For Overwhelmed Moms: Making Adjustments to Your Schedule
This is the fifth post in my series on making and using schedules to manage your time. Be sure you have read through the series to get the most from this post.
First, we talked about WHY you should try using a schedule.
Then we discussed selecting WHAT to put in your schedule.
Today, we are learning
How to Make Adjustments to Your Schedule.
As you get into using your schedule, you’ll start to discover points of stress where things don’t seem to be working as well as they should.
I remember we had a snack time planned mid-morning to give my kids a brief break in their lessons and refuel their bodies and minds for the rest of their learning. Everyday, when that time came, they would drop everything and completely shift their mind-set. They were DONE. I would lay aside the books and move into the kitchen searching for some sort of healthy snack that would not be to time-consuming or carb-laden (is it just me or is every snack a cracker?).
By the time I got an apple cut up and some peanut butter scooped out for each of them, they were wound up with giggles. We had another round of dishes to wash, the books had to be moved off the table so they would get peanut buttered, and our fifteen minute break was quickly turning in to a 20-30 minute break. Jumping back in to lessons had to wait until after the dishes were cleared and the table wiped and dried. On top of all that, the kids didn’t really seem to be hungry before lunchtime anyway. I was ruining our day for a snack break because I thought that’s what good moms did.
So I cut out the snack break and moved lunch a little earlier. It’s embarrassing how long it took me to make that change. I’m here to keep you from struggling through unnecessary snacks (or whatever is messing up your day).
I like to make my schedules using Microsoft Excel. I can easily fill in times and copy/paste activities for each person. I used to keep my printed schedule on a clipboard to keep close by as we did school. Recently, I slipped it into a clear plastic page protector and used the binder holes to hang it on the wall. This resulted in an unexpected, and beautiful, consequence.
I can use wet-erase markers to write on the schedule suggestions for making it better!
Of course, if you just have a paper copy, you could certainly make notes with pencil or pen directly on the paper. The wet-erase marker just makes it easier for me to see what adjustments I’d like to make and wipe them off if I change my mind.
As you go about your day, write down little notes about what is not going as planned. Do you actually take longer to get dressed than you anticipated? Do your children’s chores take more time than you thought? Or maybe you finished up with a task much sooner than expected and found there was a bit more time. Write it down. If anything is causing you stress, make note of it.
However, don’t try to alter it just yet! Sometimes the problem is just that we haven’t gotten used to it yet. Can you imagine if the public school or any place of business altered opening hours every time someone was late?! Give yourself time to grow and adjust to your schedule. Sometimes you need to change, sometimes the schedule needs to change. Keeping notes will help you determine which one it is.
Discuss It with Your Husband
I know I keep advising you to talk over your problems with your husbands, and many of you may not be married. If that is the case, I would suggest you discuss it in prayer with your Father and also with a close friend or your parents.
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22 NIV
Right there in the book of wisdom, God tells us to get counsel on our plans. Discussing your schedule with your husband has many benefits. It allows the two of you to discuss your goals together and get on the same page. He can often see solutions that we cannot. Husbands (men) are particularly wired to solve problems. He loves finding solutions and providing help for your needs. It makes him feel good, and it benefits your day! I know not every marriage is ideal and not every husband is willing to offer advice or help, but if yours is, count yourself blessed and seek his wisdom.
Make Adjustments as Necessary and DO NOT FEEL LIKE A FAILURE
Above all, remember that your schedule is your TOOL, not your MASTER.
Your schedule cannot tell you whether you are having a good day or not. It cannot tell you if your children are learning and developing well. It cannot tell you if your home is comfortable and happy. It cannot tell you if your marriage is thriving.
Your schedule cannot control anything, nor can it give a testament to your success in life.
It is only your tool to accomplish those things. Assess your life for yourself. Look around at your people and your space. Is it functioning better than before? Are you moving toward your goals? If yes, then don’t fret about keeping the perfect schedule.
Lately, my family has been “off-schedule”. By that I mean, we are not even looking at it. For the last week and a half, we have been researching and ordering new curriculum and going through each and every item in our home and discarding the excess. We are thrilled with the results! We are most definitely moving toward our life goals, and we are thriving. The schedule will return next week when things are tidy, and all our new books are in.
I believe in the benefit of a schedule to help us take charge of our day, but the power comes from your decision-making and advice-seeking. Don’t make the mistake of letting it rule you.