My very good friend Salena blogs too, just click the link to visit hers, and I asked her if she would write a post for this series for me. She has three babies three and under and beyond having a busy family life, they have moved several times the last few years as well. I have had so many encouraging and inspiring conversations with Salena about scheduling and managing time to make the most out of it. I was not much of a scheduler pre-kids, but one thing I love about it now is that if I have a semi-routine schedule, I can sort of put my brain on auto-pilot in some areas. So this post includes a lot of the advice Salena has given me in the past about how to schedule and break up tasks so that you don't have to worry about when the little things are going to get done. With out further ado here's what she had to say:
One of the ways I have tried to keep my life organized and sane is by scheduling my daily actives. I first decided to do this because I realized with my personality I tend to try to do everything perfectly and all in one day. If I started cleaning the bedrooms then I would notice the laundry would need started. As I put a load of laundry in I would notice the bathroom was messy and would start cleaning there. Then the kids would ask for breakfast so off to the kitchen we go, and I would inevitably fine something there that needed cleaning. I also had the mentality of "work before play" And so by the end of the day I had started 5 projects but never completed a single one and I had put all the fun stuff on hold. This left me feeling discouraged and exhausted. I felt like I was always cleaning, cooking, changing diapers, cleaning up spills and entertaining kids but never doing anything to refresh myself.
So I got to work and wrote down all my household jobs. Once I had all my jobs down on paper I was able to see where my time was going. The first thing I did was make time for me as well as time with the kids. I didn't want them to feel like I was always pushing them off to get my work done. In order to do this I had to let go of some of the things I was expecting of myself. Some things could not get cleaned as often as I wanted. But at the end of the day spending time with the kids and giving myself permission to relax was more important than having a perfectly clean house.Here is a sample of my old time card. This schedule is very basic. Obviously I do more than just this in a day. We can't forget grocery shopping, bathing kids, cooking meals, and play dates. These are things that I do sporadicly rather than on one specific day so I opted to keep them out so I could have more flexibility. However, others may find a more detailed schedule to be more helpful.
This was my time card when we lived in a two story house and I only had two kids. I made my morning jobs easy so that if I got interrupted by the kids I would be free to stop and play or take care of what ever their need was. Once they were happy again I would go back to my job. I also had a rule that 11:30 was quitting time. (This has since changed because at the time I was pregnant and got tired easily. Now I have extended my quitting time to 1:00. The point is to adjust your schedule to your stage in life.) Whatever did not get done before "quitting time" would have to wait until next week. I would have to learn to turn a blind eye to the mess or learn how to spot clean instead of doing a thorough job. This was hard as I tend to prefer to leave a job undone rather than not do it perfectly. But I had to make this adjustment or my kids and husband would suffer.
Now that we have moved and I had another baby, I re-adjusted my schedule. I now divide my cleaning between every morning plus I have to do the floors more often since we have hardwood all over the house.
Keep in mind this schedule can and should be adjusted according to how your week is planed or unplanned. Sometime I would have an extra cut or color booked, or the kids would be sick, or we would have a trip planned that I would have to get ready for, so I had to be ok with just doing what I could and leaving the rest. What you DON'T want is this schedule to be another stress factor. It is just a way to map out your day or week and help you pin point what is priority and what needs to go!