Why does it feel like some people are more productive in a day? Why don’t we have enough time to get it all done? We have the same 24 hours in a day, so that must mean we can organize our days wiser, right? Now that our kids are getting back into a school routine, let’s look into how we can order our days and see the freedom it gives us!
Schedules Give Accountability
People who know me best would laugh that I am writing an article on schedules. I am the one running late, double booking appointments, and generally not the one fitting everything neatly into a checkbox. But I have found, I am more productive, proactive, and joyful when I put systems into place for myself and my family. Even when I do not follow them perfectly, it gives a skeleton for making better use of my time when my tendency is to check one more Instagram story.
Setting Up a Family Calendar
General Schedules. We all need them. They help us keep track of meetings, vacations, games, appointments, and time with others. I am currently taking time to make a master calendar for our family. I combine the calendar from my phone, my husband’s calendar, and all of the kids schedules. Sounds tedious, I know. The kids always want to know the plan and ask, “What are we doing ______? Fill in the blank. We can sync our calendars on our phones, but it works better for our family to have a central location for a big family calendar.
Your kids can pencil things in if needed, everyone can glance at it on the way out the door, and it is put up where everyone can see it and knows where it is. Having it in a central location cancels out one more, “Mom!” that you might hear that hour; every bit helps your sanity!
Daily Block Scheduling is my favorite! We tend to overschedule when we are being too specific with our daily routines. Sometimes it’s overwhelming because life happens and there is no margin when every minute is scheduled. We all know you need to leave margin in your life! Block scheduling is so effective for moms because we have different compartments/hats/roles we play. So it is nice to have allotted time for each role. Block scheduling for me is set up in 4 sections: Morning Routine, Errands, Kids Home, Night Routine.
Morning to After School Routine
My Morning Routine block is from 6-11am. During this time I have five hours to complete a series of “to do’s”. I get up, get the kids up, breakfast, devos, plan dinner, one load of laundry, exercise, read 15 min., answer texts/emails, school related tasks, research, planning, etc. I need to complete my list in that block of time. At 11am, I move on to the “Errands” block outside the home. This generally would be from 11-3 for me. This time I am grocery shopping, taking care of returns, dry cleaning, meeting a friend for lunch, visiting someone in the hospital, etc.. I know this next block will be done before I pick up kids at school. Once the kids are picked up, we have a “Kids Home” routine for when they come home from school, unpacking bags, unpacking lunches, regroup ,free time, homework, time with kids, dinner prep, and this carries us through dinner.
After dinner, from about 6-11pm, our “Night Routine” will carry us all to bed eventually, making sure we are ready for the next day. Again, sometimes these are loosely followed when we have games, company, and other fun events we work around. You might have just two blocks, a.m. and p.m., or just a morning/evening routine.
Start a New Schedule
The point of making a block schedule is to give you a focused time period to accomplish your goals. You will be surprised how much you get done in a day and have time to spare.
Eventually, when you create your schedule, you hit a rhythm and these tasks don’t feel so overwhelming. Your kids catch on (or at least you hope) and you will see how freeing it is to have a plan.
Having rhythms like this in your daily, weekly, or season of life is comforting for everyone. So start slow. Pick one change to make into your daily schedule. One is better than nothing. Start with just a morning routine and write your big goals to accomplish before you get out the door in the morning. It doesn’t have to be mind blowing, just something to move you and your family forward and not just getting by. Wake up 15 min earlier and pray together before school, throw a load of laundry in before you leave the house, have the kids make their beds and tidy up before they leave. Just pick one thing; it will be good for all of you. Keeping in mind, seasons of life come and go. Being interrupted is part of life and scheduling. Expect it, embrace it...plan for it. Charles Swindoll said life is ten percent what happens to you (in this case...what you scheduled) and ninety percent how you respond to it. Bend and flex well. Or at least keep one foot in front of the other.
Schedules Set Priorities
Life can seem overwhelming. Scheduling, routines, rhythms or lack thereof. If you are asking how to even begin, remember the saying....”How do you eat an elephant? Well, one bite at a time!” Some days it can feel like an endless list of the mundane. Doing the same things, every day. Sometimes we forget the big picture. But nothing is wasted when you are doing everything, “whether you eat or drink, doing it all for the glory of God.” It is a good thing to remember that these minutes make up hours, which make up days, which makeup weeks, which make up years....and these added together become our life! What are your priorities for leaving a legacy, building a strong foundation in your home and in the community? These big ideas filter down into what you choose to spend your time doing daily. It really matters. Keep this framework in mind. I know it matters when I schedule time to purposefully spend with my God, my husband, my kids, our friends, and others. Some of it we will never get back. “The unexamined life is not worth living,” Socrates stated. I think it is good for all of us to stop and examine before we pick up that next calendar to plan!