August is Back to School time for a lot of us and the perfect time to get your head back in the game after a summer full of fun! Start thinking about getting organized, implementing a helpful schedule and really being efficient with your time. This month's challenges will help you do just that!
I don't know about you, but summer has flown by for us! We took a break from our monthly challenges to really focus on summer and it was amazing! But now it's time to get back at it and really get productive!
That's right! This month, we’re focusing on productivity! We all have different areas where we need to be more productive, so take our suggestions and put them to work on your specific pain points. This way, you’ll get the most out of the month and will be ready to tackle whatever comes your way. Ya ready? Let’s go!
BACK TO PRODUCTIVITY MONTH
It seems impossible that it’s almost time for the kids to go back to school and that it might have already started for many of you!
HOW TO GET STARTED:
Step 1. Print the Back to Productivity Month calendar – if you're not already on the mailing list, SIGN UP HERE to get the August calendar emailed to you.
Step 2. Follow along! Each week there is one main challenge for you to focus on all week. Plus a bonus challenge, tip or helpful habit to keep you focused half-way through the week. Then of course, wrap up the week with a simple date or family night to help keep you focused on the people that matter most.
Step 3. As always, adapt the calendar to work for your needs and help you get the most out of the monthly challenge.
Who is ready to join the challenge!?
SET YOUR SCHEDULE WEEK
Are you ready to set up your schedule? This week’s tasks are probably the most important of the entire month. Having a good block schedule will revolutionize the way you live your entire life.
A good block schedule not only helps you get more done in a day WITHOUT burnout, helps with time management, and makes your home insanely stress-free, but will also magically free up HOURS of time for you to fill with things that fulfill you most. You know, all the fun things you never feel like you have time for! Read this post to find out the hows and whys of block scheduling. I have my pom poms out and am cheering you on!
If you already have yours made, you’re not off the hook! Take some time to look it over and see if there’s anywhere you can make improvements or changes so your days are more efficient. Maybe you need to split up one of your blocks or make one longer. You might even find out that it’s already perfect and you don’t need to change a thing!
BRAIN DUMP CHALLENGE
As a helpful hint this week, try to start brain dumping at night. When you get in bed or right before you get it bed, grab a notebook and pen and write down whatever is on your mind. Maybe you need to make a phone call the next day or there’s a bill that needs paid. It doesn’t matter what it is, just take the time to get it off of your mind. You’ll have a better night’s sleep because you dumped it all out before you started dreaming!
GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS CHALLENGE
This week is a little special! For those of us heading back into a new school year, it is crucial to readjust our goals and expectations with our families. We suggest holding a “family council,” as we call it. Talk about the upcoming school year, set some family goals, as well as personal goals for each member of the family.
Here are a few routines and expectations you might want to review with your family:
- Screen-time boundaries and expectations – remind your family that screens are a privilege, not a right!
- Morning routines including setting alarm clocks, getting breakfast, etc.
- After-school routines including homework, chores, play time and dinner
- Night-time routines including bedtime
This week we’re focusing on everyone’s favorite topic…organization. Not your favorite?! Don’t worry, we can help! Focusing on things that aren’t your favorite will help you improve those areas that probably need a little more help. If it is your favorite, go ahead and have a little dance party because this week should be a piece of cake!
I don’t know how it is in your house, but when school starts the amount of paper, artwork, and homework floating around can get out of control. I LOVE seeing what my kids are doing in school, but all the extra paper needs to be handled immediately or I’ll be nominated for an episode of Hoarders.
Take the next few days and set up a system and place to manage all of the extra “stuff” that comes with this time of the year. This post on how to get rid of paper clutter will be REALLY helpful if you’re stuck!
It’s also a good idea to either set up a place or evaluate the existing place in your home for backpacks, purses, lunch boxes, shoes and everything else that you and/or your kids bring into the house.
PANTRY ORGANIZATION CHALLENGE
For our midweek challenge this week, we suggest tackling your pantry! Getting restocked and organized allows everyone in the home to have a little independence which helps in more ways than one!
Stock it with easy-to-grab healthy snacks so that everyone has something to grab in the morning and throughout the day as needed! Having a designated spot for the kids (or YOU) to grab healthy snacks without question will save your sanity! If you’re stuck and need a few ideas, this is how we do it in our house!
If you’ve been following me for long, you know what I’m a HUGE fan of “set it and forget it” systems. This week we are going to be building systems that will make your life SO. MUCH. EASIER.
I’m about to share a ton of systems you can set up that will change your life! A lot of these involve kids, but can be easily adapted to any situation. Don’t feel like you have to do them all. Just pick 3-5 and start knocking them out. In a few weeks if you feel like you’re ready to add more, come back to this post and knock out a few more.
- Clipboard System
- Prep day for the week’s food
- Lunch System for Easy Packing
- Laundry System
- Chore System
- Speed Cleaning System
- Meal Planning
- Homework System
- Nighttime Routine
- Keep Your Car Clean
- After School Routine
CLEANING SCHEDULE OR CHORE CHART
One system I strongly encourage you to create is a family cleaning schedule or chore chart and start doing it! This is a pain point for so many of us and it really doesn't need to be. One person shouldn’t be responsible for cleaning or even tidying everything on a daily basis.
It’s more than okay to get everyone involved. In fact, this is a life skill that everyone needs to learn and experience. We talk about how important it is to get kids involved in the cleaning all the time as it helps them learn how to contribute meaningfully to the home environment. Plus, if they know they are responsible for helping to keep it clean, they will be much more mindful about the messes they make.
Need help getting started? Make it a game or make it fun by blasting some tunes while everyone works on their designated chores. It doesn’t have to be boring! Just set up a good plan and you’ll barely have to manage it.
IT'S ABOUT TIME WEEK
This week we’re talking about time. Time is one thing that we wish we had more of and never seems to slow down. I wish I had a revolutionary time machine for you, but I’m not quite done inventing it yet! The truth is, if you do the simple tasks suggested this week, you’ll feel like you have more time. Don’t believe me? Try them and prove me wrong! 😉
If you often start the day in a haze, unmotivated or not sure where to focus your time, this new habit will CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE. You ready for it??
Simply take a few minutes before you go to bed to prep for the next day will make your mornings more smooth and make you feel like you have more time. Believe me, I know that crawling into your nice warm bed at the end of a long day is WAY more appealing than prepping for the next.
However, when you wake up, you’ll be able to immediately tackle your day without worrying about everything you prepped the night before. This post has 7 of my favorite Nighttime Hacks to start your day right.
If any of these tasks are tasks that you can involve the whole family in, we highly encourage you to make it part of the family's nighttime routine so the work doesn't all fall on your shoulders. Here are some tasks we suggest tackling the night before to make your mornings run super smooth:
- Set out backpacks, coats, shoes, and homework
- Set out everything for work
- Pack lunches
- Prep a quick breakfast
- Prep dinner for the next night while you’re already cooking dinner
- Make your to-do lists
- Big ol' Brain Dump
- Double breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks for later
- Lay out clothes for the next day
- Speed clean your house
- Run the dishwasher and start a load of laundry
DOUBLE AND FREEZE CHALLENGE
Anything you can prep in advance makes a world of difference down the road. If you're making sandwiches for lunches, you might as well make some extras to toss in the fridge or freezer for later in the week so that they're ready to just grab and go!
One day of prepping a little more, might take a minute or two longer, but it saves time. Just think, you don't have to spend the mental energy on it, nor the time cleaning up! Because you already did it once!
This goes for any meal – breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. All these meals you can double the amount you prep and freeze or store for later in the week to free up time! We often prep breakfast for the whole week on Saturday and work together to prep lunch and dinner items over the weekend as well, to make our whole week run more smoothly.
YOU MADE IT THROUGH PRODUCTIVITY MONTH
I hope by the end of the month you’ll be feeling more productive and centered! For even more help and suggestions on ways to Do Life Better, check out Productivity Boot Camp. It includes 28 videos and a 30 page digital Productivity Planner Workbook designed to help you get your productivity in gear! Plus you get access to our private and encouraging Facebook Group full of people just like you working to become the best versions of themselves! Use code FCFBLOG for 10% off.
Don’t forget to share your progress with us on Instagram and Facebook! Tag @FunCheapOrFree and use #FocusOnProductivityMonth.
If you want to be featured on our Fun Cheap or Free Instagram account include the #FunCheapOrFreeFeature when you post to let us know you would be happy to be featured on our FCF feed! We can't to see how you get down to business this month!!