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Tips to Survive the Back to School Crunch

Tips to Survive the Back to School Crunch


    It’s back to school time. Parents everywhere are steeped in the hectic back to school scramble, supplies, clothes, lunches, activities, car pool, after school care… The list is endless. We have to plan, prepare, shop, organize, schedule and then we actually have to make sure they get to school on time with supplies, lunch and completed homework in hand. It’s enough to make even the most organized among us weep with exhaustion. There’s no getting around the long list of school needs, but there might be some relief for the accompanying migraines.

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    Some Back-to-School Sanity Savers

    • School supplies – Buy school supplies as soon as you receive your list. Make sure you check sale flyers before you shop. Don’t forget to check your local warehouse club for bargains. It pays to buy extra, supply prices are at their lowest this time of year. If you have a stash of the basics, you won’t run out later in the school year, necessitating a 6AM trip to Wal-Mart for a #2 pencil the morning before a big test…maybe that’s just our house.
    • School clothes – Clothes can break the bank, like no other part of school prep. Shop all summer long, so that the expense can be spread out over several paychecks. Watch for those buy 1, get 1 sales, sign up for coupons and email notices from your favorite clothes stores and take advantage of those “the more you buy, the more you save sales.” It may be cheaper to buy several of the same jeans in different washes or shirts in different colors.
    • Sports equipment – If your kids play sports, then you know how expensive all that equipment can get. One way to save is to buy equipment or sportswear the next size up at the end of the season for next year. Most areas also have a second hand sporting goods store in the area. Or check eBay, Craigslist, etc. Another idea is to talk with your coach or fellow parents about organizing a swap or resale within the sports team. It’s a shame that perfectly useable equipment sits in a dusty basement, when someone else could use it.
    • Lunches – Plan lunches ahead. Look at the lunch calendar for the week and decide with your child which days will be buy days or bring days. Most schools now have a pay ahead system so that lunch money doesn’t need to be sent in every day. If your child brings a lunch, decide what those lunches will consist of and shop for the whole week. Again, stock up on snack items and non-perishables ahead. Granola bars, pretzels, drinks, etc. can all be bought in bulk. Pack lunches the night before if possible…and teach your child to make their own lunch as soon as they are capable.
    • Routines – Devise a morning, afternoon, and evening routine that works with your schedule. Create a checklist and print it out so that you or your child can check of each item as you go. Some sample routines include:
    1. Morning: Eat breakfast, feed dogs, get dressed, brush teeth, comb hair, make bed, and check backpack for lunch, snack, sports equipment, and homework.
    2. Afternoon: Unpack backpack, eat snack, homework, etc.
    3. Evening: Check school calendar for next day, pack backpack for next day, pack lunch if applicable. Discuss any activities, sports, daycare, and carpool arrangements with child.
    • Carpool – Talk to your fellow parents and set up a rotating carpool schedule if you can. Set up a phone tree or trade contact info. with other class or sports parents. *My best time saver has been trading cell numbers with other parents. We text to arrange rides, share schedule changes, ask about supplies, etc.

    Back to school will always be a busy time of year, but with a little bit of planning and organization, you can save a whole lot of time, money, and aggravation.

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    Do you have any back to school tips to share?

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    (Photo credit: Green Apple on Book via Shutterstock)

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    Royale Scuderi

    A creative strategist, consultant and writer who specializes in cultivating human potential for happiness, health and fulfillment.

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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