Sports Families: 5 Helpful Tips For Better Time Management
Time flies when you are working hard and having fun. And that’s precisely what sports families do each and every day.
When your kids play youth sports, proper time management skills become a requirement. Between practices, team meetings, travel games, school, homework, work, sleep, etc. — you get the point — you’ve got a lot on your plate. Whether you’re the player on the field, court, pitch or ice, or just the parent and chauffeur, your family needs to glide along smoothly.
Here are five time management tips for sports families that may help achieve the goal of properly managing your family’s time. They might — big emphasis on might — even earn you a few extra minutes at the end of the day for some quality ‘you’ time!
1. Accept That You Can’t Do It All
This is the first step towards better time management, for anyone, and definitely for sports families.
For some people, it’s also the hardest obstacle. Our children look up to us like superheroes, which makes it all the more challenging when we have to admit — both to ourselves and them — that we can’t always do everything and we aren’t always on time. The sooner you accept this, the easier it will be on days when you’re a few minutes late to practice, or you can’t quite get to everything you want.
This time management tip extends to other members of the family. Your young player is going to have to learn that they can’t make it to every social gathering, birthday party or other activity that they want to go to. Other members of the family might also have to make scheduling sacrifices to make things work.
2. Prioritize Activities And Responsibilities
As we mentioned, there’s always going to be things you (or your kids) want to do, that just don’t fit into the schedule. Sometimes you can shuffle things around to make it work. But if that isn’t the case, then sacrifices have to be made, which is no one’s favorite thing.
To alleviate the nuisance of schedule sacrifices, it’s an excellent strategy to create a list of all of your calendar activities in order of their importance. When you go to add a new activity and run into a conflict, measure how important the already-scheduled event is compared to the new one. This will also help make it easier to justify your reasoning when your son or daughter wants to do something that doesn’t fit into the schedule, and you have to tell them no.
Budgeting your time appropriately also works, even if it doesn’t always apply. If practice is an hour long, it’s an hour long. But other daily activities don’t have concrete time parameters, which means how much time we spend doing those things is mostly up to us.
Just like you budget your finances to make sure you can cover all of your expenses, planning your time ensures that you properly manage all 24 hours of the day.
3. Create A Master Schedule
To stay organized and keep everyone on the same schedule, it’s good to create a master calendar that has everyone’s events. This makes it easier to plan out who is driving to and attending each activity.
Your master schedule should be on display somewhere at home so that everyone can see it on a daily basis, but you also want to have access to it on the go. A good example is to have a large calendar on the kitchen wall at home; plus everyone connected to the same Google Calendar, which also has everyone’s appointments, practice schedules, etc.
This is easy to set up, even if you aren’t very tech savvy. What’s nice about the Google Calendar is it gives you access to your master schedule at any time, so if you are out and need to make an appointment, you don’t have to second-guess when to slot it into the schedule. This seriously cuts down on scheduling-conflict-induced migraines. You can even change settings so other family members get notifications of new events on the schedule.
4. There’s An App For That
There are tons of time management apps on the App Store or Google Play. Some make it fun and easy to check items off a to-do list, while others let you track how much time you spend on each daily activity and so on. You might see your mobile device and smartphone as being a distraction, but these time management apps can make your family’s smartphone use productive.
Everyone handles time management a little differently, so the app that works for one person may not work for another. Your child may have an entirely different time management app than you, but as long as everyone is responsible for his or her time management, the family operates a lot smoother!
5. Plan For Downtime
As a sports family, there isn’t a ton of downtime in your schedule. It’s just the rare, odd pocket of time when nothing is scheduled.
Downtime is essential, and you don’t want to over schedule and gobble up every available minute. Downtime allows for just a brief moment of relaxation and reflection, which is crucial if you’re an athlete, mom, dad or any other living human being. In other words, it’s okay to take a few minutes off here and there and just chill.
Time management for sports families is an ongoing process, and you don’t have to get it right the first time (or the second or third). While you want to be a superhero parent, all good superheroes require practice, learning and time to reach the peak of their powers. Don’t be afraid to try new time management tools or tactics, even if your other efforts have failed in the past. You never know what might stick and allow your family to optimize how they spend their time.
While time management may be tough for sports families, there are resources like shared calendars and smartphone apps to help get you on the right path. Of course, taking better control of your sports life means realizing that you can’t do it all. When it comes to mouthguards, we can help you save time. Find out how below.
Guest Author: Emily Erson
Emily Erson, Hockey Mom Extraordinaire. Check out her blog, On the Job Mom.
From an article appearing on CrossIceHockey.com – For the Recreational Hockey Player. © 2018 Digital Media Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Published with permission.