Hello and welcome to week 1 of our “Take Back Your Time” challenge. This week is going to be all about improving routines and daily schedules to help your family complete things efficiently.  I hope you are as excited to begin this simple process as I am.  Let’s get started!

Assessing Your Routines and Daily Schedule

There are times where a schedule or routine really tends to merge into one thing but having a well established system will really save you a ton of time. There are two types of routines, in my opinion, complicated and day-to-day.  Let’s start with the day-to-day.

Day to Day Schedules and Routines

The day-to-day routines tend to run our lives. These events that we do or, in my house often enough, don’t do when we are supposed to can really slow down us down. Or worse yet mess up the rest of our day and our house!

Your day-to-day routines should have things like who’s laundry needs to be done, dishes, chore charts, homework time and even bath time written right in.

With these items the time that they are scheduled for is NOT negotiable.  Once they are on the calendar only mom or dad can move them to another location.

We home school so even the time that the kids get up for school and what lessons they need to cover at certain times are listed on our day-to-day routines chart.

Learn to Let Your Schedule Work for You

I would strongly urge you to let your schedule work for you. By this I mean to have your schedule be working for you even when you aren’t doing an actual project.  For example, every morning I put a load of laundry into the washing machine within the first 5 minutes of waking.  That way my washing machine is working for me while I get dressed, make coffee and prepare for the rest of my day.

Working this way gives me a little sense of accomplishment to know that I am getting something checked off of my list right away, even if it’s a smaller task. My husband and I also fold the laundry while watching our TV shows together at night.  I have included a list of ideas on how your schedule can work for you at the bottom of this post.

Weekly Schedules and Routines

Day-to-day routines tend to lead right into a weekly schedule. I consider our weekly schedule to be our complicated schedule. Creating a weekly schedule is something that most people avoid but really everyone should try this!

If you are new to scheduling I would highly reccomend a dry erase board or if you are more into tech check out Trello. I love using Trello for work, home management, organizing projects and for homeschooling. I love that I can adjust it to fit my families needs.

There are a lot of great places to get printable schedules or you can create your own. I will be posting different ones that I like throughout the week on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest so be sure to check in regularly.

Take the time to fill in the constant events and block them off so that you are not doubling up times on anything. Put all family members events on this one calendar. This really helps to see where you have a lot going on or when you are free to schedule a date night.

Determining if Your Schedule is Too Full

This may be the moment when you realize just how crazy your schedule has become. You are running for not only yourself but for every other member of your household! Perhaps if things are looking really crazy now would be a good time to take a look and determine if all of these events are really necessary.

Does Bill really need piano lessons? Don’t get me wrong.  I had piano lessons but did not care for my teacher.  I did better self teaching when I was older than I did during my actual lessons.  If your child is begging you to quit maybe let them but put them to a task at home instead.

Creating a Monthly Family Schedule

After you have created your weekly schedule don’t be afraid to take that right into a monthly by simply adding three more sheets. As the week goes by throw the old week out and move right on. Keeping a flowing forward approach to your schedule will have you always feeling prepared.

Be sure to post the schedule where all family members can see it. The refrigerator door is always a busy and often visited location.  Try color coordinating each family member as well. Doing this allows you to see orange, let’s say, and this reminds you of Suzy and she has dance today so now you will remember her shoes.

As the holidays approach this will be one of the many things that will make your life easier and less complicated. Don’t be afraid to say no to various functions if you simply don’t have time or don’t want to go.

Prioritizing Important Things First

Finally, take the time to write down those big projects you have wanted to get done but have not been able to accomplish yet. Making that list gives you a goal.  Try to get one item done a month (alter this time frame if you know it is a complicated project).  Having this running “To-Do List” really makes you focus in on what you want for an end result.  Go after it!

Chore lists are the last thing I am going to touch base on. These are generally for your kids.  Every child is capable of helping in some way or form.  My three year old son is able to set the table for the entire family and he clears it as well.

Give each of your children, parents as well if you feel this is necessary, a responsibility to accomplish daily and weekly. Kids can easily put their own dirty clothes in the hamper.  If you tend to be a bit OCD like myself you will probably need to do all the folding and putting away.

If your child is a teenager they are ready to try their hand at their own laundry completely. They can also help with bigger and more challenging chores around the home.  Don’t be afraid to challenge your children with this.  Things like cooking are essential skills that they will need to know as adults.

You are not being mean. You are preparing them for life.

Good luck this week. Be sure to leave a comment or e-mail me any questions you have.  I will be happy to help.

Challenge Tasks for the Week:

  • Establish a day-to-day routine, and then stick to it.
  • Create a weekly family schedule and post to a family friendly location
    • The refrigerator is always a good place but keep out of little ones hands.
    • Decide if all activities are worth the time put into them.
    • Don’t be afraid to quit something if it will give you more family time.
  • To-Do Lists and Chores
    • Make sure they are age appropriate
    • Challenge your children as they grow
    • Set your sites to accomplish those long term tasks and then reward yourself.