At long last- the schedule is finished!

On Saturday evening, I breathed a sigh of relief because my new daily schedule is complete. I have been working on it as much as possible over the course of the last several weeks, examining what wasn’t working with what I currently had, my strengths and weaknesses, my priorities (and my husband’s), looking at other’s schedules and reading blogs and books and worksheets about different kinds of scheduling ideas.

If that sounds like a lot of work, it was! But, I really felt that I needed to thoroughly examine this area of my life and figure out something that truly worked for me. Ever since becoming a mother, I have struggled with finding a schedule or routine that really suited me and the needs of my family. Some seasons have been better than others, but overall, I have never been satisfied with what I was doing.

Here are a few big changes that I made to some of my previous schedules:

  • I shifted around my days so that I am beginning my week with the days that I really enjoy, thus adding a bit more motivation to Monday mornings (I give each day a particular area of focus- the kitchen, deep cleaning, household projects, blog work, and office/planning work like meal plans, grocery lists, filing, etc.)
  • I no longer have a specific laundry day. I am going to attempt to do my laundry daily instead, 1-2 loads a day.
  • Much of my deep cleaning is split up into smaller chunks that I will do a little bit of each day, rather than attempting one huge cleaning day, that is always overwhelming and rarely gets accomplished as I hoped it would.
  • And the biggest change of all… I removed all times from my schedule, and have made it instead a daily "routine" (you may think it’s just semantics, but I truly think there is a difference between a schedule and a routine- to me, it feels like it’s so easy to get "off" of a schedule, which is very particular and precise, whereas a routine is more of the order and flow of a day, rather than a rigid taskmaster- however, if you like calling yours a schedule and even if you are the kind of person that likes precision or even rigidity, we can still be friends ๐Ÿ™‚

Would you like to see my new daily routine? Here it is:

Morning block:
Morning routine (this includes shower/getting dressed, devotions, blog time, and starting a load of laundry)
Make and eat breakfast
Clean up kitchen, sweep
Kids dressed/morning chores
Learning time (home education)
Exercise- walk, backyard, garden, exercise video, etc.
Switch/fold/put away laundry
Task cleaning

Early afternoon block :
Make and eat lunch
Clean up kitchen (sweep if necessary)
Read aloud time with kids
Naps/quiet time
Blog/business time (during naps)
Daily duties (if kids awake, free play or help)

Late afternoon block:
Fold/put away laundry (if necessary)
Gardening/outdoors/play a game/crafts/read, etc. (start dinner first if longer prep needed)
Start dinner
10 minute pick up, while dinner cooks
Eat dinner
Clean up kitchen

*Mondays: Grocery shopping- may need to leave immediately after breakfast and dressing kids. 1-2 stores max, return and put away cool items, continue with learning time, and anything else before lunchtime is a bonus

* On Fridays, allow flexibility to go out to the park, have a playdate, go shopping, go to the library, etc. Shorten house projects time, get rid of exercise or outdoor or craft time, etc.

One great thing that I’ve added that I am loving so far (even though it’s only been two days, lol) is task cleaning.

The concept is that you break down much of your deep cleaning into smaller, bite sized tasks and tackle a little bit each day. For example, on Monday I cleaned both toilets and I was supposed to give a quick wipe/tidy to the fridge/freezer/pantry (however, it was my first day on schedule, and included my grocery shopping trip plus a cranky baby, so it didn’t go perfectly!). Today, I dusted and cleaned the mirrors, glass doors and the kitchen window (it needs frequent cleaning because it’s right above my sink). Tomorrow I’ll do the sinks and both bathtubs, and I’m sure you get the point.

Each task cleaning section was planned to only take about 30 minutes or less, so that it feels very manageable, but when you put it all together, it’s 2 1/2 hours of cleaning, that doesn’t all have to be done on one day and allows for some items to be cleaned more regularly than they might be otherwise (ie. the fridge, the entryway, etc.).

Also, each Friday I have time during my task cleaning to work on focus projects, which are items such as the stovetop and hood, baseboard, under the washer and dryer, spot cleaning walls, window sills, etc.). Hopefully this will help to keep spring cleaning going year round, so that I never have an overwhelming task on my hands!  And, I have also designated Wednesdays as a cleaning day still, as this will be the day that I vacuum and mop the floors and wipe down all my appliances, but this is much more manageable than trying to do all my floors and bathrooms and kitchen stuff all in one day!

I’ve also planned out the ways that I would like my daughter to help me during my task cleaning, so that I can be focused on training her to help me more around the house. I had a great conversation about that the other day with a friend who has 5 kids, aged 8-20 (I could be slightly off on the ages). Anyways, she really encouraged me to be diligent with training my kids to help clean when they are young, and that it will pay off in due time.

The other important elements of what I’ve done are adding a simple morning and evening routine, just to help me start and end my day well, and be prepared for the next day. My Fridays have been designated for household projects, which could be fun things like crafts or decorating, but could also be organizing projects, like Org Junkie’s round-up, which I am going to try my best to do!

For all the other bloggers out there, I have broken down my blogging times (1 1/2 hours a day), into specific tasks that have been given different days of the week. So on Mondays, I will check comments, respond to emails, and write posts. On Tuesday (my specific blog day, so I have an extra hour alloted), I will check comment, only briefly check my email, work on a special writing project, spend some time on blog improvements, and then work on writing posts. I’ve also made a morning blog schedule, where I will use M/W/F mornings to read other blogs and comment, as well as brainstorm post ideas and read relevant news articles, do research, etc. On T/Th mornings, I will simply write posts.

One other thing that I’m really pleased with it is that I’ve made it adaptable, so that there is room to breathe and make time for people (people? oh, you mean those relationships I’m supposed to value and prioritize because people are more important than things or tasks? more important than my precious routine? This is a struggle of mine- anyone relate?)

But I’m finding that I can have flexibility and work the routine around my life, rather than the other way around. Tonight I am hosting ladie’s caregroup, so I switched my blog day with my cleaning day, so that I could have a nice, tidy home when they come over. No big deal. This morning, a neighbor that I am trying to build a relationship with came over and asked if we could join them for a playdate this afternoon. Did I have stuff scheduled? Yes. But this is far more important (even more important than finishing my cleaning for caregroup tonight). So I tried to get a bit more done this morning, and let a couple of things slide this afternoon, and we’re going to go and have a wonderful time.

So that’s it! I will let you know as time goes on how this is working for me. If anyone is interested in seeing the full routine and all of it’s different components, email me and I would be happy to send you the file!

I’d love to hear if any of you have been making changes to your routines or schedules lately, and what those changes are! What is working for you (or, what isn’t)?

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  1. Wow Steph…you’ve worked so very hard on this . . .i can tell and you know what….it looks fantastic…blessings…me

  2. Your schedule is what I dream about my life being like. I recently posted on my blog that I wish to live my life on purpose instead of aimlessly. I was pretty good at scheduling my days before I had my daughter, but now I feel as though I am at the mercy of her schedule. I would love to see a detailed breakdown of your schedule and hear any pointers you have on keeping your routine(and sanity!) when your kids change things up for you.

  3. Stacy, for my focus projects, I have a list of them and I will just choose the ones that need to be done the most, or if it is just “one of those days”, then I will choose one that feels manageable to me. Over time, they will eventually all get done, and then I’ll just start over. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Risha, it’s been a difficult journey for me, since having children, to learn to work around the different things that come up during the course of the day or week. I think that all mothers always struggle to some degree with the unpredictable nature of having children. Life just happens sometimes! However, some of these changes I’ve made to my schedule are things that I’ve specifically learned or have come to recognize that I will be benefited by. I will email you with my schedule document, so that you can see the entire thing.

    One thing that I have learned, though, is that if I ever have a day that starts to feel crazy, sometimes it helps to just stop everything. Give the kids a bath, or sit down with them and read a book, or whatever works to just settle everyone down. And then, figure out what is the next thing that you can do, and start with that one, next thing. A fresh start, with no guilt or stress.

    Lizzy, I hope that you find a good balance between taking care of yourself, and a disciplined routine that works for you! I will keep you posted!

    You’re welcome, Mrs. Taft!

    Thanks Lylah, as always! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I really enjoyed reading this post. The schedule/routine has been an ongoing struggle for me. One I am constantly working on.

    I love the idea of giving each day a focus. That is a great idea. One I think I will adopt ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for focus projects – do you have a list and chose something from it, or just look around and see what need to be done?

    Hope your day is a good one,

  5. Husband and I had a long scheduling discussion this evening, so I was interested in reading your post! (I’ve been reading your blog since you first started, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever commented.)

    I like your differentiation between a schedule and a routine. I’ll have to think about implementing that, at least mentally! I’ve been struggling lately with discipline in time usage, figuring out how to balance self-discipline with allowing time for rest (I have a chronic disease).

    Keep us posted on how this works for you in the long-term!

  6. I found this to be a really encouraging post! I’ve been trying to figure out a schedule etc. and I really appreciated the way you approached it, so I bookmarked this and will refer to it as I build it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much for posting this.

  7. This looks great! Thank you so much for posting it. Would you mind sending me the file with the specifics?

    Also, what resources did you use to create this? I am currently reading “More Hours in My Day” by Emilie Barnes and it has been really helpful. I’d be interested to know what you used.


  8. I have been doing task cleaning for about a year now and it is great! I allot about 30 min for each task and it makes my weekends free so that I can spend them with DH. Just to give an idea, my week looks like this: M- clean surfaces (sweep the floor, dust, oil the wood tables, wipe down cabinets if need be), T- clean the bathroom, W- laundry, Th- general house pick up/clutter removal, F- laundry. Twice a year I do a deep kitchen clean (oven, fridge, inside cabinets) and I do light kitchen cleaning everyday. Usually, I am able to clean while baby is taking his morning nap. It has really helped me keep sane and keep a fairly clean home ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Do you mind sharing how you keep your kids busy while you “task clean” or make dinner or do laundry?

    I have a 2yo boy and a 1yo girl and while I can accomplish much while they nap, I don’t like the feeling that I have to watch them play every moment they’re awake. I’d like to get something done now and then. But it seems that when I try it ends up being not worth the effort. (My son requires constant supervision around my daughter as he hits or bites her whenever I am not there.)

  10. I know this blog was posted a while back, but I just found it. I have a question for you. What about evenings? I know this sounds crazy, but I’m for real. What happens in that block of time when hubby comes home and you’ve eaten. This is a time that I’ve really been struggling with. I feel as though I’m pulled in so many directions. Does that time go to spending time with my husband? To outreach? To working on bigger house projects? To socializing? (I think you get my point.) Just wondering what other people do with those “after hours”.


  11. I totally agreed with you and know where your coming from when you said {Ever since becoming a mother, I have struggled with finding a schedule or routine that really suited me and the needs of my family. Some seasons have been better than others, but overall, I have never been satisfied with what I was doing.} I’m currently working on a new routine for my house and your blog so inspired me. I hope to complete mine very soon. We so need one! Thanks, KC

  12. I have been trying to get a schedule in place for my family as well. It just seems like we have a hard time getting it together. Would you mind emailing me your full schedule? Thanks so much!!

  13. Here is my schedule. I have two kids 2 and 4. I have been perfecting this for 4 years now.

    Morning Routine
    4am – 10am

    4-5:00 Sleep or go to the gym
    5-5:30 Dress, Clean Bathroom
    5:00 – 5:30 stretch or Bible
    6:00-7:00 Bible and Prayer and memorize
    7:00 – 7:30 Kids Dress, make beds, clean their bathroom
    7:30- 8:00 Eat Breakfast. Empty Dishes. We love homemade granola. Easy.
    8:00 – 9:00 Chores, Prep Dinner
    9:00 – 10:00 Bible Time for Girls, Get Ready to go outside

    Homeschool Outdoors
    10am – 1pm

    Naptime, Stories, Rest Time, Free Time
    1pm – 4pm

    Evening Routine
    4pm – 8pm

    4:00 – 4:30 Laundry
    4:30 – 5:00 Start Dinner
    5:00 – 6:00 Finish making dinner, clean up, make lunches, make other things
    6:00 – 7:00 Family Worship or Outside Play
    7:00 – 8:00 Ready for Bed for all of us
    8:00 Lights out for all of us

    Hope this helps!!!

    Melissa Bal

  14. I would love to see your full routine! Would you mind emailing it to me? I’m still working on mine and I would love to see your full one for ideas.

    -Karen @ Lil Momma’s Haven

  15. i’d really like to see your doc. of the full routine. I am working on one right now for my 3 1/2 and 2 yr. old (and another baby the end of August). I’d like to see how you break down your daily chores. I feel overwhelmed by mine!
    .-= Sarahยดs last blog ..Things of Heaven =-.

  16. There is a fabulous book, really dealing with this as well, called “Large Family Logistics” that has been very helpful…whether or not you currently have or even plan on having a large family :0)

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