Time management skills are essential at all stages of life. Whether you're a student-athlete or a busy professional, managing your time efficiently is crucial. Fall is definitely the busiest time of year for my family. We have the homeschool year starting for one son, high school for the other and four sports schedules to balance. Here are some tips for active sports families I have found helpful in keeping my homeschool, team manager and mom duties on track.
Use Technology – For the last three years I have used a team organization app for the teams I manage. I cannot stress enough how much this has helped. The initial set-up is time consuming, but you will more than make up for that in time-saved going forward. It's a great way to keep everyone on the same page.
Put it in the Binder – Each of the three teams I manage has different needs. For our club soccer team I know that I need player cards, birth certificates, medical releases, rosters, game cards and referee fees for each game. So, I take a few minutes before the season starts and load my binder with all of these things. I have talked with other managers and we all agree that we have nightmares about arriving at a game without the necessary materials. Keeping my binder up-to-date literally helps me sleep at night!
Multi-task – I know that from 2–8 p.m. I'm going be driving back and forth to practices each night, with a lot of time sitting around waiting. Here are a few ways to use that time wisely:
- Take a laptop to work on school, home and work duties.
- Go for a run or walk. It's fun if you get a group of parents to do this together. The time passes quickly and you can find out what's going on with your kid's friends.
- Listen to news radio or read the newspaper to keep up with current events.
- Keep tweezers in your car and use the time for grooming that often gets skipped when you're busy (you may get some strange looks but your eyebrows will look great!)
- Call family and friends to catch up with each other (but no phone calls while driving!)
- Make your weekly meal plan, which brings me toâ€¦
Prepping meals in advance – Without a doubt, this is where I struggle. On my best days, I will throw something in the slow cooker in the morning so that it's ready when we all get home at different times. Spending one day cooking and then freezing those meals for the week works well for me, too. I don't enjoy cooking, so my family and I eat fast food more than I would like. It's definitely an area that I plan to continue working on.
Even though things are busy, I constantly remind myself just how fast these years are passing. So, my biggest tip is to enjoy your kids. Use the travel time to engage them in conversation and find out what is going on in their lives. The talks we have in the car, even the arguments, help me stay in tune with them and more than make up for all of my efforts!
Lori is a member of the 2016 Disney Parks Moms Panel representing ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. She is here to answer your questions and help you plan your team's next trip.