How is your week going thus far? Mine. Better starting today. Why? Because today I started using my new schedule. Yay!
|Photo Credit: Alisa Ryan via Photo Pin|
I have been in a tornado of life for the past couple months, it seems. What was once a regular day-to-day routine turned into chaos, lack of set schedules, distractions, working into late hours, not enough time with my kids or husband, feeling overwhelmed and finally, about to crack!
What caused all this?
- The seasons changed. The kids are home for summer, first of all. This always causes upset to my work-at-home schedule because now I’ve gone from entertaining two to entertaining (and being the referee to) four! With all four home for the summer, they get on each others nerves, run out of things to do, get bored easily and I just don’t have the time to meet every perceived need they have. Nor the sanity to keep up with their varying habits: one is up at 6am and eats breakfast, another doesn’t wake up until nearly 11am, pushing her lunch to 3pm–way after the rest of us have had lunch.
- Work. On top of the kids being home for summer, I have taken on additional writing jobs. This is separate from my regular part-time work-at-home job which requires 4 hours of my day. Ideally without distraction, but c’mon…with four kids? Doesn’t happen. Little distraction is more of a realistic goal.
- Life. The Lord has moved us into planning for a ministry trip to Uganda next summer. Whew! This is a big one. It requires nearly a whole year of planning & preparing: mentally, spiritually, physically, financially. All while trying to live in the day and not get too far ahead of ourselves.
This is in addition to the ordinary daily tasks of being mom and wife, which I know many of you are familiar with.
|Photo Credit: PicJumbo|
About to come apart at the seams, I really had to break down in prayer and seek God for relief. The problem isn’t that there is so much to do, but managing the time in which I have to do it. I spent a couple of days examining how much time is wasted with interruptions and distractions. For me personally, social media is a huge time waster and distraction. Rather than a few minutes to update, I scroll and read and click and check-back often to do the same. Not good. That’s the first that has to change. Do only what’s necessary to manage my accounts and then walk away until I have spare time. (It does exist…lol!)
So what to do?
To remedy my poor (or should I say non-existent?) time management habits, I started with the things that are most important to me. There are certain things in my day that are crucial to my health, spiritual well-being and family relationships. Regardless of the paycheck, the house chores, or any other obligation, these are the things in my life that I cannot forsake. So my list began:
- Time with Jesus. Reading my Bible and prayer time.
- Time with my family. Chit-chat time w/the kids, husband & wife time, family activity time, reading time, etc.
- Keeping me healthy. Eat breakfast (I often forget to do this), exercise (it’s been a while), etc.
These three things are priority! If mom falls apart, the family falls apart. That’s just the way it goes.
After I set these three key goals, I wrote out everything else I do in an average day to give myself some sort of order. Structure is a necessity for this household. Not only does it aid me in my personal-home-work tasks, but it also gives my children consistency. Children need consistency. Free-for-all can be fun for a day or two but eventually leaves everyone feeling disconnected and chaotic.
For the kids?
In setting my own daily timeline, I also decided to put the kids on a schedule for summer. I don’t have a “wake-up” time, but I did set ideal (flexible of course) times for the following:
- Snack times. Four kids eating and snacking at different times causes too many fridge & pantry raids and leaves the kitchen a mess for most of the day.
- Lunch time. This makes an ideal mid-day family gathering for chit-chat we would otherwise go without. Even small chunks of family time give children the attention they need and helps to maintain a healthy family bond. Plus, it ensures I eat lunch everyday and don’t skip on my personal goal #3 – staying healthy!
- Chore times. I prefer before lunch, though the older ones are not happy with that.
- Shower/bath times. Most people might not need to schedule such a thing but when six people need to bathe each day, it’s best to have a shower schedule in my opinion.
What does my daily schedule look like now?
Here’s a general daily list, with areas of flexibility for the days we have additional appointments or events to attend.
- Snack, exercise, shower, dress, make bed. (7:00-9:00)
- Breakfast, prayer, Bible study. (9:00-9:30)
- Check messages, social media, post updates. (9:30-10:00)
- Work 2 hours. (10:00-12:00)
- Lunch with kids. (12:00-12:30)
- Work 2 hours. (12:30-2:30)
- Free time – hang out with kids, read, nap. (2:30-4:00)
- Prep & cook dinner, laundry, pick-up around house. (4:00-6:00)
- Dinner time. (6:00-6:30)
- After dinner coffee, read with kids. (6:30-7:00)
- Start bath/shower time, then bedtime for little ones. (7:00-8:00)
- Write 1 hour. (8:00-9:00)
- DONE! Spend the rest of the eve with husband and the two older kids, then bedtime. (9:00-11:00)
Of course, this doesn’t include every detail of my hand-written schedule but you get the picture. I also prefer paper to digital in these areas. Digital calendars are nice, but paper suits me for calendars, agendas and reading books (I love to have a book in hand over a kindle/tablet any day!).
After I finished brainstorming, I created this printable daily schedule with 30 min blocks to help track exact times. “Winging it” just doesn’t work for me.
The download file includes one .pdf with each day of the week. The individual pages include a blank date spot and a daily inspirational quote. I also included spots to set your daily goals (everyone should have at least one) and important reminders for the day. This is a good place for at-a-glance errands, birthday reminders, appointments, etc. At the bottom is a notes section I find most helpful for including notes about tomorrow or later in the week. This would also be great to laminate and use a dry erase marker for easy re-use. I made both a cute color version and a b&w for those who don’t print color.
Do you have a strict daily routine? Or do you find your peace in “winging it”?