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Parents everywhere are thrilled to have their kids back in the swing of a regular routine.

Except for…homework!

The themes keep repeating: “We didn’t realize it would be so complicated,” “By the time we got started, the kids should have been going to bed,” “They couldn’t finish because we didn’t have the right supplies,” and the list goes on and on.

And what about grown-up homework? Do the beautiful Fall days have you planning your weekend instead of clearing that stack of papers off the dining room table or organizing your quarterly taxes?

a-calm-mind

The end of the month is the perfect time to wrap up all those half-baked projects and piles of clutter weighing you down. Here are 4 ways to finish:

The End Is Near… I have a friend who jokes, “Some things expand with the time you give them.” Block out beginning and end times for projects, and program a phone alarm 15-30 minutes before it’s time to wrap up. Playing “Beat The Clock” is fun for a while, but trying to be creative when you’re fried is never fun. Know when to quit.

Your kitchen is the new office. Don’t move your office to the kitchen counter – just apply your kitchen techniques to paperwork. Help your kids cultivate the good habit of breaking big projects down into bite-size tasks, just like meal prep. “History paper” is many steps, not a single activity.

Be expressive. Organizer Julie Morganstern suggests taking a few extra seconds to make your entries descriptive and action oriented. In an instant, you’ll know whether you have a 6 minute or 60 minute job ahead of you. For example, “Furnace” changes to “Call for annual furnace maintenance.” (Which reminds me that I have a 5 minute call to make!)

Finishing Feels Great! Are you in the home stretch of your day? Morgenstern also recommends asking yourself, “What can I finish?” rather than “What can I start?” Do a few easy things during the last half hour before you leave the office or wind down for the night. Encourage your kids to get their backpack loaded up, set a goal or two for the next day, or simply clean up your work area together so everyone starts the morning with a clean slate. End your day with a feeling of accomplishment!

Enjoy!