I love writing schedules. I make them up in excel, all fancy, and print them out, and then we try to keep them–but I always find something about them that just doesn’t work. I don’t give enough time for each thing, or I schedule too much. . .I have a basic routine I stick to, no matter what schedule I have going. So the dishes get washed, food gets cooked, clothes get washed, we have a worship time, we do school, and the house stays tidy. I try to write my schedules around that basic routine. The problem is, I want to get more than just the basics done. I’ve worked into a fairly disciplined day (not easy for my ADHD brain–but God is able!), and now I am trying to add in other things. I have to have a schedule in order to do this! Otherwise I flounder all over the place.
My friend Cheri just told me about an idea she came up with that has helped her follow her schedule. She even gave me the supplies I need to do it too. Everybody is different, so this might not work for you, but I really like it. She uses badge/ID clips (with the plastic pouch w/ clip on the top) and puts her daily schedule in it. She can put several cards in the one pouch and rotate the cards each day, or parts of the day if she wants to get really detailed. She also has one for chores, and rotates the cards each day. She can clip the schedule to her clothes so she can always see what she’s supposed to be doing, or what her kids are supposed to be doing. I think sometimes she clips schedules on her kids, too!
She gave me two pouches, one for my daily schedule, and one for chores. I have a card for Monday-Thursday, a card for the Friday Rob has to work, and a card for the Friday Rob is off (he gets every other Friday off), and a card for Saturday. For the chore pouch, on each card I put the daily chores on one side of the card and the chores for that specific day on the other side. I made up my schedules in excel, small enough to fit into the pouch. It was easy to see how big to make my schedules by holding the pouch up to the screen. I then selected the right number of boxes and put an outline around it. I think it was four across, 22 down. In the first column, I put the times, and in the next 3 I put what we are supposed to do (I joined them together by removing the lines between them). I printed these out on card stock, and cut them out. I hope I described that well enough. If not, let me know.
The plastic pouches can be written on with dry erase markers, so it is easy to check things off, or write notes. On one side of the chore pouch I have another card with the days of the week and what type of meals we eat on that night, and then I left room for me to write the specific meal. I write the actual meal on the pouch itself, and I can wash it off and start over on the next week.
So here is my new and improved schedule. I’ve tried to give plenty of flex and catch up time so that this is doable. The morning is very strict, but the afternoon is more flexible. If I were going to go out that day, I would try to wait until the afternoon and would give up blogging, or crafting, or music practice. The other thing I needed to do was schedule Play Time, because Matthew loves to play, and he struggles with anger when he doesn’t get to play. He actually gets to play a lot, but I think he needed to see concretely that he was going to get to play after he did the other things. It seems to have worked today. Yea! The other thing I worked in were incentives for the kids to get their work done (play time). And if they don’t get their work done in the allotted time, they have to finish it during their play time. If they don’t try to sleep during their nap time, I add time to their nap and they lose some of their after nap play time. [Another recent change we’ve made is to remove the toys from their rooms, get rid of a lot of them–only keeping what they play with regularly–and put what was left in the office area of our house. That way their rooms stay clean, I can always be around when they are playing to monitor attitudes, etc. (we have an open floor plan), and they can’t sneak off to play when they are supposed to be working. I also am more likely to remember to remind them to clean up, and it seems less overwhelming to them to have to pick their toys up.]
I know this won’t all apply to you, but maybe there will be something here that could give you some ideas. Or if you have any ideas that have worked for you, could you post them in the comments section? I would love that!
6:00 rise, dress, make bed, empty d/w, start laundry, Quiet Time
6:45 pack Rob’s lunch and fix breakfast (children have Quiet Time)
7:45 walk or other exercise with the children (we have to do it in the early a.m. here in Florida)
8:45 family worship, snack
9:30 chores (refer to chore card for that day) I try to supervise the children AND get my work done too–not always easy, but I am working on it!
10:30 school: My Father’s World (the curriculum we will be using next year. It is a literature/Charlotte Mason approach to learning, with everything all scheduled out for me–I need the help 😉 It is also very much bible centered and has an international, missions focus. Their website is mfwbooks.com, if you’re interested.) The younger ones have playpen or room time during school, or can listen quietly.
12:00 Children Play 🙂 I make lunch
1:00 book time (everyone reads their own book, including me–we practice self-control by not talking during this time so as not to interupt each others’ reading time)
1:30 nap (the boys only have to try for 30 minutes, but the girls often sleep for 2-3 hours). If I am tired I lay down for 30 minutes with a timer so I don’t sleep too long. I will often sit in the hallway, and read more, by the children’s rooms until they fall asleep. Because if they are not asleep, and I go lay down, all manner of evil things can happen!
2:00 or 2:30 write, blog, crafts, phone calls, e-mail (older ones can play or pursue individual interests) listen to sermons, music, audiobooks
3:30 snack, more crafts or play or music practice
4:30 tidy house
5:00 prepare dinner (I try to get some of it started in the morning during chore time)
6:00 or 6:30 (depending on when Rob gets home) dinner, family worship, family time (these days Rob goes to work on the country house remodel after family worship, so we can sell it)
7:45 children get ready for bed
8:00 children in bed
We read, work on projects, exercise, whatever. We are also open to having friends over for fellowship. Sometimes we drop in on friends, or take a late walk with the children. When Rob is working on the remodel, it makes it harder to do those kinds of things.
9:00 we get ready for bed and try to be in bed by 9:30 (we are really trying to do this-it makes the next day so much better. When Rob is working on the remodel, it is harder to stick with this)
Fridays are our more relaxed days, because Rob is off every other Friday. And we do field trips, or go have picnics, etc. We get up, have quiet times, breakfast, have family worship, do our chores, and then we are free to do whatever. Saturdays are a work day, but different from the week. I try to get all ready for Sunday, and the coming week, so Sunday can be a real day of rest.
Well, I hope that gives you some ideas. Feel free to post yours!