Monday, April 12, 2010

10 Tips for Managing and Organizing Your Family

We moms are essentially the CEOs of our families. We run the house and plan daily itineraries for everyone in it, including ourselves. And like any CEO, we're constantly on the lookout for ways to manage more efficiently. Today I want to share with you 10 tips that I've found extremely helpful for better managing and organizing my family. Feel free to leave comments if you have any tips to share that have worked well for you!

10 Tips for Managing and Organizing Your Family:

1). Get a Planner. All CEOs have them. Moms need them even more! Whether its a digital planner (via computer or phone) or an old-fashioned one like I have (made of paper), I've found my planner to be essential to my sanity! From doctors visits to family parties to little reminders I write for myself in the margins, if I didn't have a planner, I wouldn't be half as organized as I am.

2). Plan Your Menus. When I don't plan meals, everyone in my family loses. By planning a menu for every day of the week, and making a shopping list for it, I am better organized, my family eats healthier and we save more money. If you continuously 'wing it' and don't plan meals, you'll ending up spending more by eating some meals out and the hurried meals might not be as nutritous.

3). Cook for Leftovers. When you make a meal, make extra portions to save for quick meals later in the week. Or make extra and freeze them for future leftover nights. This will save you time and help you resist the temptation to head for take out when you need a quick dinner.

4). Delegate. CEOs run companies; they don't perform every job in the company. Neither should you. Enlist your troops and delegate chores, meal-making or other tasks. Even my almost 3-year-old daughter can fold some laundry and put some (unbreakable) plates and cups away. A family needs to work as a team. Let your teammates pitch in and help!

5). Don't Clean...Everything!It's important to have a healthy home, but with a family, keeping a house tidy all the time is next to impossible. Next time you're about to clean something, ask yourself if it's really necessary. If it is, great--scrub away! But if it can wait until you have more time or are going to tackle cleaning on a larger scale (or with the kids' help), save it. You might get a look of disapproval from your mother, but you're in charge here!

6). Learn to Say 'No!" Don't overextend yourself. You can't do everything all the time. It's okay to turn down requests for help from family or volunteering at your child's school. Don't feel guilty about turning down an invite if it's going to bog down your schedule or wear you out. Often I feel compelled to help everyone all the time and ignore my own needs. But saying no now and then is a powerful antidote to the need to overachieve.

7). Set an Alarm. Sometimes, when I'm surfing the internet, I completely lose track of time. Often, I'm snapped back to reality by a waking toddler or phone call. But if it's late and the rest of the family's asleep, I spend too much time on something insignificant when I should be doing something sleeping! If you only intend to spend a few minutes on something, it helps to set a timer to set limits and not spend too much time doing something you don't really need to do.

8). Do What You Can Ahead of Time. I make lunches for the entire family the night before when I have more time. That way, mornings aren't as rushed and hectic. I also make meals in advance, so on days that I work, I'm not rushing home from work and faced with hungry, crabby people. If you plan ahead and do what you can in advance, it makes for more relaxed schedules and happier people all around.

9). Leave on Time. Whether you're leaving for work, school or a family outing, nothing creates more stress than being late for an event. Stop whatever it is you think you need to be doing and make a habit of leaving the house on time. You'll be putting much less stress on your family and yourself in the long run.

10). Make Time for Yourself. Carve out some free time just for you every day. Even if its just a few minutes to yourself to enjoy a cup of coffee or talk to a friend. If you have some time to relax and take care of yourself, you'll be in a better frame of mind to take care of--and manage--others.

This post is part of a blogging contest from the TwitterMoms community. There is a chance this post could be randomly selected to win a $50 Target GiftCard, so wish me luck! For more details, you can view the contest page here (

To learn more about Icon Apps, a creator of cool iPhone applications that help people manage and simplify their lives, click here!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My Pal Writes for Army Wives -- It Premieres this Sunday!

My old college chum Becky is a writer for the show "Army Wives." So when I was contacted by a PR company to mention it, I couldn't say no.

I don't usually write about t.v. shows, but this one I must!

Army Wives follows the struggles, dreams and friendships of a diverse group of women – and one man – living with their spouses and families on an active army post. The series films in Charleston, South Carolina and stars Kim Delaney.

In researching scripts, my writing pro pal has visited Army bases and spoken with wives of military men. So while the story lines may be fictional, the heart and soul of the show may be based on real emotions.

If you haven't already checked it out, please do! You'll be hooked!

The show premieres on Lifetime this Sunday, April 11th, 10 pm ET/PT!