Timesaving tips for back to school


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By now, most kids have gone back to school. That means many parents are back into the familiar pattern of rushed mornings and time-starved afternoons as you try to balance your life with the sports and other activities of your children.

It’s like that in my house as well. I don’t have any kids, but I have three younger siblings. My mom and 29-year-old sister work for the City school system, my 16-year-old sister is a junior at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, and my 11-year-old brother is a sixth-grader at our mother’s school.

Needless to say, by 6:30 a.m., anyone who’s going to school is out of the house and won’t be back until at least 4:30 p.m. before my mother and brother take off again for football practice three days per week. And this is all done by public transportation!

But since the time in the early 90’s when I was in middle school and got up at 5:30 a.m. to get to school across town, I have learned numerous ways to cut my prep time in the morning so that I can get more sleep, feel less rushed, and start my school days better. Some of these you probably know but haven’t done, but feel free to borrow from my list and leave your own tips in the comments section!

Top Five Tips for Saving Time on School Days

1. Pack lunch the night before.

With the exception of something that would get soggy if prepared the night before, get as much of your lunches together as you can. Even if that means grouping the items together in the refrigerator, but the point is to take as little time in the morning as possible to get lunches together.

2. Pack briefcases, purses, and backpacks the night before.

This is the same theory as the lunches, but with one huge benefit: you’re less likely to forget something important. We all know how sleepy we are in the morning and that makes it easier to forget important assignments and such. Do yourself a favor and put everything you need for the next day in their respective bags and set them near the door.

3. Keep your jackets and keys in the same place all of the time.

We can waste too much time and energy looking for bus passes, house keys, car keys, wallets, etc. because we don’t put them in the same place all the time. Establish a routine to put those items in the same spot each time you come in the house and you’re less likely to lose them and more likely to find them when you need them. Whether that’s a special dish in the kitchen or a hook in the hallway, make sure it’s a place where you can find your items when you need them.

4. Put out clothes and uniforms the night before.

You might be noticing a theme by now. I am all about doing as much the night before as possible and that includes setting out your clothes. This also ensures that you have something clean to wear and you can take care of any wardrobe problems (stains, tears, etc.) in advance. This also keeps you from having to spend 10 minutes searching for that other sock or shoe in the morning. That’s not fun at all.

5. Multitask during afterschool errands.

Who says kids have to wait until they get home to do their homework? In my house, we like to start homework in school, on the bus and on the practice field. That’s also because it’s easy not to make it home until 9 p.m. on a practice day. No one wants to start homework that late! Do as much homework as possible before getting home. And not having their computer isn’t an excuse either. If they need to find something on the Internet, use a smart phone or tablet.

So, there you have it: my top five timesaving methods for school days. Some of those tips work for other days as well, but just remember, the point is to save yourself time in the morning and start your day with less rush and fewer frustrations.

Again, if you’ve got some great timesaving tips, leave them in the comments section!

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.