Showing posts with label Time Management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Time Management. Show all posts

Jan 15, 2010

Establishing a Schedule


If you hit the hay wondering where the day went, or if you regularly feel you can't get everything that needs doing, take a hard look at your schedule.

It's common for parenting magazines to suggest a specific schedule for new babies. (Feed at 6 am, bathe at 7 am, tummy time at 7:30 am, and so on.) But kids of all ages respond well to a schedule - and so do busy adults.

This is not to say your schedule should be set in stone. Stuff happens that will interfere from time to time. The trick is to be flexible, but still make an effort to meet your schedule. And if your schedule isn't working for you, you should be willing to rearrange it.

By way of an example, here's my morning schedule:

-- Wake up with baby, usually about 7 am; greet my preschooler and let her get out of bed.
-- Feed baby his bottle right away. Get hubby out the door for work.
-- Make tea for myself.
-- Read to the children (mostly my preschooler), starting with the children's Bible, until about 8:30 am.
-- Prepare breakfast and eat with the children.
-- Dress the children and myself.
-- Play time!
-- Start homeschooling no later than 10 am, putting baby down for a nap first, if he seems sleepy.
-- Begin preparing lunch no later than 11:50 am.
-- Lunch on the table by noon.
-- Eat with kids and hubby by 12:10 pm.

If I don't have this schedule, my mornings whiz by and nothing seems to get accomplished. But the schedule can easily change as needed. For example, if I need extra work time, I might work as the kids play after breakfast. Or if the kids need baths, they do this in the "play time" part of the schedule. And some mornings, the kids wiggle through reading so much I let them play for a bit before breakfast.

When scheduling, start with the essentials, like meals, dressing, and Bible and worship time. Then fill in as you can. If you find there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done, something's gotta go. It can be difficult to trim your schedule; there are plenty of worthy activities to get involved in. But for you and your family's sanity, it makes sense to cut back on things you really don't have time for.

On the other hand, it is essential to schedule in some quiet time for yourself. You don't need hours to relax or pray, but you do need at least a half hour a day. Some moms like to take it in ten minute snatches here and there throughout the day, while others prefer to take their quiet time all at once. Try both, decide which works better for you, and make sure you schedule for it.

You owe it to yourself - and to your family.

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Dec 7, 2009

Epiphany

I learned a lot during this past week. For about seven days, I’ve been without an Internet connection. (My modem died, and I had to send away for a new one. You continued to get most of my regular posts here because I had nearly a week’s worth already written and scheduled to post on their own.)

Boy, do I rely heavily on the Internet. I get all my news there, keep in touch with friends there, and use it as a constant encyclopedia of knowledge. During my time without internet, I wanted to look up a conversion for cooking, how ballerinas stand on their toes (for my four year old), what books were available on a particular topic, and a myriad of other trivia.

But, most importantly, most of my paycheck comes from working online. (I write articles for a well known website.)

Despite these inconveniences, I greatly enjoyed my break from the computer. Even though I knew I’d have to make up for my missing income later, I was joyous. For the first time in over a year, I could spend my days focused on my children, my husband, and my household. No more stress, no more scrambling to make everyone’s schedule fit around my work time, no more trying to keep my children occupied and happy while I worked.

I loved every moment of last week. And my family appreciated having my full attention, too.

Even though I’d absolutely love to be “just” a mother and wife, this is not an option in our household. But after praying on it and discussing it with my husband, I’ve decided to radically change the way I work. Instead of taking time away from my children in order to earn money, I’ve decided to work when they are asleep. Ideally, I’d get up earlier in the morning, before anyone else was awake. I may try this as a backup plan, but experience tells me I require plenty of sleep; if I don’t get enough, I not only feel rotten, but I tend to be grumpy and impatient with my family.

So I’m going to try working after the kids go to bed at night. I already feel I get too little time with my hubby, but we thought we’d try working side by side in the evenings for no more than two hours. We’ll be together, although not focused on each other. I’m excited to try this method out, and I hope it will greatly improve my life and the lives of my family.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I wonder if there is some area of your life that’s making you less content than you could be. You may feel there’s no way to change that aspect of your life – but I encourage you to pray on it, anyway, with an open heart and mind. God loves us, and wants us to find contentment in life, even when (especially when!) things aren’t going exactly as we’d like. Perhaps with prayer and some creative thinking, you can make small changes to improve your life, too.


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