One of my goals this new year is to get myself and my children on a schedule so as to make my days more productive. I wrote this in my journal entry back in November at the height of frustration with my self and my inability to get anything done.
Discipline is my estranged friend who I pretend to not like. As a matter of fact, discipline has never been my friend. Oh yes, she’s always there, mocking me, telling me life will be much better if I just include her in my day. But I don’t want her. I want to live free. Or maybe it’s because it’s work to bring her along and I’m lazy. I have a love/hate relationship with discipline.
I go through periods of time where I am very disciplined: journaling after my Bible studies, planning every moment, etc. Then the unexpected happens and my life goes into survival mode. All the plans, all the journaling, everything goes by the wayside and I live life moment to moment. Stressed and wearied. Those are the times I need discipline more than anything else but those are also the times I discard it. I had so many things to do today… Now it’s noon and I’m sitting at speech therapy with my son, I should’ve at least worked on all these things, if not completed them. Not only did none of those things happen, but I didn’t do two of the school subjects I intended to do. What did I do? I studied my bible, got distracted with the chicken, conversed with my kids, laundry, and wandered around wondering where to start. If I had had a schedule then I would’ve known.
I feel certain in saying that I am not the only one who has had days like this; days where nothing goes as planned and you come to the end and wonder what you have to show for yourself. I had way too many of these days last fall. We had just moved into our new house at the beginning of the new school year, so all my energy went into quickly unpacking and then figuring out what our routine would be in the new place so that we could begin and not be too far behind. When we finally began in mid-September I was a harried mess. I didn’t have a chore system or a school schedule in place. I didn’t have a system for how the day-to-day tasks were going to occur — we just did things as needed. This meant that every moment of my day was spent running from one “fire” to the next. I was exhausted and felt like I was spinning out of control. It’s no wonder I didn’t write a single blog post in the last few months; I just couldn’t make the time.
Soon after this journal entry, I decided that enough was enough. It was time to take action! I decided that I needed to get through the year and the week after Christmas would be my planning week. We would still be on school break which meant that I could dedicate all my time to planning and making sure that this semester ran smoothly. I blocked the time out in my calendar and made sure nothing was able to sneak in and rob my time.
Delegate Household Chores
My first step was to delegate all the jobs that need to be done so that our house will run smoothly, i.e. assign chores. I have done several different kinds of “chore charts” over the years, differing as our needs and the ages of my children demanded. I made a new kind of chore chart. One whose goal was to serve me, this house and the needs of our family right now. My children are old enough and responsible enough to do several necessary household chores on their own; they simply need to be told to do it. The chore chart does that for me. I made a list of all the chores that they can do, and put them on laminated, assignable cards which told the owner what to do and when to do it. Allowing me time to work on other matters without having to think about what they need to be doing at any given moment — they know what they should be doing.
Plan our School Day
Next, it was time to make my “chore chart.” The lesson planner that I had purchased in August had boasted of space to write my daily to-do’s as well as my children’s lesson plans. And, while it is a good planner, and does provide space for menu, shopping list and financial planning, it didn’t have adequate space for my daily to-do’. I considered purchasing a separate planner dedicated to my schedule, but, as I read some blogs on schedule make-overs, a lot of them discussed using Google calendar. I already had discovered the benefits of Google calendar as I use it to manage our family schedule, but hadn’t thought of using it for my personal, day-to-day schedule. I didn’t want my daily, recurring schedule crowding our family schedule so I made a homeschool/blogging calendar on my personal email account instead of on our family email.
I dedicated time to spend one on one with my youngest students — something I hadn’t succeeded at doing everyday and they have been suffering because of it. I also dedicated time for a few subjects that we do together. When there is no scheduled time, then those subjects are the first things to be set aside for tomorrow. Much like Scarlett O’Hara I would say, “After all, tomorrow is another day!” But, alas, tomorrow never comes!
Plan Time to Focus on My Interests
Lastly, and most importantly, I set aside time to work on things for my self. Personal ventures. Writing on this blog and learning all the ins and outs of the blog world (a subject that makes my head spin!). After all, school will get done without a schedule, my husband makes sure of that, it just happens better with a schedule. But bettering myself and following my goals and dreams, that doesn’t happen without me pursuing it. And having six children that I homeschool means that I have to make the time for it or it doesn’t get done.
We are a week into this new schedule, and so far it is flowing pretty smoothly. Prayerfully, and with much self-discipline, I can break my pattern of poor follow-thru and keep it going throughout the year. Only time will tell. Do you have goals to stick to a better schedule this year?