10 Tips to Organize Your Life, Family, and Schedule as a Nurse

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    Organizing your work day and family time can be difficult when you work odd hours and nontypical days. These tips, if utilized well will help you feel less stressed and more purposeful with your time each day.

    10 Tips to Organize Your Life, Family, and Schedule as a Nurse

    Organizing your work day and family time can be difficult when you work odd hours and nontypical days. These tips, if utilized well will help you feel less stressed and more purposeful with your time each day.

    1. Make a Calendar

    Call me old school, but you need a calendar when you are a nurse who does not work a day time 9-5 job. The calendar can be a paper calendar or electronic. I like Google calendars because they sync to our phones for my husband and me to stay on the same page.

    2. Talk to Your Spouse

    Yes, you have to talk to your spouse. Making your life organized doesn’t help when you are the only one organized. You two have to be on the same page. As nurse, writer, mom, and assistant photographer, I feel for my husband. He has to pull up our calendar every single day to see where we're going day to day. My kids, 4 and 11, are involved in sports, and by the way, we try to have a healthy marriage by making time for us.

    3. Make lunches for the next day, the night before

    I have learned this time and time again because I get lazy at night, or maybe I’m just tired (see #2). In the morning, it gets crazy trying to get ready for work and school, let alone make lunch. We try to cut back on expenses where we can, and buying kids lunches is one of them. We don’t buy lunch at work, so they shouldn’t at school. We have food to make sandwiches, it goes on the list when we go grocery shopping every week. My advice, make those lunches the night before.

    4. Make a list the night before your day off

    I understand the pure exhaustion after working 12-14 hours a day. If you get a chance when you get home, or even throughout your work day, make a list for the day off. It only takes a few minutes. My list tops with “wake up,” my husband makes fun of me. As a nurse, you know life and death happens, if I don’t wake up, how could I start my list? See the humor? Ha. If you have a plan, your list will happen. My lists go something like:

    • Wake up
    • Make coffee
    • Write an article for:___
    • Throw laundry in
    • Pull out stuff for dinner (frozen chicken, etc)
    • Make boys lunches
    • Make a grocery list
    • Shower
    • Get kids to school
    • Do work (sometimes I break this down into what I try to get done in the 1.5 hours of preschool time I have)
    • Pick up youngest from preschool
    • Library
    • Grocery store
    • Let the dog out
    • Flip the laundry
    • Write some more after time with the little one
    • Make dinner
    • Go workout with kids/their sports

    The night time is the chill time, whether it's catch up on an article, or catch up on our shows, or life.

    5. Stay Active

    You have to stay active, no matter if you are skinny or fat. It is helpful to your health physically and mentally. Schedule it on your days off, and into your life. Looking back on that calendar, make yourself accountable to working out at least 2-3 days a week.

    6. Cook on your days off

    Many of us struggle with dinners for our families, especially if you work 12-hour shifts. I have a friend who let me in on the biggest secret years ago, the crockpot. Bust it out, my friends. There are healthy dinners for you to make while you are gone, and your significant other comes home. If you don’t have a crockpot, cook on your days off. Casseroles are great and can last a few days. Freezer cooking is also very popular!

    7. Meditate

    Have you ever used meditation? It’s not voodoo; it’s very helpful to help you destress and refocus. One of my goals is to meditate every morning. I have read a lot of articles about very successful people meditating to start their days, and how much it helps them.

    8. Destress

    Destress in the way that helps you destress. Many of us are so busy we have never found out WHAT it is that can helps us destress. For myself, until I was in my early 30s, I didn’t realize how much I appreciate nature! It is incredibly therapeutic to me! Spending time hiking, running on trails, or just walking with my husband and kids helps me so much!

    9. Add learning into your day

    Don’t be overwhelmed; this is a tip everyone should add into their organization of their day and to do list. “Learn something new every day” is a quote I live by. I truly do. You have to; there is so much to learn in this world. Whether it is at work, something new about your kids, dog, neighborhood, car, whatever it is, dedicate yourself to learning. If you are like me, add the quote at the end of when you realize you learn something new. For example, “The mother regulates the temperature with her baby with skin to skin contact---hmm learn something new every day.”

    10. ENJOY your flexibility

    With your busy schedule, and feeling like you lose a few days every week to your job, enjoy the fact that you work three days a week. Sometimes, you can enjoy a nap at 3 pm on a Tuesday, when everyone else is working. Enjoy mall walking with senior citizens, enjoy going to the grocery store when no one is there, volunteering in your child's classroom, and most of all, having time for you.

    Family time and work time is very overwhelming, but making time for yourself should always be required. To be the best nurse, best parent, and best person you can be, you need to focus on yourself and getting your days in order.
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    About JanineKelbach, RN

    Janine Kelbach, RNC-OB is a freelance writer and owner of www.WriteRN.net. Janine has been an RN since 2006, specializing in labor and delivery. She ventured into writing in 2012. She still works in the hospital. She, her husband, and two boys reside in Cleveland, Ohio.

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    2 Comments

  3. by   prnqday
    I now work mon-Friday. Trying hard to adjust to life outside of 3 12s.....
  4. by   JanineKelbach
    Quote from prnqday
    I now work mon-Friday. Trying hard to adjust to life outside of 3 12s.....
    That would be difficult for me!!

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