We’ve arrived at the last week of our 31 Day Organization Challenge: Life Edition. Hopefully you are already experiencing the positive changes in your life as a result of the last 3 weeks. Week 4 is packed full of simple changes that will have a big impact on your life. Push through and finish out strong!

Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment    – Oprah Winfrey

CLICK HERE to download the printable schedule for this week and post it on your fridge so you know what tasks to focus on each day.


DAY 1 – THE BUDGET

Getting your finances organized is crucial and this starts with a good budget. Whether you’ve always operated off a budget or you’ve never budgeted a day in your life, get on track today. Sit down and evaluate what money is coming in every paycheck and what money is going out. Set some financial goals for yourself. What do you have to spend on necessities every month? How much do you want to save? How much do you want to give? How much can you spend on fun stuff? Budgeting may require some major changes for your family but it is totally necessary.
Be sure to read our starter post: Budget Basics for Busy Moms! Check out these tips for Eating Organic on a Budget. If you are currently trying to conceive your first child or are pregnant, read 10 Ways to Budget Before Baby.

DAY 2 – THE BUDGET PART 2

Now that your budget is set, you need to keep track of all your bills and other expenditures. Try to track all money going in and money going out with a budget app. We love EveryDollar! You can enter your budget by categories and enter in every single dollar that goes in and out. The app makes it easy to keep up with everything because you can update it on the go. As soon as you splurge on a latte or pick up the dry cleaning, log it into the app and you are all set. You will stick to your budget and keep it all nice and organized in one place. Anyone in your family can log on to the same account with Every Dollar and you can stay on track with your financial goals together.

Another way to take the work out of bill paying is to use a bill paying schedule and take advantage of automatic bill pay for any bills that it’s available for like your cable or cell phone bill. Some student loan providers offer a tiny incentive to set up auto bill pay. Knowing when every bill is due will also help you ensure that the money needed is there when it needs to be. No overdraft fees for you anymore!


DAY 3 – MEDICAL HISTORY

Everyone in your family has their own medical history, needs and appointments to keep organized. Because medical information is so crucial, please use today to get all this information organized into one easily accessible place. A spreadsheet is a great way to do this.
  • Make a tab for each family member.
  • Input their allergies, medications, and contact information for any doctors you see regularly.
  • Include any special medical needs and history of problems or surgeries.
  • Finally, include the months that each family member will be due for check ups with their primary care, eye doctor, dentist and other specialists.

In case of a car accident, make a contact and medical information card for your child’s car seat. On an index card write out the following:

  • “My name is ______ . My birth date is _____ . My Mom is ____ and her number is 555-555-5555.  My Dad is _____ and his number is 444-444-4444. If you can’t reach them, please call my EMERGENCY CONTACT at 333-333-3333. My Doctor is ______ and her number is 222-222-2222.”  
  • Include any special medical information here like allergies, chronic conditions or medical devices that your child has. Include any doctors to correspond with that info.

Laminate the card and tape it to the side of your child’s car seat. First responders will now be able to communicate with your child if you are unconscious and will be able to care for your child appropriately with all that information available.

Finish up today by making sure you have your current insurance ID cards in your wallet so they are available when you need them.


DAY 4 – CALENDAR

Good calendar habits will keep you and your family on track. If you don’t already have one, start a personal calendar. Whether you use a hard copy calendar or a digital one on your phone, tablet or computer is up to you. However, keep in mind that a digital calendar is easier to share with other family members. You and your partner can easily sync your personal calendars if you choose the digital route. You also don’t have to remember to carry anything extra with you and can update your calendar on the go if it is on your phone. Once you have decided what type of calendar works for you, enter all your appointments and activities for you personally, for your family and for your work. A good idea to keep your calendar current is to update it at the same time every week. Make it a habit and you will stay organized.

Now let’s get the kids started with good habits too by getting them involved.

  • Look for a paper wall calendar with large blank squares for each day. A teacher supply store is a great place to find this. You could also make a calendar grid on a dry erase board and write in the month and dates each month.
  • From now on, all activities relevant to the whole family should be added here. Teach the kids to add their own activities if they are old enough.
  • Make it fun! Give each person their own color marker to write out their activities and appointments. Let younger kids decorate the calendar with stickers.
  • If a parent has to travel, the family calendar will make it easy to countdown until Mom or Dad comes home. You can also have countdowns to fun events or holidays this way.

Your kids will learn about scheduling, responsibility for their own agenda and if they are younger, this will teach them the days and months and help with numbers and counting. Life lessons and an organized calendar all at once!


DAY 5 – ADDRESS BOOK

Never miss a birthday for a friend or relative again and cut your holiday card prep time in half with a well organized address book. If you haven’t already, we recommend that you go digital with this part of your life too. Just like your family medical history, a spreadsheet is the perfect place for keeping this information up to date and easily accessible.
  • Only keep contact information for people you will actually contact.
  • For each entry in your address book spreadsheet, make it your goal to include an address, phone number, email address, birthday and anniversary.
  • Group people by immediate family. For example, do not make two entries for your married friends, Megan and Andrew. Put them together and include both their phone numbers, email addresses, birthdays and their anniversary. Also include the names of their adorable kids and their birthdates as well.
You can use your completed spreadsheet to set reminders on your calendar that you organized yesterday. No more belated birthday cards from you! And because your contacts are now on your computer, you can quickly import them into word processing or software from a label maker, making printing address labels or envelopes for holiday cards and invitations a cinch!
If you are already thinking about the holidays, here is a helpful guide for planning a stress free holiday season. It is never too early to start planning!

DAY 6 – CHORES

Keep your home running smoothly by assigning chores to everyone old enough to help out. Make completing chores a habit for everyone by keeping them organized. To get you started, here are 10 Chores for Big Kids. Help encourage your family by reading Making Chores Fun with Chore Charts.

DAY 7 – FAMILY & DATE NIGHTS

Life is so busy and unfortunately, quality time with your family can suffer. Don’t let this happen to you! We tend to schedule everything except family activities and date nights, but we expect family activities and date nights to just happen accidentally between all the stuff we already scheduled. Stop that! Make family time and date nights a priority.

  • Evaluate your family’s schedule and decide how many family activities and date nights you can commit to each month. Be realistic so you don’t have to cancel and get discouraged.
  • Keep your budget in mind when planning family activities and dates. There are lots of ways to have fun on the cheap!
  • For date night, if babysitting isn’t in the budget, plan a date night in and have a picnic on the porch or the living room floor when the kids are in bed. Turn off the tv and phones and enjoy one another without spending a dime. Enjoy these Ten At Home Dates for After Bedtime.

To make choosing a family activity fun for everyone, brainstorm as many ideas as you can and write them out on little scraps of paper. Put the ideas in a fish bowl from the dollar store. When the time comes for some family time, have one of your kids draw out an idea and that’s what you have to do. With a little creativity and organization, you can enjoy consistent quality time as a family and as a couple.


DAY 8 – SOCIAL EVENTS

Now that you have family time and date nights set, make sure you have other social events under control as well. Mama needs a girls night out! Make sure you are scheduling the social events for all your family and including them in your calendar. You can’t have Mama’s night out the same night that both kids have separate functions and Dad is going to a baseball game with a friend from church. Avoid double or triple booking and your whole family can enjoy all the fun stuff that they want to enjoy!


DAY 9 – FAMILY COMMUNICATION

You have your calendar set for your whole family and that is a great start at keeping everyone on the same page. Try to add in one night a month where your whole family gets together to discuss the calendar, family goals, family issues and to celebrate family successes. You can’t operate as a family unit if you are not communicating about life with one another effectively. Set aside time to do this as a group and you will stay connected with each other in new ways. This is especially important as your children get older and start living more independently. If you make regular family communication and having a family meeting a habit now, it can continue even after your kids move out by scheduling a monthly video chat or sending out a monthly email update to each other. 

Family communication is just as crucial if you are parenting after a divorce. Check out The Real Deal on Divorce and Co-Parenting for tips.

DAY 10 – FINISH LINE

Thank you again for joining us in the 31 Day Organization Challenge: Life Edition! Today, go back through all four weeks and try to finish up any tasks you skipped or that need a little more work. You should have seen through this challenge the places in your life where you excel at organization and the places where you need a little work. Take that information and use it going forward to continue to improve your organization where you can. Finish line crossed. Well done!


If you are feeling inspired for another organizing challenge, check out the 31 Day Organization Challenge: House EditionYou can also visit our ORGANIZATION category for lots of fun tips and ideas anytime.

Photo Credits: FirmBee, Dani

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