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Youth Sports Survival Tips: Make Lists, Keep Calendar

I remember the knots I used to get in my stomach trying to run my own business and get my two baseball-playing sons to practices and games on time. Here's  how to survive being a sports mom without having a nervous breakdown:
  • Make lists.  I'm a list-maker. It helps me stay organized, which is the only way I know to balance a personal life (career, husband) with kids' athletics.

  • Use a calendar planner.  My calendar has an 8 1/2 x 11" page for every three days, and they are FILLED! I list the phone calls I have to make each day, the stops in the car, the correspondence, the writing I have to get done.

  • Plan your trips to save driving time and distance.  When my kids were growing up, their activities and times were at the top of each date on the calendar, and car pool arrangements were next to each activity.  The trick is not only to list what you are doing throughout the day, but to put them in an order that allows you to drive the shortest distance and save time. Sometimes I put phone calls I need to make right at the top.

  • Keep a separate grocery list.  The only thing I don't put in the calendar is my grocery list. I have a separate sheet for that. I guess you can tell I don't bother with a Blackberry - it would take me way too long to enter the items and I couldn't read three days all at once. But the same organizational tips I used can be adapted for Blackberry, iPhone, or other smart phone users.

  • Know where your calendar is at all times.  Of course, it's pretty essential that you know where you put your lists, or this exercise is futile! I keep the calendar next to my purse (or in it) and the grocery list in a pouch on the side of my purse.

  • Keep a notebook handy.  A long time ago I began to keep an open notebook for lists of things that pop into my head. Now that I am a published author, I write down a great-sounding phrase or a page reference for a really unique idea that I just read. When I owned an interior design company, I used to jot down ideas for my clients' designs. Some people use a little recorder. My list-making turned into journals, and that's how my first book, Minor League Mom, got started.

It's easier for me to have a starting point for the day from lists than to begin from a blank slate, just as writing from journals is easier for me than from a blank slate. I know that when I leave the computer after writing for a number of hours (or a job), I will spend the least time necessary getting things done.

Pamela Carey is a former teacher and interior designer and the author of the recently published book, Minor League Mom: A Mother's Journey Through The Red Sox Farm Teams, about her experiences as the mother of former Ivy Leaguers who spent seven years in the Boston Red Sox minor league system.   She lives with her husband, Charley, in Westport, Massachusetts and Delray Beach, Florida.


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