Almost every parent I know that sends their kids off to school spends time in the pickup line every day.
Back when we were kids, we rode a school bus – but then we lived about 15 miles out of town, in the country, and spent about a combined 3 hours each day on the bus.
While my kids have the opportunity to take the bus, the bus transportation is limited to need. And since it’s limited to only a few handfuls of kids, we forego the bus so that I can take them. I’ll admit I’m hesitant for them to take the bus now too because I know first hand what kids are like from my bus experiences and I really don’t wish for them to experience that bullying on their bus.
So the days roll by and Mom has to trek to school with all 5 kids – getting there in the morning seems to be more of an event than picking up – and perhaps that’s because getting everyone up, dressed and fed is more effort at 7 a.m. than doing that with 3 kids at 2:30 p.m. as we head in to get the oldest kids.
When the school year started, the parent pick up line was over an hour .. and for the first week, I rolled up at 2:15 p.m., for release at 3, so I could finally start moving at 3:15 (the key word being “start”…) ..Sound a little crazy? It was. I remember putting the truck in park and letting out a huge sigh …hopping on my phone and telling my husband I was tired of it already and it was merely the second day.
He didn’t really seem to be bothered – but then it wasn’t him sitting there for an hour – he just picked them up last week and said to me “boy. That line is crazy. Do you sit in that every day?” No, I fly in and pick them up in my helicopter.
If you are faced with a long 30-60 minute parent pick up like I am, the best thing to do is to make that time work for you. It took me just a few days to put a plan in place so that I could make use of that time. That hour is now my golden hour:
- My youngest 3 use that time to take a nap, as they are buckled in their seat which means .. they can’t really move too far
- The truck is quiet – if they aren’t asleep by the time we pull out of the driveway, when we pull in and park in the pick up lane, the urge to snooze takes precedence
- I have the essential oil diffuser in my cigarette lighter, with a USB port IN that diffuser, which diffuses my oil of choice to help my mind unwind
So what do you do as you are “parked” in the carpool pickup lane to help yourself in terms of productivity? (Keep in mind, we are talking about being in “park” — not doing these things as you drive, because that obviously isn’t safe!)
#1 – Read a Book
Have a book you have been wanting to read and can’t quite find the time to do it at home? Crack it open in the carpool pickup line – once you put the truck in park of course. Keep the book in the car, so that every day at the same time, you can mark off another chapter.
Don’t know what you want to read? Here are some books we have on our list this year that are geared towards personal enrichment and productivity.
#2 – Listen to a Podcast
Do you follow anyone who has a regular podcast? If not, find someone that attracts you and play the podcast during this time. Take notes to help you reference the material later.
You’ll want to make sure your Smartphone is fully charged or, on the charger, to allow yourself the time to listen – even if the pickup is a little shorter on any given day, as long as you take away something from the podcast it was worth it, right?
#3 – Replay the Dave Ramsey Show
Do you listen to Dave Ramsey? I love the Radio Show – it’s inspirational to listen to, and it’ll help keep you motivated on your financial journey – no matter where you are. Use the time to catch his radio show – from your phone.
#4 – Plan or Fine Tune your Budget
Pick up any of these Budget Apps we recently recommended and help yourself fine-tune your budget.
If your finances are your priority this year (and they are always mine!) then you will want some help with better focus on where your money is going.
Even better, if you are with an iPhone or Android app you can use any of several FREE apps available to help you learn where your money is going, get alerts for bills, and see how much money you have left (to save, or even apply towards debt repayment!)
#5 – Make Non-Virtual Contact with Someone
So much of our life is based on Facebook contact these days ~ we say Happy Birthday through Facebook, we send messages through Facebook and we even do birth announcements through Facebook.
Take it a step further and write someone a short letter/card – and address it in the car. Drop in the post box next time you drive back in that direction. OR, hop on the phone and call a friend – and give him or her ten minutes of your time to have a real conversation. Your friends and family will appreciate the extra time you took to reach out to them, especially in a way that wasn’t dependent on Facebook.
#6 – Clean your Purse
I know I’m not alone when I say that my purse can get pretty cluttered – take a few trash bags and keep them in the car so that you can clean out your purse as you sit there in the parent pick up. Sort the items into piles, and organize everything as you put it back in your purse.
#7 – Meal Plan
Don’t have time to sit down and make a meal plan during the week? Take the initiative to plan out your meals for the week using your notepad feature of your cell phone. Peruse Pinterest and set up a Pinterest Board to help give you ideas or look for new recipes.
Make your list of what you might need based on what you remember having in stock at home. Wednesday – Friday is the perfect time to plan for the upcoming week – so you can shop over the weekend for the things you need.
#8 – Make Important Phone Calls or Return Voicemails
Take this time to return calls left on your voicemail or, to call those people you have to take care of business with. During the day, some of us might have problems doing that at home because we have kids that are far from quiet… a simple phone conversation entails getting the kids to focus and get along on something for a mere 5-10 minutes, which can almost be too much effort for what it’s worth.
Obviously these tips are meant to be shared for those of us who spend 45 minutes to an hour lined up at the school in park waiting for our kids. Once the school pick up line starts moving, however, put away your productivity and save it for the next day – because at that point it’s all about movement (and safety!) It’s important to have your phone put away and your focus on driving safely up to the curb when school is released.