8 things that are working well for me this school year

For the last few summers, I’ve written a post about what’s working for me during the summer.

This year, with school back in session, my schedule has changed dramatically.

For the past 13 years, I’ve always had a child (or many children) with me at home and I’ve packed all my work into the hours during preschool or when we had a nanny.

But now, Tally is in first grade and (pretty much) all my children are gone for around 7 hours every day. It’s a wild change after all these years!

Here’s what is working for me in this new season of life, now that we’re about a month in.

get things done

8 things that are working well for me this school year

  • Not looking at my phone until the girls go to school. I wrote a post about this last year and it’s still one of my most important habits. I do actually post my daily reel to IG when I’m done with my workout before I get ready for the day, but as soon as that’s done, I keep my phone off until everyone is out the door. It makes for such a calmer morning with plenty of time to help my girls get breakfast, do their hair, and read with them before they go to school (right now, I’m reading them The Story of Gumluck the Wizard).
  • Hybrid homeschool with Ella. Like last year, Ella goes to school part-time and does homeschool the rest of the time (which is why I said “pretty much” all my children are gone all day. She’s very self-sufficient and does most of her school work on her own (we do history together, she does math with my mother-in-law, and does online art classes from home), but it’s nice for her to be home a little more and have more flexibility. If you’re curious about hybrid homeschooling, I wrote a post about it last year here!
  • The Forest app. I’ve mentioned this app before, but it REALLY helps me stay on task and not be distracted by my phone while I work. I estimate how long a certain task is going to take me, set the app and then put my phone away and focus on knocking it out.
  • A fun to-do notepad. I don’t use a to-do list for my personal life, but I live and die by one for my work. This summer as I noticed my old notepad was getting low, I bought this library due date card one and it delights me every day! (And I do my best to make my to-do list for the following day at the end of my work day so I’m ready to hit the ground running the following day).
  • Turning off my phone and computer when the girls get home from school. This is something I’ve tried so hard to do for years, but now that I’m not SO pressed for time, it’s been much easier to turn things off (plus, now that I’m working more than I ever have, I’m often pretty ready to be done working by the time they get home). It’s so nice to feel focused on them when they get home and other non-work things I want to get done.
  • Owala water bottles. My girls have always had a mismatch collection of water bottles that leaked, were too big, hard to open, etc. Bart and I both got Owala water bottles last year (I have this one) and have LOVED them, so this fall I bought each of the girls one. They loved picking out their own colors and they’ve been such a better fit for that need. The two little girls got the flip straw kind and the two big girls got the free sip ones. If you’re in the market for a great water bottle, these ones are A+.
  • Bedtime reading on the back porch. This won’t last forever, but right now with the weather so nice, we’ve been doing our pre-bed read loud on the back deck. It’s so fun to be out there together and the girls color or just relax while I read aloud to them. Sometimes we read until it gets dark and other nights, if we start a bit later, I turn on the string lights and it really feels magical.
  • Weekly pickleball with friends. One of my friends organized a group of women to play pickleball one morning a week and although every time I think, “I don’t have time for this!” I’m always so glad when I go. It’s been fun to meet a bunch of new people and we only play for about an hour (usually 4-5 games) and it’s been fun to get better and be outside enjoying the beautiful weather. I hope we keep it going indoors once it gets cold!

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