Summer can feel hard to let go of, but the time you spend now establishing routines really will make the whole year run more smoothly.

For me, the number one thing to take care of once I had some time alone with my laptop was to set up our family calendar for the next school year. This meant going through my inbox (so many emails!) and making sure I had all the key dates recorded. For many of us, this will include:

– School calendars, including back to school nights, holidays, and early release dates
– Sports, including practices and games (and the moment you inevitably ask yourself how everyone will ever get to all the things)
– Business holidays for anyone working outside the home
– Birthdays and anniversaries (set these up as repeating events so that they’ll automatically appear on your calendar every year)

Time to do things you really care about. Have a weekly date night or want to set time aside to spend with a friend, your partner, or your kids? Put it on the calendar! Even if it’s not set in stone, having the time carved out to do something that makes you feel good helps you to make time for it in your life.
Exercise or whatever kind of self-care works for you. Putting this on your calendar makes it a priority and sets your intention for the week ahead.

Once you’ve recorded all the key dates, find a way to share your calendar so that you are not the keeper of all knowledge. We use iCalendar, but there are loads of options, with Google Calendar being popular and well reviewed. The color coding makes it easy to see who needs to be where when and you can share the calendar with members of your family so that when they ask “when is soccer/dance/winter break” you can gleefully say “check the calendar!”

If a paper organizer works better for you, great. If you’re very visual – or have younger kids who don’t have devices – and it helps to have a white board calendar, do that.

What’s most important is that you set the foundation so that you know where your family is going (and that you keep adding dates as they come in!). It’s a small investment of time, but really will help you feel more organized all year long.

CK Guest Editor: Shauna Yule Brasseur
Founder, Lovely Life Home
LLH on Instagram and Facebook