Life as a parent is busy. Filled with family, home, work, and personal responsibilities, it can sometimes get overwhelming and hard to know where to start or what to focus on. One way to help make sense of it all is by using the idea of themes to organize your life. A theme is just simply an intention you set for your time or a category you assign to a task or project. Themes can be used to organize many different things in your life such as your meals, schedule, or finances and can be set up in such a way that makes sense to you. They are highly personal and will really only work if defined specifically for your needs.
Benefits of Using Themes
Using themes to organize your life help provide you better focus, help make things feel a little less overwhelming, and help set expectations for the entire family.
Provide you clarity and focus – rather than waking up each day and wandering through different things some of which may be a priority and some of which may not, you start your day knowing exactly where your focus should be and what you should be doing.
Help life feel a little less overwhelming – Using themes helps to block out the noise of life and when there is less noise and distractions, you are more likely to feel less overwhelmed and calmer.
Help set expectations and routine – Understanding expectations and establishing routines is a great way to help kids feel safe and understand their role better. So when they know that Saturdays are chore days they are less likely to complain and argue. It becomes more of “this is just what we do” instead of “this is what they are making me do” kind of thing.
So let’s look at a couple of examples of how you can use themes to organize your life.
Example 1 – Use weekly themes to manage your schedule
Sunday – Family Day
Monday – School/Sports/Activity Day
Tuesday – School/Sports/Activity Day
Wednesday – School/Sports/Activity Day
Thursday – School/Sports/Activity Day
Friday – Family Day
Saturday – Home Maintenance/House Cleaning Day/Projects
Example 2 – Use themes to create and organize a meal plan
Sunday – Soup and Salad
Monday – Chicken
Tuesday – Pasta
Wednesday – Crock Pot
Thursday – Fish
Friday – Mexican
Saturday – Grill
Example 3 – Use themes to help you organize projects
January – Project X (i.e. organize finances)
February – Project Y (i.e. organize photos)
March – Project Z (i.e. plan vacation)
Example 4 – Use themes to help you make change in your life
Rather than make a New Year resolution you won’t keep, try using a theme instead. So for example one possible theme may be “Health” and for the entire year you just set out to improve your health by reading books, joining exercise classes, trying healthier recipes, etc.
Themes help you categorize and make sense of all the things you’ve got going in your life. Give them a try by choosing to start in one area (i.e. meals, house cleaning, schedule, self-improvement). Once you get the themes established and a regular habit in that one area of your life, you can move on to applying the concept to a different area.