Monday, September 22, 2008

Ordering my steps

I am the type of person who always loads and unloads the dishwasher in the same order.

I have to envision the route I will take when I am driving to a destination and I usually like to stay in one lane the whole way to keep it easy.

I get really overwhelmed and, ahem... cranky when there is a lot to do and those to dos are fighting in my head for prominence. I must put them in order on a list to feel less crazy!

"Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established."
~ Proverbs 16:3 ~

All those reasons and more have prodded me to become more orderly. I have finally finished the book that I started in April, "Managers of Their Homes" and decided to implement... a schedule. Gasp! I never thought I would succumb!

The first step was to write out an Activity Worksheet for myself with time allottments assigned to each one. Here is what I came up with after a week of working on it. I love that the top of the worksheet says:

"Activities God wants me to accomplish"

Read Bible & Journal ~ 30 min.
Prayer & Planning ~ 30 min.
Fix my face/make my bed ~ 30 min.
Breakfast prep/clean-up ~ 30 min.
Morning Chores ~ 30 min.
Bible & Dance time w/ girls ~ 30 min.
Pre-school w/ Joy Berries ~ 30 min.
Pre-school w/ Olivia Jean ~ 30 min.
School w/ Grace E ~ 1 hour
Lunch prep/clean-up ~ 30 min.
Get girls ready for naps/reading ~ 30 min.
Reading w/ Grace E ~ 30 min.
Personal rest/ reading time ~ 30 min.
Computer/ jewelry designing ~ 1 hour
Play time w/ girls ~ 30 min.
Dinner prep ~ 1 hour
Family Activities ~ 1.5 hours
Bath time ~ 30 min.
Bedtime routine w/ girls ~ 30 min.
Evening chores ~ 30 min.
Husband time ~ 1 hour
My time (bath, nails, reading, etc.) ~ 30 min.
Sleep ~ 8 hours
= 22 hours

I left myself an extra 2 hours and lots of wiggle room here and there, which will be essential in 3 months! I also didn't include eating times, because sometimes we eat fast and sometimes a certain child will be at the table for an hour after we've moved on! Family Activities would include those nights that we have scheduled plans elsewhere. I didn't factor it in the list, but plan on starting a load of laundry during my "Morning Chores" and having it totally completed by my "Evening Chores". Then there is potty training, which we've been working on for a while. Luckily, I can stick Joy on the toilet and she reads books while she goes!

The next step was to fill out worksheets for the girls. That was fun! They get special times of play together and arts/craft time and get to help me a lot. Being together overall is important to me.

The step after that was to choose a seperate color "Preparation Worksheet" for each individual and transfer the activities into the appropriate sized slots. I spent an hour last night cutting them all out and fitting them into the "Master Schedule". It was like working a big puzzle, some places were difficult to figure out. But with sticky tack on the back of the squares, I can move them as we run into complications. This may seem like an overwhelming amount of work ~ enough to get me cranky! ~ but it was not when I just hunkered down and did it!

A snapshot of our morning

My goal was to talk each girl through the schedule today and then begin slowly implementing it this week, starting with just the morning half. HA!!! It was a nice goal to have. When hubby's around we like to be together. And I'm making jewelry this week, soooo, maybe next week.

I can already see that my challenge will be to stay r e l a x e d.

I really love how the author points out again and again that a schedule is not my Master, Jesus is. I hope to use this as a guide for us that is flexible. I'm also only planning to follow it 4 days a week. I am excited for the activities I have scheduled now that I never had "time" to do before, like play with the girls.

"This is the day that the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it."
~ Psalms 118:24 ~
~ christa jean


Youthful One said...

Oooh! You beat me!

Finishing our Master Schedule is fighting for first place on my 'to do' list right now. As soon as this week (and PIO) are over, I'm on it!

It really makes so much sense, and as long as you have grace for yourself & kids when things are stretching that wiggle room, I think you'll discover much more peace and delight in your days. (This is MY hope!)

I'm proud of you for sticking to this and getting it done! I'm excited to hear how it works out and what tweaking you find you need to do.

Tiffany said...

Good for you! I tried this method but I have too many kids too far apart and not enough hours in the day. So I went back to making a list and crossing it off so I can have some sense of accomplishment. BTW, I have a like new copy of Managers Of Their Homes if anyone wants to buy it.I do think it is a wonderful book, it just didn't work for our family. You GO Mama!The playtimes are the best part of the day if you plan for them and are not stressed about what else needs to be done.

christa jean said...

I like that way too, Tiff. We'll see how this goes, I haven't even had one week of it yet and probably won't evaluate/change it until 2-3 weeks of trying it!

And once that new baby comes, it's all going to fly out the window anyway!!! The key for me? Relax.
Surrender my plans.

DotBlogger said...

Organization is the key. Way to get organized and way to make it pretty! You always make everything pretty. :)

Your girls will love this.

Blessed Mama of 4 said...

As resistant as I have been to anything that resembles a schedule, I am coming around and definitely see the benefit of this. I've been wanting to write on my very neglected blog about it Aand may find time this week. Anyway, I think its good that you are thinking a head to baby. We may have the best laid plans but infants will test even the best of schedules. I remember with my second child feeling like I hit "my groove" again at 9 months. Just remember that and don't be hard on yourself if stuff isn't getting done when you have a 6 mo old.