Tips + Tricks to Get Your Schedule Under Control

People are always tell me how organized I must be since we have six kids and I have my fingers in all sorts of stuff.

Know what I whisper back? “Don’t say that in front of my husband or he’ll die laughing.”

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I’m not, you guys. I’m just not mega-organized in all aspects of my life. The biggest source of struggle for me?

Scheduling.

But guess what…I have some fantastic tips on how to get a grip on it all!

Our kids after-school sports/activities schedule is on a separate calendar on my phone but I needed something for the every-day.

You know, so I don’t schedule trips on days they don’t have school, or don’t double book a doctor appointment on the same day I have a speaking engagement, that sort of thing. I needed to get a better grasp on things because I was drowning in double-bookings and scheduling things poorly, which wasn’t allowing me to accomplish all I needed to do.

Maybe you’re the same.

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Or perhaps it’s not work-stuff that’s bogging you down, but mom-hood in general (hand raised here!!). You know, things as simple as scheduling a get-together the night before your son’s huge science project was due (oops). Or maybe being excited your mother-in-law was coming to visit before realizing it was finals week for your oldest and they would be holed-up studying the whole time and not able to play.

A few months ago, my dear friend Lindsay Sherbondy (also known as Lindsay Letters) sent me a wall calendar unlike any I’ve ever had. A wall calendar? That’s it? That’s your amazing organizing tool?? (**yawn**) I’ve had one since high school.

No! No you haven’t!

This is different…and so is how Lindsay taught me to use it.

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But here’s the thing: it’s not just what we use…but how we use it!

First of all, let’s talk about how pretty it is. Everything Linds makes is like the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen. So there’s that. But you also have an opportunity to select all sorts of options so it fits perfectly in your space AND perfectly fits your needs.

  • weekly, monthly, yearly, quarterly, seasonal

  • kids schedule, kitchen (with foodie illustrations), traditional

  • calligraphy or typography

  • vertical or horizontal

  • wall-peels or framed (PS there are TONS of different framing and sizing options)

  • huge-sized, tiny-sized

  • big budget, small budget

Are you freaking out about all the options yet? I know…how do you choose, right?!

But here’s the great part: Unlike most calendars that are made of paper, this one is covered in plexiglas which means it basically lasts forever (there is also a wall-peel option, check that out too!).

After the month, quarter, year, or whatever, is over…you simply wipe it clean and start afresh!

Ok ready for some tips on how to use it to stay mega-organized??

tips:

I certainly like that dry erase and wet erase markers can be used for different purposes but what I LOVE is the ability to use more than just pens to help me remember various things. Because of the way my brain works, other materials such as washi tape, post-it notes, tags, etc easily pulls my eye toward exactly what needs to be done and highlighted… basically separating or classifying various projects and topics.

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Want to understand better what I’m talking about?

Head to this quick little video and see what I mean!

What do you think? Was that helpful? I sure hope so…because it’s truly been invaluable for me! And if you’re wondering, my calendar is The Quarter Cal.

I don’t have a ton scheduled for the rest of September but I know there’s a lot of travel, etc coming up in October and November so I went ahead and started those months a little early to make sure I’m set up for success!


Also…

If you haven’t already fallen in love with Lindsay’s crazy-creativity (and her dry humor…she’s just so fun. Check out her IGstories)…then I’m so excited to have changed your life for the better.

Head here to see more of her AMAZING hand lettering and artwork!

Take Joy,

Teresa

Hosting Tips (to keep your sanity + make entertaining easy)

WHAT CAN WE DO DIFFERENTLY TO MAKE SURE WE HAVEN'T JUST OPENED OUR HOMES, BUT WE HAVE OPENED OUR HEARTS? (an extension of last week's post: how to become the right kind of hostess)

Hosting Tips 

1. do things early

Do as much as you can the night before. I always try and cram too many tasks into a short amount of time, resulting in me becoming stressed and turning into a drill-sergeant as I bark orders to my family. Not my finest moment(s).

If you can't set the table early, at least stack your plates, serving dishes, napkins, and anything else you plan to use, on your buffet that morning, or the night before.

Use your crockpot! Even if you're making something which you may not typically use the slow cooker for (taco meat, for example), decide if it can be made early in the day and tossed into the crockpot to keep warm until dinnertime.

2. semi-homemade is fine!

I've given up on the idea that I can do everything on my own and from scratch. As much as I'd love to be Martha Stewart, even Martha isn't Martha! She has a TEAM to help her!

So it's MORE than ok to purchase something yummy in the deli or grocery store and transfer it to a favorite dish before folks arrive. Typically no one is the wiser, and even if they are...rarely do they care.

In fact, just last night I had ladies over for Petra (our prayer group). I set out wine, and a few little munchie-type snacks. Halfway through the night, a friend asked about the recipe for the cookies and guac.

My answer? "Haha weeeeell, the cookies are store bought dough I just slid into the oven before you arrived, and I added three extra avocados to the store bought guacamole...because the kids got into it and suddenly didn't look to be enough."

She looked at me relieved and said she was glad she asked, because she was feeling bad about her own hosting abilities. Uhhhh no, I assured her. I've had to give up on homemade everything a long time ago.

I do what I can, but a busy day and an afternoon full of kids, sports, and homework means pretty plates or bowls will have to make up for store bought anything.

3. be prepared

Keep a drawer or shelf with easy to grab items for when company stops by without much warning, or when your day goes awry and you don't have the time to prepare like you'd hoped!

In it, you could have a clean tablecloth (just toss it over the sticky, crumb covered table), fun napkins or a couple candlesticks and matches (so you don't have spend precious moments searching).

Try and always have some San Pellegrino or sparkling juice chilling in the fridge. And a cute glass or straw (most of my glasses are from Goodwill and straws are from Target).

And psst...I totally use bedsheets for tablecloths and wrapping paper for a table runner much of the time. Don't feel you need to spend money on a gorgeous table cloth.

4. greet

Greet your guests. Personally. Don't just yell, "Come on in! I'm in the kitchen!"

Take their coats and purses and either get them a drink, or show your guests where you've set out lemonade, wine, or whatever beverages you're serving.

Invite them into the space where everyone is gathering or where you're cooking so they can begin enjoying the evening, rather than being unsure where they should be.

5. leave it

Leave the dishes. Leave the mess...until AFTER everyone has gone. Where you spend your time while they're visiting is showing everyone what is actually of the most importance.

Feel free and clear the dishes when folks are finished eating and still chatting around the table, but drop them in the kitchen and come straight back.

Which is most important...a clean kitchen and full dishwasher...or the people sitting across the table from you?

6. accept help

Do #5 unless this happens. If someone asks to help...say YES!

If your guests want to assist as you finish preparing the meal or help you clean the kitchen afterward, don't be afraid to take them up on it!

Many hands make light work, right? You're not leaving your guests in the next room. Instead, you're engaging with them and having conversation while you complete your tasks and allow them to serve you as you had just served them.


Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully.

Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help.

That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and He’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time.
— 1 PETER 4:7-11 . THE MESSAGE

Take Joy,

Teresa