Back to School Tips

Well, like everything else in 2020, going back to school is probably a little different for you this year.

Some are going back to school wearing masks;

Some are staying home and learning online;

And some are doing a hybrid of the two.

Among other lessons in 2020, one thing I am definitely learning is how to be flexible and adapt as I try to plan for the future. 

But that doesn’t mean I’m giving up on being organized. More than ever I am an advocate for planning and organizing. If ever there was a time we’ve needed the consistency and the normalcy that comes with an organized life, it’s now.

We just need to be agile enough in our planning to hit the moving target that is our social reality right now.

Today I thought I’d share a little about how I am adapting my routines, working on back-to-school shopping, and – most importantly – organizing my mind with specific and deliberate attitudes for this next school year with my kids.

And if you have any tips please comment below. I love to learn from you! 

  • Shift Your Routines. As you know, the most important tasks that keep our homes and lives running (like laundry, grocery shopping, going through mail, answering emails, cleaning and picking up the house. etc.) are completed most effectively when couched in a routine. If normal life isn’t what it used to be, this is the time to shift those routines to accommodate the new normal. To begin creating a new routine, ask yourself:
    • When will the kids be in school?
    • What are the pockets of productive time you can count on?
    • How can you put boundaries around that sacred time so you are using it in meaningful and productive ways that bring order and purpose to your life? 

For example, my kids will be in school two days a week. Because I have creative work I can’t do when they are home, I will NOT be using that precious time to menu plan or do laundry because those are things I can do when they are home. However, if you have very young children, it might be vital to use that sacred alone time to get those essential routines done. Note that getting things done in effective routines looks different for everyone due to varying circumstances. Additional questions that might help you create a routine that really serves you are:

    • What work must you do without interruption?
    • How can you align school, nap, and work schedules to give you that time you need?
  • School shopping. One of my signature coaching strategies is the concept of “batches;” in other words, doing all related things at one time so you don’t waste valuable time transitioning in and out of various activities. When it comes to school shopping in batches, get all the underwear and socks and shoes and jackets and backpacks and school clothes in one concentrated fall shopping session, rather than continually addressing needs as they crop up. Transitioning in and out of activities eats up so much time and mental energy, it just makes sense to get all the shopping done at the same time. Then you can use your time and money in more meaningful ways in the months ahead, avoiding that extra trip to Target for things you could have taken care of while school shopping. Additional tips:
    • Take inventory of the kids’ needs before you shop
    • Stick to the list of what you know they need! It’s easy to get romanced into buying extra stuff when you are in the moment, but a list made ahead of time will keep you on track with your budget.
    • Reach out to teachers prior to school starting to see if you can get a supply list taken care of while you are shopping for clothes
  • Masks for the kids. Here I could use your help. While I am eager to do my part to be a good citizen during this pandemic, I have various concerns about my kids wearing masks for hours at a time. Nevertheless, masks are required almost across the board, and so we need to find the best ones for the job. I would love to hear from you if you have a suggestion. Currently I am eyeing THESE MASKS. Note that I haven’t received them yet, but I’ve had them recommended to me and they look very comfortable. Please reply and share your thoughts on this one!


  • Organize your attitude. When it comes to organizing your life, you can’t overlook the importance of organizing your mind. One of my definitions of organization is “arranging things to create the best-case scenario.” In that regard, our thoughts and attitudes always need a lot of decluttering…(we have a lot of unuseful thoughts floating around in there!) As we start the school year it is an especially good idea to examine your thoughts and attitude and purposely and deliberately choose the lens you are going to look through during this school year. Ask yourself:
    • What are some positives that are coming up for your family in this unique school year?
    • What complaints do you have that you can do nothing about? Can you experiment with letting those thoughts go, since thinking them won’t change anything?
    • How could you leverage the current circumstances to do things you have wanted to do but haven’t done before?
    • Could you capture these thoughts in a theme that can help everyone stay focused in this positive mindset?

Our family theme for the school year is “Best. Year. Ever!” For example:

    • The kids are home from school three days a week? Awesome!…We get to sleep in, have outdoor adventures, and spend more time together. See? It’s the Best. Year. Ever!
    • The kids are doing more work online? Great!…They can finish it at their own pace and have more free time. See? It’s the Best. Year. Ever!
    • I have less time to focus on my business? Interesting…I’m going to seize this opportunity to spend more time with my family. See? It’s the Best. Year. Ever!

This is a critical time to teach your kids how to organize their attitudes so they can view life through a favorable lens.

If school starting doesn’t impact your life much, there are certainly other curveballs that might be throwing off your groove . The ability to shift routines when circumstances change, accomplish projects in batches, and organize your attitude are definitely tools for the 2020 tool bag.

Don’t you just love life?! Constant opportunities to learn and grow.

And please share any of your thoughts in the comments below.


  1. Lara Dinkla says

    I am not sure where you live, but in our small town in TX there are many listings on GarageSale websites of people in our community making and selling masks. Also a little alteration shop is making and selling masks. Before shopping at Amazon, see if you can help out a neighbor. Order 1 from each place and see what you like best then go back for more. Also you might see if they will make masks from fabric that you provide.

    • Jenny Layton says

      Love this comment! Thanks for the great ideas – hopefully we can look in these types of places and support local businesses. Thanks Lara!

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