I have always struggled with time management. I excel at procrastination. I am pretty laid-back. I like to enjoy life and leave the work for whenever. I am the grasshopper, and come winter, I am begging the ants for food.
I have been thinking for a few months about schedules, routines, and structure. Structure, especially, is a scary word to me. Rigid. Boring. Structure. Blah. I guess I am beginning to have a change of heart, because, my friends, I have a schedule now. And I like it.
The schedule itself is from a number of sources I've read and explored over the years. There's some FlyLady. There's some Managers of their Homes. There's fun and games, and school, and rest. It's really been working for us.
I made an actual schedule with half-hour time blocks (as per MOTH), but I am way less structured than is recommended in that book. For example, it suggests that child 1 play Legos with child 2 from 2:30 to 3:00. We're not that regimented. I learned two big lessons from MOTH.
1. When making a schedule, build it around the things you already do. I have 3 different schedules: day at home, evening away (dance, AWANA nights), and morning away (MOPS mornings). I plugged these events and our meals into the schedule, and then built the rest of it around those things. This is the first time I've done it that way, and I have stuck to this schedule better than any other. There was too much behavior and routine modification with prior schedules. This works so much better.
2. I am wasting too much time. I looked at all the sample schedules and was amazed at the amount of work these women were accomplishing in a day. How were they doing it? I tried to not be hateful and jealous about it, but rather, to try to figure it out. I realized that, because of the schedule, they have their times for errands, computer, phone calls, etc. and the rest of the time they are doing work in the home. I have made a conscious effort to improve in this area. I can't spend an hour on FB every day!
Like FlyLady dictates, I have different rooms I sort of deep clean each day of the week (she calls them "zones"). For example, once a week I will pull out the couch (it's light) and sweep under it, but only twice a year will I move the TV stand. I know what means "clean" to me. Each day, twice a day, we do a 15 minute clean up. The kids and I both have a morning routine and a before bed routine. The kids do a job each morning, and another after lunch. I have certain jobs I do every day, as well.
So, here are some examples, because I know you like to see something concrete:
Kids' Morning Routine (completed by breakfast at 8:00):
Kids' Morning Jobs (completed after breakfast, but before school):
Scrappy -- sweep dining room
Funny -- clean upstairs hall and vacuum
Goofy -- food and water for cat
Silly -- wipe breakfast table (and chairs, because she likes it)
Each of these jobs takes less than 5 minutes.
Kids' Afternoon Jobs (completed after lunch):
Scrappy -- dust bookshelves (just the fronts, nothing has to be moved) and vacuum attic bedrooms
Funny -- sweep living room, clean TV stand (putting movies away)
Goofy -- dust dresser tops, sort laundry
Silly -- wipe cabinet fronts, sort plastic containers
These jobs take about 5-10 minutes.
Kids' Before Bed Routine (completed 1/2 hour before bedtime):
pick out tomorrow's clothes
You may notice that most of these jobs are not terribly difficult. That's because I am working more to foster a sense of responsibility. I want them to understand that we are a unit. We all live in this home, and so we all work to care for it. I took the time to teach them how to do these things. They are going to keep these jobs for the entire school year, and then train the next kid down in how to do their job. Everyone will move up, and the jobs will get tougher as they get older.
What do I do?
exercise (if I'm up early enough)
shower & dress
make breakfast so it's done at 8:00
dishes, clean kitchen
hang out with family
supervise kids' before bed routine
kids to bed
fold laundry (I don't fold anything until after the kids go to bed)
The afternoon is not quite running according to schedule right now. That is something else I picked up from MOTH. Instead of trying to do the whole schedule at once, work on chunks of it, then add more. So I started with the morning, then have added in the evening.
There it is. It's a schedule, but it isn't rigid or boring at all. In fact, it's been liberating.