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5 Back-to-School Hacks to Save You Time & Stress

August 18, 2016



It’s that time of the year again. Kids are heading back to school, and we’re here with some back-to-school hacks to help make the transition and the school year easier.

bus-1319360_1280We parents dream of stress-free mornings where kids get ready with ease, eat a nutritious breakfast, and are ready to head out the door with everything they need in their backpacks and with time to spare.

Ha!  The reality for most parents is that they are scrambling every morning to get kids dressed, fed, and out the door on time with everything they’re supposed to have.

Kids are shouting about lost socks or underwear, homework gets forgotten, lunches are a disaster, and everyone leaves the house feeling frazzled and irritable. It doesn’t have to be the case.

In this post, we will share with you 5 incredibly simple back-to-school hacks you can implement to help you and your kids get organized and feel more peaceful and prepared each morning. These tips will ease your morning, prepare your kids have a better experience at school, and leave you feeling super.

1. Set Clothes Aside The Night or Weekend Before.
Many parents lose precious minutes every day because their kids don’t know what to wear and/or they’re searching for lost items.

This tip ensures that you won’t have to deal with these issues each morning.

The night before lay out EVERYTHING your child will need for school the next day – from undies to hair ties.

If you want to amp this up to the next level, get 5 gallon-sized plastic baggies and label each one with a day of the week. On Sunday, set aside and bag outfits for every weekday. All your child has to do is grab that day’s baggie in the morning and everything she needs will be in there.

2. Organize the School Folder & Backpack
Have you ever been half-way out the door or half-way already to school and had your child discover that they had forgotten their homework, to bring their uniform for that after-school sport, or to have you sign that field trip permission slip? There is a simple way to avoid this problem. Organize for your child or have your child organize his/her backpack and review your child’s school folder the night before school. Sign what needs to be signed, and make sure everything is in the pack – from homework to any items needed for the next day’s extra-curricular activities. Preparing the night before will save you from scrambling last minute in the morning.

3. Freeze Sandwiches.
The morning lunch prep can be stressful and very time-consuming.   One easy way to save time is to prepare the sandwiches the night or weekend before and freeze them to keep them fresh.

The trick is to remember what can and can’t be frozen and make sure the bread doesn’t get soggy. Bread, meats, cheese, and condiments are great frozen. Items that CAN’T be frozen are: lettuce, tomato, cucumber, celery, apples, grapes, and raw onion.

To keep your bread from getting soggy you need to make sure nothing watery can be absorbed into it. One of the simplest way to do this is to put a layer of something high in fat (like butter or peanut butter) over the insides of the bread.

girl-holding-up-a-plastic-bag-in-her-left-hand-that-contained-a-number-of-apple-slices-362x5444. Pre-Slice Apples & Other Fruit
Another quick lunch time-saver is to pre-slice and bag up fruit to easily grab and put into lunch. If you pre-slice an apple and want to keep it from turning brown, you can place it in a tub with some lemon juice or lemonade and water.

5. Use Checklists.
A big stressor and time-suck is having to remember everyone’s morning tasks and making sure everyone is doing what they need to. Creating checklists beforehand can help you easily avoid having to do that.

Our tip is to create a morning checklist for every family member. As long as they’re able to read, you can save time by not having to tell them what to do. All they have to do is look at their checklist and follow it.

My daughter’s checklist includes everything from brushing her teeth to making her bed to making sure she has everything in her backpack.

Use the Checklist Parent app to organize all your checklists, shopping lists and to-do lists in one place.

Let us know in the comments if you found these helpful and/or what your favorite time-saving hacks are?

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the co-owner and Chief Creative Officer of Checklist Parent.  She has made it her mission to empower parents to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, yogi, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Parent Facebook Page and on twitter as @monickpaulhalm.

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The Ultimate Time Management Strategy – The 5 D’s

June 7, 2016


Would you like to find out how you can more easily focus on the important people and activities in your life and easily dispense of the rest?   If so, you will want to learn about the time management system I learned about when I went to a real estate investment seminar in Dallas this past weekend.  You wouldn’t think that this would be the place to learn one of the most simple yet profoundly powerful time management techniques I’ve ever found, but it was.

A speaker named Beth Clifford, a mom and very successful real estate developer, shared this system.  She called it the 4 D’s, but I added an extra D based off of what she said.  I’m calling it the 5 D Method of Time Management. And here it is:

  1. Devote: Figure out what’s really important to do and devote an uninterrupted block of time to it.  Put out the literal or methaphoric “Do Not Disturb” sign and completely focus on the one important thing.#donotdisturbHow do you figure out what’s important to do?  When you’re dealing with a particular area of your life, ask yourself what one thing you could do that by doing so would make everything else easier or unnecessary?  That’s a great question for tasks.  At work, that one thing could be doing client calls or writing that one article.In your relationships, you could ask what one thing  you could do that by doing so would contribute most to making the relationship more loving and intimate?  In your marriage, that one thing could be a date night.  With your kids, it could mean spending time playing board games or reading aloud to them.Once you have it figured out, schedule a time for that activity and keep that time sacred.  No phone calls, social media, e-mails, other conversations allowed.  FOCUS entirely on the task at hand.
  2. Do It:  After you’re done with your Devote Time, there will be myriad other tasks that come to you.  The remaining 4 Ds will help you figure out how best to handle these tasks.The first of these is “Do It.”  If a task comes to your desk and it could easily be handled in 3 minutes or less, just do it.  Don’t wait on it and have it hanging over your head to steal your focus, attention, and brain power.
  3. delegationDelegate It: If it will take longer than 3 minutes and could or should be done by someone else delegate it.  Delegate it to your employee, co-worker, significant other, older child, etc.  Let someone else take care of it and then move on to someone else.  If you do delegate it, make a note to follow up to make sure it’s done though.
  4. Defer It: If it can’t be delegated and will take longer than 3 minutes, defer it until you can better focus on it.  The beautiful thing about focusing on the one thing in devote time, is that when you’re focused on the most important things you’ll realize that many lesser things never have to be done.
  5. Dump It: this is for tasks that don’t have to be done at all.  Just because someone asks it of you doesn’t mean you have to say yes.  Dump the fluff and you’ll find yourself with tons more time!

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom and stepmom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @monickpaulhalm.

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How this Busy Mom found 14+ Extra Hours a Week

April 9, 2016


How this busy mom found 14+ Extra Hours Per WeekIn the Checklist Mom “Peace of Mind – On the Checklist” Training Program, our time-management program for moms, I talk about a powerful tool called tracking that helped me find an extra 14+ extra hours a week!

Tracking is merely writing down how you’re spending all the minutes of your day.  I set a timer on my phone and then track whatever I have been doing for the past 30-60 minutes whenever it goes off.

iPhone timerDoing this exercise is so powerful.  After doing it for just one week, it helped me easily find up 14+ extra hours a week!

Before I got married and had children, I had a pretty good handle on time. I worked a very demanding job as a law firm associate (usually 60+ hour weeks), I trained for triathlons (usually 2+ hour workouts per day), I had a busy social life, I volunteered with several organizations… I did A LOT during my week. People would often ask me “how do you do everything that you do???”  I wasn’t really sure, but without trying too hard, I managed to do it.

When I got pregnant and had my baby things dramatically changed. All of a sudden, I could barely cope with just working and taking care of the family. I thought it was sleep deprivation and the demands of taking care of another human being.  Those contributed, but not as much as I thought.  It wasn’t until I started tracking and taking a good hard look at how I was using my time that I realized what a major change I had unwittingly made during pregnancy.

Before I got married and moved in with my husband I didn’t have a television. I hadn’t owned one or watched TV for at least 10 years. Even after I moved in with him I still pretty much ignored it until I got pregnant.

During my first trimester though I was so exhausted the only thing I had energy for when I came home from work was watching TV. I didn’t even have the energy to go out or to read like I had previously done. When I got home from work I collapsed in a heap on the couch until I was on the brink of sleep. I then dragged my weary body to bed where I slept for the rest of the night.

Me during my pregnancy.

Me during my pregnancy.

After that first trimester my energy started coming back, but I continued watching TV. I, my husband, and step-kids had gotten hooked on some TV shows. We all watched as a family and it felt very bonding. The TV came on after homework and generally stayed on until after bedtime. I didn’t feel like I watched “that much” TV, but when I actually tracked my time usage, I realized that I was watching 2 – 4 hours of TV per day! That’s 14 – 28 hours per week!! No wonder I’d been so much more productive before I got pregnant and had my daughter! I thought it was motherhood that screwed with my time.  The big issue wasn’t the kid. The issue was that I was now spending all those hours on my butt watching the tube.

When I became conscious of where my time was going, I decided that I preferred how I used my time before TV. I stopped watching TV for the most part and went back to reading books (one of my great loves), painting, going to networking activities, spending more quality time with the family, volunteering, putting more focus into my business, and other activities.

By doing this, I suddenly found time for things I had the hardest time fitting in before. I’ll still watch the occasional movie with my family but for the most part, my time doesn’t go to TV. I also cut out some other activities that were sucking my time and energy, but TV was the main one for me.

Something happens when you get conscious of what you’re actually doing with your time. I’m going to guess that if time is a problem for you, then you probably have little sense of where exactly your time is currently going.

I suggest that you start tracking.  It will show you clearly how you’re currently using your time – you will be able to make conscious decisions. These conscious decisions will allow you to feel more productive and will help you get rid of the stress, drama and guilt. You will probably choose to let go of activities and even some people that drain you. You will choose to say “No” to some people and you probably won’t be able to please everyone. But you’ll be pleasing yourself and that’s what’s great.

Tracking is just one tip in the powerful 10+ lessons of the Checklist Mom “Peace of Mind-On the Checklist” Training Program.

Checklist Mom - Peace of Mind - On the Checklist Training ProgramIt’s a program created by a mom (yours truly) for moms; has lessons that are super simple and quick to implement, is made to work with the powerful and free Checklist Mom app, is guaranteed to find you 3+ extra hours per week of guilt-free, stress-free, drama-free time for YOU to do with as YOU want, AND is on sale for a limited time.

If you’re interested in finding out more check it out HERE.

In the meantime, if you feel like time is a challenge for you try tracking your time and see what happens.  In my experience and the experience of my students is’s magical.  Let me know how it goes!

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom and stepmom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @thereikicoach.

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