Overcoming Scheduling Challenges: Bringing More Peace to my Day

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Image by Andreanna Moya

Flexibility. It is one of  the great skills that I have come to realize are a necessity for mothering.

Learning to go with the flow and figure out what to do as each new season of life arrives, full of unique challenges and opportunities, is essential.

I’ve talked recently about my desire to cut back on my blogging to focus on my family. That desire remains, but there’s a dilemma. We’re in a season of starting up a family business, and so my blog income has become more important than it previously was. This is an opportunity to serve my husband and support his endeavors, yet I still need to be able to accomplish my tasks as a mom, homeschooler and homemaker.

As a result, I’ve been tweaking my schedule and working hard to find a way to make things work together. I’ve had to take into account what isn’t working and why it isn’t working (this is key!), and then get creative.

The Challenges:

Traditionally, I have done my blogging work during naptimes. In some seasons, I have also done part of it during the mornings, before my kids are up. Recently, neither time has really been working for me.

With a baby waking once or twice a night, and my desire to be showered and dressed, have proper devotions, and begin laundry and breakfast before the kids are up, accomplishing morning computer time was becoming a large source of frustration. I would either skip it to stay on track with my other priorities, or blow those priorities off to get my work done. Neither option is a good way to start the morning!

Later in the day, I found that by the time lunch was finished and cleaned up, toys tidied and the kids down for naps/quiet times, it was already getting late. By the time I got to work, there seemed to be inevitable interruptions, distractions and things that required my attention. My work time was unproductive and disjointed, and suddenly the kids were up, and I needed to get off of the computer (whether my work was done or not) to finish my other tasks and get dinner started.

My initial reaction to both scenarios was discouragement, some resentment and anger towards my family, and frustration with myself.

After plodding along like this for some time, I recognized that I could either continue to allow these circumstances to rule me, eat away at my peacefulness, and leave me cranky and frustrated, or I could approach the challenge with a problem-solving mentality. I began to ask God to show me a way to turn these situations around and to find a solution that allowed me to give my family my best, while still carrying on with my blog.

My Solution?

First, I needed to let go of my ideal scenarios, and recognize that I am in a season of life where things just simply do not always go as planned. The needs of my children, husband and home are more important than being able to accomplish my “perfect” schedule. Interruptions and distractions are a part of this season of life with young children, and I need to accept that and embrace the season that God has me in.

Secondly, hubby and I got creative and we came up with 3 times for me to do the lion’s share of my blog work:

  1. Monday nights- from about 7:00 to 10:00 or 10:30
  2. Tuesday mornings from 8:30-11:30 (with a mother’s helper)
  3. Early Friday mornings (from about 4:00-7:00am)

There is some sacrifice involved (financial, evening together time, sleep!), but in this season of life, the sacrifice is worthwhile for us.

Now, I will not attempt to do any work in the mornings (except Fridays). I can grab that bit of extra sleep I need, and still wake up early enough to be ready for the day, spend my time with God, and get a head start on breakfast and laundry. Waking extra early one morning a week (as opposed to five) is entirely doable and realistic.

Naptime will primarily be a time for me to do quiet work without the kids up, like meal or homeschool planning, grocery list making, do dinner prep, make phone calls, or even (gasp!) reading a book. I might still spend 20 minute on the computer to answer a few emails, do a tweet or two, or moderate some comments, but that’s it. Rather than feeling ragged by 4pm, I will feel more organized and rested.

Will it work? Maybe. For a season.

Seasons change and then the plan needs to change, too. That’s what flexibility is all about!

A few resources that have been helpful to me lately as I strive to get more organized and efficient, and tackle my scheduling challenges:

These are just some current examples of scheduling challenges that I have needed to overcome as I seek to serve my family and honor the Lord in all that I do. Scheduling looks different for each family in their own unique situations.

How have you overcome a recent scheduling challenge?

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. Your blog has so many useful Information’s for beginners like me. Thanks to you again.

  2. I completely get it! My scheduling dilemma arises from having to work outside the home. It’s not ideal, but it’s necessary for my family in this season. I admire your positive attitude. Sometimes I start feeling sorry for myself, which never leads to any solutions! Great job, Stephanie!

  3. I totally understand! We have our own struggling business, and I put in time at the office to help out my dh. It has taken me a year and a half to finally get a good schedule going for us, and sometimes that flies out the window. You’re right, flexibility is key and I am praying your new schedule will be helpful in this present season.

  4. Sincerest thanks for sharing this posting.

    It has really inspired me to try to be better organized – and also that it’s possible to be better organized with the 3 month old baby!

    Going from someone who is on top of everything to parenthood where schedules are complicated, I’ve had a hard adjustment. Now, I think I’m ready to tackle this issue.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • @Kimberly, I relate about being someone who was on top of things, to struggling in parenthood. I used to be able to manage my time so much more easily before I had children, and it has been a real uphill climb for me to learn to do it in a peaceful way with a houseful of little ones. I’m definitely still learning! But it is possible, and it does get easier over time.

  5. Thank you for your post! I think all the mamas around here with little ones have deal with this at least once. I wanto to ask you two questions, first, how do you incorporate your baby schedule in your day? and What about the weekends? Many schedule weekdays but what do you usually do on the weekends? Just freely day, going with the flow?? I’d like to hear ideas :) Could you use your Saturday (not the whole day of course), maybe to catch on your blogg work?

    • @Andrea, Good question. I incorporate my baby’s schedule by trying to keep her naptimes fairly consistent (within a 30 hour time frame- so her morning nap is somewhere between 9 and 9:30, for example, depending how it fits in with the rest of the family that day).

      Nursing just gets plugged in as needed, and I try to do other things at the same time, like make a necessary phone call, read to my kids, open the mail, etc.

      On the weekends, I do not use a schedule. My kids nap/quiet time schedule stays the same as during the week, but we just fit our weekend activities in and around those times. I usually write out a short list of a few things that I would like to accomplish during the weekends, but we like to keep them much more open and relaxed than the weekdays.

      In our family, we’ve chosen to use Saturdays and Sundays as family days, project days (done together as a family) or time for fellowshipping or spending time with other people. I purposefully don’t really touch my computer all weekend, so that I can keep my family time and other relationships priority, and to give myself a break from my hard work during the week. I actually prefer to find ways to fit blog work in during the week so that I can regularly take these couple of days to refresh myself each week. :)

  6. I’m so glad you posted about this. So glad. We’re having some of the same issues here, and I’ve been seriously debating on whether to keep blogging. I just told my husband last night that it seems silly to blog when it keeps you from what you were blogging about in the first place! :-) My handful of readers don’t need my words and my time as much as my children do. Thanks for sharing your solutions and being open about these struggles. And thanks also for all the hard work done on your wonderful blog!

  7. Thanks for this, Stephanie!

    I’m constantly trying to adjust and tweak our schedules and routines. My biggest problem is that I get it set in my mind that if I can’t sit down for a good half hour (or, ideally, an HOUR) of uninterrupted time, then I may as well not start. So then I end up piddling away chunks of time because I think I don’t have enough time to do a real project (whether it be writing or housework or whatever).

    Still working on it. I love how you guys came up with some solid chunks of time just for writing. I feel inspired. Thanks for sharing this!
    .-= Megan@SortaCrunchy´s last blog ..When the fruits of parenting begin to ripen . . . =-.

    • @Megan@SortaCrunchy, Absolutely! I am the same about not getting down to work on a project when I only have a small amount of time available. That’s part of why I found my computer time was being so ineffective. I much prefer working with these larger chunks of time, and using smaller times for moderating comments (like I am right now, during naptime!) or 15 minutes of emails, etc. I’m so glad it was helpful for you, friend!

  8. Thank you so much for this post! I JUST wrote a blog post about this VERY subject!! I am exactly where you are + manufacturing and running a natural bath product based business… and it is HARD! I will definitely be checking out all the resources you’ve listed. Thanks again!
    .-= Nichole ´s last blog ..Ever had those days? =-.

  9. I think that for me, its been a problem resenting (for me it becomes anger) the kids because they interrupt what I want to do. And that doesn’t include blogging for me, since I don’t have one, but it includes everything else. So its an attitude thing. I’ve been sort of talking to myself about it as I find the thoughts coming into my mind “ahhh the kids are driving me crazy why can’t I just get this done?” and then I say to myself “the kids are worth it. They are what really matters here. Work to glorify God- what would He want me to do”. It might sound silly, but it gets me back in line (even if I just talk in my head). :)

  10. This is great and affirms what God has also shown me. I’m currently doing a series on balance and I’m about to tackle scheduling issues. I think I have to link to this post!!!!

    Blessings,
    Sandy
    .-= Sandy Cooper´s last blog ..Fitness Friday, Rapid Weight Gain Week 4, Hidden Calories =-.

  11. I’m glad I read this post! I have been frustrated with my schedule and how it isn’t working the last couple of weeks and you have given me some ideas for fixing it that I hadn’t thought of. Thank you for helping me think outside the box a little bit more to come up with creative solutions that will work for all involved!
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Kalama Beach Park =-.

  12. Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    .-= Melissa Wingo´s last blog ..2 Reusable cloth Coffee Filters -For those who love coffee not trash =-.

  13. What a great post (and a great blog!)

    I am a stay-at-home mommy to a two-year-old boy, but also teach a few piano lessons and do a little photography (and a little blogging) on the side – and this post was so helpful! It sometimes is so hard to fit in even a little time to do these things without 1) feeling guilty that I am taking time away from my son and husband, or 2) messing with my morning and getting off to a disorganized start. I am definitely working on my own scheduling :)

  14. Oh girl, can I ever relate! I just wrote about my own change of season and how I am dealing with it here:

    http://orgjunkie.com/2010/03/change-of-season.html

    I too had to get creative with my schedule and so far it seems to be working. I hope you find the same thing.

  15. Great post! Scheduling is one thing I am working hard on right now. Home education schedule, homekeeping, menu, etc. One tool that I recently discovered and starting implementing is: http://www.plantoeat.com/K5u0uPlZ33. Plan to Eat has been wonderful in helping me menu plan and keep track of menus, recipes and shopping lists. It automatically pulls all ingredients from my menu into a shopping list which I can edit accordingly. You can also share recipes with your friends which is especially nice when they are like-minded in their eating practices! This has saved me SO much time and money. I highly recommend it to busy mommies and those wishing to streamline their day! They have a 2 week trial for anyone who is interested in checking it out. I can’t say enough good things about it.

  16. I have two little ones, and I too find that getting a routine together can be so difficult. Being a type-a person, it is frustrating for me to accept that routines must change and that I must be flexible. I would love to be able to write out a permanent schedule that would last my lifetime and have everything go according to plan. Life just doesn’t happen that way. I really have to lighten up! Keep up the good work…you are an inspiration!

    ~Jacque

    http://www.countrydorks.com

  17. Great post on such a difficult thing to overcome. Nothing can ruin a day like having your schedule messed with. I recently had to change my schedule around due to my husband’s work hours changing… twice. He’s in the military and when we moved to our current base 8 months ago he worked the “normal” day shift. 3 months later he switched to the afternoon/evening shift. A couple of months after that he volunteered for the overnight/”graveyard” shift. Each time we struggled with how to fit our family time and couple time around his work shifts and still eat a meal or two as a complete family. After a week or two each time we had a new schedule worked out. It’s tough but it’s worth it to be flexible so that your family doesn’t suffer from scheduling changes.
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..My Baby’s Coming Home! =-.

  18. Carey (Alberta) says:

    Great post! I also find disruptions to my schedule challenging and even without them hard to fit everything in. With kids and families and all that come with them it is so true that we go through seasons and with seasons things must change and with this we learn, grow and hopefully become better moms, etc in the process. And with this said I am off my AM computer time and onto my tweaked routine as my kids are off school today:)