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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 Thursday, Works for Me Wednesday, Teach Me Tuesday, Farmgirl FridaySeasonal Celebration Sunday, and the Homestead Barn Hop