Schedules can be such interesting things. Over the years I have gone with no schedule, had daytimer type books, calendars, lists and all sorts of things to figure out what exactly works for me. I think, as the years go by so many things change in my life that what may work great one year just does not work the next. Ultimately the main thing is picking a system that allows a person to get all the needed tasks done in a day.
I am not a real schedule person. I will have to admit that being able to stick faithfully to a rigid schedule is not an area that could be called my greatest strength. I think I start to rebel a bit if my schedule gets too full or too strict. I have enjoyed the freedom of being able to say to my kids… Hey lets go to the science museum today or the lake for a picnic. But on the same hand if I don’t have something to follow I can end up not accomplishing all the many and seemingly endless tasks I need to take care of each day.
One of the things I do that seems to work consistently over the years is to first work my schedule around my husband Tobin's schedule which is not that easy, he works graveyard or 3rd shift. And then look at my day with certain benchmarks that tell me I need to achieve certain things by the time I hit that mark.
For example Tobin comes home from work at 9:00am. That for me is my first benchmark. It is my goal to have my quiet time done, my shower taken, my children up, dressed, animal chores completed and the breakfast finished by that time. My next mark for the day is lunch, which we have between 12:30 and 1:00. I have certain chores that I assign my children and they need to have these done, I have cooking and baking I do and meet with my youngest children to help them with their schooling. My older children have their main subjects (the ones they work independently on) that they must have finished. Laundry must be started before they (whoever has their scheduled laundry day) start school.
After lunch my next benchmark is my husband waking up and joining the family which is around 4:30 to 5:00 but can be as late as 6:30. Before he gets up afternoon school assignments must be finished and any outside chores must be done (cleaning stalls, trimming goat hooves, cleaning out the chicken coop, getting clean water for the animals. etc..). Also we work on any extra chores that go beyond maintenance. I wish I could tell you that I had it together enough to have it mapped out that I do these types of things on a regular rotating cycle. I do not. I usually notice that the refrigerator needs to be cleaned out and put this (and any other noticed job) on a list. I then write the list of chores out on my big white board in my dining room and put a child’s name by it. That child is then my helper or if old enough or the job is not overwhelming to them, they do it alone or with another sibling.
My next benchmark is when Tobin leaves for work which is about 8:00 in the evening. By this time our dinner meal is cleaned up, I have packed Tobin's lunch for work, the house has been picked up and the youngest three children are getting ready for bed.
Now the last mark is bedtime. The animal chores have to be done, the wood for the early morning fire has to be brought inside (we heat with a wood furnace), doors locked and outside lights off. My oldest girls then, spend time working on there own projects until about 9:30 to 10:00 when it is lights out and we sleep and get ready to do it again!
Now if I have a busy day or parts of my day did not go as planned I have only to think about the next benchmark and figure out the most important things to work on for that time period. I just rest in knowing that tomorrow I can catch up on what did not get accomplished that day. I do keep a calendar hanging to mark down appointments and other important information. This method, although not very strict, does work for me.
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