August 13th, 2014
We are at that time of year when we go from summer mode to back to school mode. For children, this means new routines, new surroundings, new clothing and supplies. It is the perfect time for adults to change things up, become more efficient, and change how we deal with the papers that come home with our children.
Change your surroundings.
Hopefully we have designated a drop area for the children’s backpacks and homework area that is free of distractions. This is a perfect time for adults to re-evaluate their office space/work area. Is your current set-up allowing you to be most efficient? Is your space set-up in a way that allows you work and access necessary supplies without having to get out of your chair or leave your office? If not, move things around. It could be as simple as switching the location of your computer on your desk to rearranging all of the furniture or a new coat of paint. Tip: measure your space and furniture before moving it to make sure it will fit in a different location.
Create a family calendar.
This could be either a paper calendar that hangs in a central location where everyone can see it or a digital calendar that family members can sync to on their phones, mobile devices (iPods) or computers. As events that concern the entire family or specific family members arise, add it to the calendar. This could include doctors and dentist appointments, practices, meetings, family dinners, etc. Get family members in the habit of checking the family calendar before asking to make plans. I prefer a digital calendar because it can be updated and viewed from any web enabled device or computer.
How many times have you been looking for a paper that was sent home with your child and you are searching and searching and searching? If you work outside of the home, there is often time you need information that is either on the countertop or in a file at home. Scan all of those papers that come home with your children. Any handouts you receive at back to school night, team rosters or schedules, scan those too. You can either scan them using a desktop or travel scanner or use the Neat Mobile App. Automatic upload to Neat Cloud makes the documents easily accessible from anywhere on web-enabled devices or computers. You can create an online folder based on the child’s name or the name of the school or team. Searching for documents on Neat Cloud is much quicker and more efficient than searching for paper files.
Upgrade your supplies or equipment.
Before school starts, most schools or teachers provide a list of suggested supplies. Often times, this is the time of year we start off with new backpacks, notebooks, pens, etc. As adults, we can also use this time to evaluate our equipment. Is our current equipment serving our needs? Is it broken or outdated? Could upgrades to our equipment help us be more efficient with our time? I hear the average length of time of computer ownership before replacement is about 3 – 4 years. Why so quick? The advances in technology are happening so quickly that the information we are accessing on our computers takes more energy to run. We are also asking our computers to do more multitasking. The most common definition of multitasking relates to a computers ability to handle more than one task at a time. How many windows do you have open right now? How many apps do you have open? We are asking our equipment to do more than we have in the past. Sometimes an upgrade to our equipment helps us handle the tasks we are asking of it more efficiently. When computers first became popular, it was thought that it was the start of the end of paper. We now know that is far from the truth. However, we now have the ability to scan documents wirelessly and store the information in the cloud. Perhaps our thinking was ahead of its time when computers first became popular 20+ years ago. We can now run a paperless office by scanning information and using cloud based storage. Evaluate your equipment. Is it time for an upgrade? Tip: Check online for back to school sales. Many electronics and computer manufacturers run back to school specials on their equipment.
Get back to routines.
Summer is a time where things tend to me a little more laid back. Less routine. Been slacking off from exercise? Either get up before the kids and workout or go on a walk straight from the bus stop. Make a time to menu plan. By having menus designed for the whole week, you avoid make unnecessary trips to the grocery store. Create a consistent bed time. This helps both adults and children.
Take advantage of the back to school time to set yourself off on a plan of less stress and greater efficiency. Small changes can help you find more time in your day for family and for yourself. I hope your 2014 -2015 school year kicks off to a great start.