletters.
Need help with getting your body more organized?
You can schedule a 30-minute virtual Zoom consult by e-mailing Cara.
New and existing clients are welcome to use this option.
Cara’s Daily Schedule
My focus gets easily distracted by email, phone calls and texts. I needed a simple way to get things done each day.
Weekly Goals: Once a week, I plan the key items for the week ahead. I usually do this Sunday evening.
Daily Goals: Each evening I sketch out the next day, hour by hour. First, I plan in my exercise times (based on the weather forecast or meetings). Then, I align the most important tasks to the open time, adding a side list of calls and emails to get to.
As things get completed, they get scratched out. Such a good feeling!
Erika’s School Snack Organizer
Tired of endless questions from kids while trying to work from home? Or tired of endless dishes from kids eating all day long? Erika shares what works for her family.
Set out separate bins/containers with a drink cup and snacks for each day. The assigned cup for the day cuts down on the dirty glasses. The designated snacks end questions and disagreements about what can be eaten and when. Added bonus — it keeps everyone healthier!
Erika’s Visual Day Organizer for Kids
Tired of reminding younger children what to do, day after day?
This style of visual organizer is a simple way to reduce stress for everyone. Cut a sheet of paper into 6-7 strips designating ‘have to do’ items, and ‘nice to do’ items. The task gets folded and ‘closed’ when done, providing a sense of accomplishment.
This is a great way to neutralize emotions related to so many parts of the day. Also – you can build in play time or exercise time for kids to look forward to! (If you have a printer, you also can use photos for the tasks.)
A New Perspective on eLearning
Our kids are learning more important lessons than academics this spring, writes KJ Dell’Antonia (WBUR-Boston).
We wanted to share this excellent article with a perspective on resilience, a skill only learned through experience.