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10 Organizing Tips for Road Warrior Parents

Parenting is always a challenge, but particularly so if your work requires that you travel. Don't be too hard on yourself or on them when you find it difficult. Here are some tips you may find helpful:

1. Communicate with your family regularly about your travel schedule. If possible, post your itinerary in a prominent place, such as the refrigerator.

2. If your spouse also travels, exchange itineraries. Create a method for a daily "check-in."

3. Whenever possible, establish a regular "check-in" time with the family so they can expect your call. Encourage every family member to have a file folder and/or checklist for "things to discuss" when you call.

4. If you have small children, send a postcard from the airport when you depart so it will arrive the day after you leave.

5. If you use a computer, and have one at home, send a daily e-mail message to the family, or a more personal message to each member of the family.

6. Let your child know you think education is important by participating. For example:

? If you like to give presentations, offer to speak to your child's class on a topic related to your work or interests that might interest him

? Send a postcard to your child's class at school. The teacher may appreciate the opportunity for a geography lesson.

7. Create a checklist to prepare for travel. Keep photocopies near where you store your suitcase, so you can use one each time you pack.

8. Ask your children to give you a photo you can carry with you ? it will remind you of why you are working so hard! Be sure to leave one for them.

9. Streamline housekeeping, yard maintenance, housekeeping, and shopping. Consider using outside services for some routine tasks, so you'll have more family time when you are home.

10. Have a discussion with your children about your travel.

? Barbara Hemphill is the author of Kiplinger's Taming the Paper Tiger at Work and Taming the Paper Tiger at Home and co-author of Love It or Lose It: Living Clutter-Free Forever. The mission of Hemphill Productivity Institute is to help individuals and organizations create and sustain a productive environment so they can accomplish their work and enjoy their lives. We do this by organizing space, information, and time. We can be reached at 800-427-0237 or at www.ProductiveEnvironment.com

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