Back to school and back on track

How to get organized again after the summer.
Published September 9, 2018

As summer comes to an end, it can be a bit overwhelming as we start getting back into our normal routines. We asked around for some tips to help us get organized as the kids go back to school and we get back on track.

Author, speaker, coach, and productivity expert Clare Kumar shares her advice in these five steps:

1. Reset your clock

“If during the summer, your schedule has shifted to take advantage of long summer evenings and later waking times, start adjusting back to your fall schedule at least a week in advance,” Kumar says. “Go to bed 15-30 minutes earlier each night until you hit your desired bedtime. It should allow you to wake each morning feeling rested after achieving the amount of sleep your body needs.”


2. Sync your calendars

“Spend some time entering all the appointments, meetings, holidays, professional development days, etc. in your calendars for the fall, and winter,” says Kumar.


She recommends having a paper calendar in a central place for everyone in your family to see and electronic calendars that can be shared with each other.


“This effort in planning will keep everyone on the same page and avoid surprises,” she says.


3. Organize supplies

“With a new fall schedule, it is likely that commitments and activities will have changed. Make sure you have what you need for each obligation, from school supplies to dance shoes, and soccer cleats that fit. Prepare a bag for each activity to avoid missing taking important things with you,” Kumar says.


4. Meal prep

“This is an all-year activity, but likely with the return to school, there may be more lunches needed. Consider cooking larger dinners and packing leftovers for lunch before you clean up for dinner.”


5. Getting organized at work

“We’re coming into the final stretch for 2018. Think strategically about what’s important to accomplish in the last few months,” says Kumar. “It may mean reprioritizing to hit your targets. Preserve your energy and ability to focus by keeping hydrated, fuelled with nutritious foods, and taking regular breaks.”  

If you’d like to take this post-summer organization period a little further and explore some of your deeper goals, Elana Marlo, Whole Person Certified Coach and Founder of Elana Marlo Coaching, has some advice.

Reflect on your top priorities for a fulfilling life. 

“What are you wanting to feel, experience or do? Start fleshing out your goals by creating a list, a mind map or a visual pyramid and begin to see how these desirable elements fit together or how they rank in priority,” Marlo says.

Break your goals down into doable baby steps. 

“Consider the smaller steps necessary to grow toward your bigger vision. Determine what tools or resources you might need to move toward your goals.”

This is where your plan can start to take shape, Marlo says. She suggests writing out a timeline or outline of your baby steps, and if appropriate, assigning dates for when you will take action.

Create a system to remember your goals and action plan. 

“You might set appointment reminders into your phone calendar or, if you prefer something more visual, transfer your goals to a paper planner or a dry erase calendar,” Marlo says.

If you’re the more creative type, she says, you might want to create a vision board or a collage of inspirational photos or words that relate to your goals.

Find the support you need. 

“Share your goals with your family members and see if they can jump on board! Invite a friend to keep you accountable and check on the progress of your action steps,” she says. “You might even join a group of people sharing similar goals as you, such as a runners club, study group or Facebook support group.”