On Saturday evening, I breathed a sigh of relief because my new daily schedule is complete. I have been working on it as much as possible over the course of the last several weeks, examining what wasn't working with what I currently had, my strengths and weaknesses, my priorities (and my husband's), looking at other's schedules and reading blogs and books and worksheets about different kinds of scheduling ideas.
If that sounds like a lot of work, it was! But, I really felt that I needed to thoroughly examine this area of my life and figure out something that truly worked for me. Ever since becoming a mother, I have struggled with finding a schedule or routine that really suited me and the needs of my family. Some seasons have been better than others, but overall, I have never been satisfied with what I was doing.
Here are a few big changes that I made to some of my previous schedules:
- I shifted around my days so that I am beginning my week with the days that I really enjoy, thus adding a bit more motivation to Monday mornings (I give each day a particular area of focus- the kitchen, deep cleaning, household projects, blog work, and office/planning work like meal plans, grocery lists, filing, etc.)
- I no longer have a specific laundry day. I am going to attempt to do my laundry daily instead, 1-2 loads a day.
- Much of my deep cleaning is split up into smaller chunks that I will do a little bit of each day, rather than attempting one huge cleaning day, that is always overwhelming and rarely gets accomplished as I hoped it would.
- And the biggest change of all... I removed all times from my schedule, and have made it instead a daily "routine" (you may think it's just semantics, but I truly think there is a difference between a schedule and a routine- to me, it feels like it's so easy to get "off" of a schedule, which is very particular and precise, whereas a routine is more of the order and flow of a day, rather than a rigid taskmaster- however, if you like calling yours a schedule and even if you are the kind of person that likes precision or even rigidity, we can still be friends :)
Would you like to see my new daily routine? Here it is:
Morning routine (this includes shower/getting dressed, devotions, blog time, and starting a load of laundry)
Make and eat breakfast
Clean up kitchen, sweep
Kids dressed/morning chores
Learning time (home education)
Exercise- walk, backyard, garden, exercise video, etc.
Switch/fold/put away laundry
Early afternoon block :
Make and eat lunch
Clean up kitchen (sweep if necessary)
Read aloud time with kids
Blog/business time (during naps)
Daily duties (if kids awake, free play or help)
Late afternoon block:
Fold/put away laundry (if necessary)
Gardening/outdoors/play a game/crafts/read, etc. (start dinner first if longer prep needed)
10 minute pick up, while dinner cooks
Clean up kitchen
*Mondays: Grocery shopping- may need to leave immediately after breakfast and dressing kids. 1-2 stores max, return and put away cool items, continue with learning time, and anything else before lunchtime is a bonus
* On Fridays, allow flexibility to go out to the park, have a playdate, go shopping, go to the library, etc. Shorten house projects time, get rid of exercise or outdoor or craft time, etc.
One great thing that I've added that I am loving so far (even though it's only been two days, lol) is task cleaning.
The concept is that you break down much of your deep cleaning into smaller, bite sized tasks and tackle a little bit each day. For example, on Monday I cleaned both toilets and I was supposed to give a quick wipe/tidy to the fridge/freezer/pantry (however, it was my first day on schedule, and included my grocery shopping trip plus a cranky baby, so it didn't go perfectly!). Today, I dusted and cleaned the mirrors, glass doors and the kitchen window (it needs frequent cleaning because it's right above my sink). Tomorrow I'll do the sinks and both bathtubs, and I'm sure you get the point.
Each task cleaning section was planned to only take about 30 minutes or less, so that it feels very manageable, but when you put it all together, it's 2 1/2 hours of cleaning, that doesn't all have to be done on one day and allows for some items to be cleaned more regularly than they might be otherwise (ie. the fridge, the entryway, etc.).
Also, each Friday I have time during my task cleaning to work on focus projects, which are items such as the stovetop and hood, baseboard, under the washer and dryer, spot cleaning walls, window sills, etc.). Hopefully this will help to keep spring cleaning going year round, so that I never have an overwhelming task on my hands! And, I have also designated Wednesdays as a cleaning day still, as this will be the day that I vacuum and mop the floors and wipe down all my appliances, but this is much more manageable than trying to do all my floors and bathrooms and kitchen stuff all in one day!
I've also planned out the ways that I would like my daughter to help me during my task cleaning, so that I can be focused on training her to help me more around the house. I had a great conversation about that the other day with a friend who has 5 kids, aged 8-20 (I could be slightly off on the ages). Anyways, she really encouraged me to be diligent with training my kids to help clean when they are young, and that it will pay off in due time.
The other important elements of what I've done are adding a simple morning and evening routine, just to help me start and end my day well, and be prepared for the next day. My Fridays have been designated for household projects, which could be fun things like crafts or decorating, but could also be organizing projects, like Org Junkie's round-up, which I am going to try my best to do!
For all the other bloggers out there, I have broken down my blogging times (1 1/2 hours a day), into specific tasks that have been given different days of the week. So on Mondays, I will check comments, respond to emails, and write posts. On Tuesday (my specific blog day, so I have an extra hour alloted), I will check comment, only briefly check my email, work on a special writing project, spend some time on blog improvements, and then work on writing posts. I've also made a morning blog schedule, where I will use M/W/F mornings to read other blogs and comment, as well as brainstorm post ideas and read relevant news articles, do research, etc. On T/Th mornings, I will simply write posts.
One other thing that I'm really pleased with it is that I've made it adaptable, so that there is room to breathe and make time for people (people? oh, you mean those relationships I'm supposed to value and prioritize because people are more important than things or tasks? more important than my precious routine? This is a struggle of mine- anyone relate?)
But I'm finding that I can have flexibility and work the routine around my life, rather than the other way around. Tonight I am hosting ladie's caregroup, so I switched my blog day with my cleaning day, so that I could have a nice, tidy home when they come over. No big deal. This morning, a neighbor that I am trying to build a relationship with came over and asked if we could join them for a playdate this afternoon. Did I have stuff scheduled? Yes. But this is far more important (even more important than finishing my cleaning for caregroup tonight). So I tried to get a bit more done this morning, and let a couple of things slide this afternoon, and we're going to go and have a wonderful time.
So that's it! I will let you know as time goes on how this is working for me. If anyone is interested in seeing the full routine and all of it's different components, email me and I would be happy to send you the file!
I'd love to hear if any of you have been making changes to your routines or schedules lately, and what those changes are! What is working for you (or, what isn't)?