I wrote last month about the importance of prioritizing. There is so much going on and so many demands on our time that if we sweat the small stuff, we will lose sight of what’s important!
In my family, school is a priority. But knowing that, even saying it, does not make it happen. But you know what does make it happen? Systems. Putting systems in place to make sure we complete our priority tasks makes a huge difference in getting things done, staying focused, and feeling a sense of accomplishment at the end of every day.
The picture below is an illustration of the system we use in my house to get homework done:
- I give my kids the autonomy and responsibility to manage their homework
- I set expectations and I make myself available as a resource: I expect them to put forth their best effort and to understand that neatness counts. I also expect them to complete their homework before they do anything recreational.
- I am direct – I ask them to show me their grades – I follow up and it’s not an empty “threat”: if their grades start to slip, they have to explain what happened and provide me with a corrective action plan.
- Get organized – get engaged – get support: by this, they understand that I mean pay attention to your schedule (know when your homework is due and what your activities are), and understand that school is important and get creative to make it fun. We’ve discussed that group messaging and study buddies are fun and effective ways to get engaged. Lastly, we’ve discussed self-advocacy: ask teachers, coaches, or me for help when it’s needed.
- And we have consequences – my daughter has a sass jar and my son has a complaint jar – money motivates teens. This money system has significantly reduced back talk when I need to remind them that school comes before recreation.
Other examples of homework systems might be:
- When kids get home, they get x amount of time for a break and then it’s homework time. Projects are put on the family calendar.
- Pre dinner is break or social time, post dinner is homework time.
- There are designated places to do homework and projects, such as the kitchen table, the den, or the bedroom.
- A system of rewards (no dessert before homework) or consequences, such as forfeiting money or privileges.
Systems like these aren’t only for the kids! Think about your priorities, and imagine systems you could create to ensure that your priorities get the attention they want and deserve. Your priorities might be:
- Family time.
- Paying your bills/spending time on your finances.
- Self care.
- Planning the week/meals.
- Continuing education.
How could you design a system to ensure that you attend to your priorities? Share some ideas in the comments!