My Weekly Schedule has changed more times than Britney Spears has changed her hair. Sometimes I've let it go completely, and then other times it has kept me afloat like a life preserver. Setting up a schedule for yourself is a tool to help you function and make good decisions for your family. It gives you POWER! It takes you from feeling victimized by that boat-load of tasks, and actually gives you freedom. I like that!
And, in keeping with my theme song this week, it's also about respecting your role as a wife, a mom, a keeper of all things important, and overseer of your growing organization.
When I think about setting up my schedule, I like to borrow a phrase from a famous pirate movie, "They're not really rules, they're more like 'guidelines.'" Guidelines give you some structure to work within, but there is a lot of wiggle room for when the unexpected happens, and we all know it will happen.
Katherine, at Raising Five, has an excellent post about a Weekly Schedule. Since we are both Bonnie McCullough devotees, and because Katherine has really nice color-coded examples (jealous), I will give a slightly different slant.
Paraphrasing from Bonnie, here are some tips on setting up your schedule.
1. Define your housekeeping goal. What level of cleanliness would be best for you and your family? (Sidenote: this can be an area of conflict if you and your spouse have different cleanliness level needs. I speak from experience....cough)
2. Decide how much time to spend on cleaning. Housecleaning, cooking, child care, laundry, maintenance AND self-fulfillment are all part of home management. Defining what MUST be done is important, so you are not wasting your efforts (i.e. overcleaning. no problem THERE!)
3. Make a 7-day work chart. Fill in fixed commitments and the basic family happenings for a week: departures, school, meals, arrivals. From these, a general horizontal time schedule will emerge, showing some structure. (Look at Katherine's cool color-codings.)
4. Set aside time for fun-specific time for relaxation. You owe it to yourself!
5. Group the same types of work together in your schedule as much as possible. Arrange days to spend AT HOME getting those things done. Arrange errands together. (Very important!!)
6. Delegate responsibility. You don't have to do it all! Every member of the family should carry part of the load. Be democratic, share the fun ones, too.
7. Plan ahead by scheduling. If your schedule shows soccer after school, dinner could be ready to pop in the oven before you leave. If you have a special event on a cleaning day, move your cleaning day over, or start it the night before. If an activity doesn't fit on paper, simply say no to it.
8. If an activity doeasn't fit on paper, simply say no to it. Oh, I just said that! But it deserves it's own special point. So quit cramming stuff in that doesn't fit.
10. Stay flexible. You are not a prisoner to the schedule. Its purpose is to allow you to take control of managing what happens in your home!
11. Be creative! It was a revelation to me to realize that I didn't have to do ALL my cleaning and laundry and yardwork and oversee kids' chores and do kids' sports all on Saturday! I began making Mondays my major work day, freeing up Saturdays to do other things.
Now, just a few thoughts: When you feel like your work is never done, it drains you of energy. Assigning days to do specific tasks frees you of the burden of the other undone things. See? You don't have to worry about doing that monstrous pile of laundry on any other day than Laundry Day. Sweet freedom!
I suggest starting very simply. Don't fill in every minute with tasks you know you'll never do. Think in terms of chunks of time, and just put in what you know MUST be done and live with it for awhile before you get real complicated.
Like Bonnie McCullough says, you deserve to treat yourself well, and with dignity. Caring for your household is a way of caring for yourself, and expressing gratitude for what you have. It's about creating a home sanctuary for the people you care about most: your family.
Here is a sample schedule for someone who does not work outside the home. How about I talk about setting up a schedule for a mom who works outside the home next time?
For more great Works For Me Wednesday tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!