13 Smart Ways To Make School Pick-Up Line More Productive

Previously, I had written about some of the struggles of a working mom here. One of the things that I highlighted was the fact that my day was planned down to the minute. Therefore, if you’re like me, you seize every free minute that you have during the day, even when you’re waiting in line to do preschool/school pick-ups.

Are you always dreading school pick-up time? The school pick-up line can be brutal. If you’re late, you will end up being at the back of the line, but if you’re too early, you’re just wasting precious time waiting in line. The school pick-up line conundrum is very real, but there isn’t a right answer to this question.

The fact is, very few parents will say they have enough time during the day to get everything done. When valuable time is wasted just waiting, you will find ways to pass time while waiting in the school pick-up line. If you’re one of the moms who don’t like to get out there and socialize, that’s OK! Here are my top 13 ideas on what to do to make school pick-up line more productive.

1. Check emails

As a working mom, I am constantly bombarded with emails. There are only 1,440 minutes in a day, and if I’m going to spend at least 30 minutes waiting in line, I might as well check some work emails and send short responses if I can knock out some tasks.

2. Plan the menu for the week

Bring a planner, and jot down your ideas to make dinner time for the entire week go easier. Without any kids yelling in the backseat, I can actually think faster in silence, and have the menu for the entire week planned out within minutes. I also have my shopping list organized so it makes grocery runs a little easier.

3. Organize your calendar for the week

If you’re like me, I depend on my organizer a lot. All my important dates, client meetings, doctor appointments and reminders are in one place. I usually spend a few minutes at school pick-up time to look over my organizer for upcoming activities.

4. Read

Depending on how fast you can read, this can actually be an enjoyable activity. If I only have 15-minutes to spare, I usually bring along a magazine. However, if I think I’m going to have a good 30-minutes, I bring along a book, and go through at least a chapter. I absolutely love reading, but as a mother of two young kids, this is a luxury that I cannot afford anymore these days. Reading while waiting for school pick-up makes me feel so great!

5. Listen to an audiobook and podcast

If reading is not your cup of tea, try listening to an audiobook instead. Choose something fun to listen to and take your mind off the super long line, or learn something new by listening to a non-fiction favorite.

6. Catch up on phone calls

When I’m usually focusing at work during the day, I’m terrible at making phone appointments. I usually remember about that one dentist or hair appointment that I have to make as I’m driving. By the time I reach the school pick-up line, it’s still early enough to make those calls.

I personally don’t use this time to catch up with friends, but if you have mom friends who are also waiting in line to do school pick-up, this is a perfect time to do a quick catch-up with each other.

7. Clean up your car

While I do not recommend a deep-clean of your car at the pick-up line, a simple clean up can be oddly satisfying. I usually carry around a small vacuum in my car, and this is the best time for me to vacuum up those cookie crumbs and cheerios at the backseat.

I also come prepared with a plastic bag and some wipes to do a quick wipe-down of the dashboard, or clean up that random muddy footprint at the back of your seat.

Other related post: read here for other essentials for mom’s car that can come in handy during emergencies.

8. Pay your bills

If you pay your bills the old-fashioned way, then maybe this is something that you can’t do. However, everything is online these days. Online banking makes paying bills so convenient, and they can be done on-the-go.

9. Do kegel exercise

Well, this is unconventional, but without get real personal here, I actually think this is a perfect time to do your kegel exercises!

10. Catch up on daily news

As a working mom, I don’t have time to read or the watch the news. I’m often embarrassed at how little I know of the world, and my husband has become my source of important news. Well, the school pick-up time is the perfect time for me to catch up on quick world news.

11. Watch Netflix on your phone

Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I sat down in my living room to watch a proper movie. Whenever I tried to do it, my kids would interrupt me. I kid you not, it takes me half an hour to get through the first 10 minutes of a movie when my kids are home. What better time to catch up on your favorite show? The school pick-up line! Just make sure to subscribe to an unlimited data plan.

12. Knitting and crocheting

If you’re a master of multi-tasking, you can even listen to an audiobook while you work on that sweater. Every stitch counts!

13. Relax or meditate

Self-care is so important for busy moms. During the day, it can be overwhelming when you have little to no time to yourself because you’re so focused on work or your kids. Why not take the few minutes that you have to yourself, shut your eyes and take a quick cat nap? Make sure you set an alarm so you don’t oversleep. Alternatively, meditate if it helps you relax.

What are some things that you do to be more productive at school pick-up time? Since you have to be there to pick up your kids anyway, make sure to use the time wisely and make it count!

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