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Time Saving Tips from the Trenches: Family Time Management

Many teens—and some adults, too—struggle with estimating how much time they need to complete their tasks. Leslie Josel, creator of the website Order Out of Chaos, says, “The problem with organizing time is that it’s very difficult to see. It’s amorphous. It passes.” She recommends making time tangible for your teens.

Josel suggests an analog (non-digital) clock in every room of the house—even (especially!) the bathroom—so that your kids can see time in tangible wedges rather than as an abstract number.

Although they’re old-school, a family wall calendar and a physical academic planner can also be good ideas. “Teenagers go to their phones and get distracted by all their social media,” says Josel. Paper helps give weight to obligations.

And parents: We are always trying to cram one more thing into our schedules. Here are some time saving tips to help your busy family make the most efficient use out of your day.

Time Saving Tips From the Trenches

Easy breakfast. Egg and cheese sandwich on a roll—to go.
—Alisa Greenbacher

Lunch hack. Help your kids make big batches of favorites like chili and pulled pork and freeze them in thermos-sized portions for thaw-and-go lunchbox packing.
—Michael Millner

After the game. Empty sports bags right when they come home—for example, bags of sweaty workout clothes should go right in the washing machine, so as to avoid the dreaded “Are there any clean shorts?!” cry on a school morning.
—Ann Hallock

Be prepared. Pack lunch the night before, pick out clothes the night before, and make sure the laptop is plugged in before bed.
—Jennifer Lawrence Birnbaum

Phone-free time. Phones stay downstairs/away from where they are doing homework (also a good time to charge them).
—Ann Hallock

Maintain a bedtime. Know how much sleep your child really needs (it’s probably more than you think), and make every effort to have them in bed with the lights off before they actually need to be asleep. Take away the electronics and plug them in somewhere other than the bedroom.
—Launa Schweizer