Saturday, April 21, 2012

where did the day go?: work flow and routines for the rest of us

I invited some fabulous bloggers--and fellow home rangers--to write guest posts on The Lone Home Ranger for this entire week during Vivi's Spring Break (called "April Vacation" in Beantown). These lovely ladies will be bringing you features focused on healthy, natural, and simple living. Enjoy!

Today's post comes from Barb over at A Life in Balance. Be sure to read through to the bottom of the post to see her bio and link to her blog. I included Barb's post on Saturday because it's when I do my breakdown of how the week went and what I need to do the following week to keep the household running smoothly.



Here's a little secret about me: I don't follow a schedule.

I'm sure people looking in from the outside think I am super scheduled because I have 5 kids, and I just am. I'm not. I have no problems showing up early or on time for appointments. Same with all the other happenings in my life like getting the kids to school and picking them up. My inner clock makes sure I'm on time, even if I drive the people around me a little crazy getting ready.

However, the rest of my day is an undefined lump of time, or so it often seems. I've tried putting a schedule into my day to keep myself on track and to ensure I take care of the daily tasks like laundry. MOTH didn't work, nor did any of the other time-based scheduling programs. Not to mention, my best-laid plans could be changed any given day if one of the kids got sick, or anything else happened. I don't think I've ever had a normal day, come to think of it.

What I found works for me is to combine routines for different parts of the day with pegs. Thanks to the FlyLady, I have a morning routine, a daytime routine, afternoon routine, and evening routine. All are basic, and simple enough that I've memorized them at this point. Until I memorized them, I had my routines written on my daily planning pages as a reminder. I do the same with my weekly routines to ensure I do most of the tasks every week.

My pegs are the points in the day when I have to do something. For example, I have to get the kids out the door at 8 am to drop them off at school. My morning routine covers the time from my getting up to getting the kids in the car. Because I have the time deadline, I know I need to stay focused and not spend my time writing posts or doing email.

During the daytime when the kids are gone, I use my daily chores to give me a break from writing/blogging. I'll set the timer for 30 to 45 minutes and write. Then, I'll take a physical break by rebooting the laundry or doing a kitchen task. After lunch, my 3-year-old and I often spend time in the kitchen starting dinner, making snacks, and finishing any kitchen jobs I started in the morning like yogurt or kombucha. Since we usually eat at 11 am, I can get in an hour of time in the kitchen, plus clean up and do a general wrapping up of tasks before heading out the door at 2:30 to pick up the kids.

After the kids get home, we do snacks and homework. If I need to, I'll work on dinner tasks during homework time. Otherwise, I start on dinner around 4:30. Any cleaning up that needs to be done I delegate to whichever kids are around. My teenager is always responsible for bringing the laundry that was on the clothesline inside.

Since my husband takes care of the dinner clean up, I get the laundry ready for the next morning, plus supervise the kids' evening routine. With 4 young kids, we alternate showers and baths in the evening while my teenager takes his shower in the morning. Once the kids are watching TV right before bedtime, I run through my personal workout routine. I'm a bit of a homebody.

While I'd love to be more "organized," I don't need to be. The beauty of my method is that the daily cooking, cleaning, and laundry are usually taken care of with some leeway for the plan B days. Even someone working outside the home most of the day can create routines for their time at home.

Barb is a mom of 5 kids who spends her day keeping track of socks, stuffed animals, library books, and a 3-year-old when she isn't writing about all the frugality, gardening, cooking, and reading she manages to fit in between the chaotic moments. See how she holds down the fort and saves a few dollars at A Life in Balance.

Editor's note: This post is a part of Simple Lives ThursdayWorks for Me WednesdayTeach Me TuesdayFarmgirl FridaySeasonal Celebration Sunday, and the Homestead Barn Hop.


Julie Kimber said...

Hmmmm...I am thinking today - where did today go?? I think I need to develop more of a routine! Although, it is just so nice to be outside and enjoying the beautiful weather today - with rain coming tomorrow...

Nancy said...

Sounds to me like you're really well organized, just not wed to the clock (other than for appts.) I know all about being early for things (it drives my husband crazy!) When I worked (in an office in someone elses business) I was always the first one there, why? It meant I had time to plan my day, veg for fifteen minutes or so and get ready so when it was time to literally 'clock in' I was ready to work. I know, my own personal neurosis! LOL

Largefamilysmallworld said...

Great post, our day revolves around many of our routines as well. I think MOTH comes in handy when you homeschool and there are LOTS of details that need to be managed all day long. When my kids were smaller we could just use those routines as our guideposts, and we still do to some extent, but on our "normal" days we rely on MOTH to help us keep on task for more of the details.

O'Boy! Organic said...

I need to have a schedule, without it I'd be more lost than I already am! LOL I've tried using online organizational tools but I haven't found one that really fits for us. I will have to try some of the recommendations! Great post!

Jamie (@va_grown) said...

I use routines more than a "schedule" too. We don't have much "free" time between our daily "pegs" so just having a list from start to finish keeps us going. I tried laying out a daily "schedule" by 30 minute increments, but it just didn't work for us. It does help that we have our routines written down (and now memorized) in the order to do them in.

The Lone Home Ranger said...

I agree with you about writing the routine down. I did this when I first started staying home with the kids, and the day had no rhythm to it (plus we were potty-training, and reminders were helpful!). Now I find that I don't need it written down, but I still sometimes am not as productive in the "in between" times as I could be.

The Lone Home Ranger said...

Wow, I can see how you would need to be organized when homeschooling. My hat's off to you!

The Lone Home Ranger said...

I loved being at work before everyone else for the same reason. It was so relaxing and quiet. I miss that part of my day. I think I might try getting up before the kids, but I will miss that extra sleep! I just need to go to bed earlier.

MissMOE said...

Great post. My oldest bombed his first semester at college because of time management issues. We are currently working with him to establish a routine. And I'm working on my routines as well!

Hannah said...

I pretty much use the "peg" system too. Pegs are eating times, outside times, naps, bed time... I followed you from the Teach Me Tuesday's linky party. Here is my post:

Mariah Magagnotti said...

Thats pretty clever! I'm working from home a lot, and seem to get caught up in either not working, but doing house things, or not doing house things, due to work. Sounds like I need a new plan! Thanks for the tip, I found you through WFMW

Becky Elmuccio said...

I've been trying to get myself all set with FlyLady too. I like the email reminders so much! Thanks for sharing how you make it work for you.

sarah saad said...

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