Our Winter Schedule

I lied. I do have a couple New Year's goals, it just took me a few days of being home from our travels to process them. Apologies to everyone who commented, e-mailed and even posted about identifying with my lack of resolve.

I assure you, I'm still mostly resolution-less. I think my resolutions could actually be called seasonal directions or simply home management goals; less rushing when leaving the house, more reading with the kids, tastier suppers, concentrated support of my children's learning and more focused computer time.

No doubt you have your own areas for growth. But sometimes it's not what we want to do that matters so much as how we plan to do it. For me, if my goals are not represented in my weekly schedule, actually written as reading with the kids, I won't accomplish them. That's just the way I am.

My values are lived out through time management, as geeky as that sounds. If I want to see something happen in the lives of my children, myself or my community I need to schedule a time to progress in those areas. Keep in mind my goals are not grand, but they still require self discipline and organization.

So with that introduction you'll find my winter schedule here.

I am always curious and sometimes a little skeptical about how blogging mommies (certain ones in particular) seem to accomplish all they say they do. I want to know how they structure their days to make "it all" happen and to maybe glean some tips for myself. I'm not suggesting you'll learn anything from mine, but maybe. So take it for what it's worth.

Our schedule serves it's purpose in helping us meet our goals, which is the whole point. About the schedule attached and schedules in general I have the following to add:

  1. Repeat after me: a schedule is simply a tool to help you accomplish your goals. It serves you, you don't serve it. Perhaps I'm the only one who needs to remember that.
  2. One of my life mottos is: if you can't meet your expectations, lower them. If after a couple weeks I discover I was over ambitious in cramming too much into our routine, we simplify it.
  3. My goals have broadened and daily life has become more detailed since my children left baby, toddler and preschooler stage.
  4. I used to use a spreadsheet to plan our seasons. Damien switched me over to iCal and I love it. Easy to change and adapt as you go. I don't use it as a day planner or even weekly planner though. See next point.
  5. I use a large desk calendar for keeping track of monthly appointments, weekly tasks (ie: organize front porch) and daily reminders.
  6. I don't schedule our weekends but the routine is pretty much variations of this theme: one day outdoors as a family, one day for house church/hospitality and working on the house.
  7. I use actual times on my schedule but except for my morning computer time and Brienne's Monday dance class all times are approximate. However, having definite limits for some activities (like checking e-mail) keeps me accountable.
  8. Some days go perfectly according to plan, others don't. Those days are either joyfully spontaneous or have me praying for grace. At the end of the season I'm expecting to look back and see progress in our goals, not perfection.
  9. The kids and I are together most all the time (no childcare hidden in the schedule) and the only domestic help I have is Damien preparing supper on Thursdays. The kids contribute a huge amount to the housework though now, ie: do all the laundry except actually loading the machine.
  10. When we hit a rough spot, as occasionally we do, I apply a similar strategy to Steady Mom, and revert to a bare bones, let's do the basics and be kind to each other type of schedule.

my kitchen table this morning: putting it all together

Related Posts:

Feel free to ask any questions about our schedule in comments. And one more thing (I know this is really long), I've got a treat in store for you later this month. A review and giveaway of the new mommy book, Steady Days. Jamie's book starts with a section on getting organized and includes sample schedules and templates. Stay tuned for more on that...

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  • mel

    mel on Jan. 8, 2010, 9:17 p.m.

    i really appreciate you posting your schedule. i am trying to do something of a schedule for myself/children as well. we have a six year old son and four year old daughter and recently decided to homeschool them. i'm trying to best figure out how to work/schedule this, along with household duties and some time for my own activities/interests.

    i, like you, have the kids with me most all of the time, and sometimes it's hard to figure out how to make it all work. i've tried coming up with somewhat of a schedule in my head, but thanks to yours, i think i will go ahead and make one on my computer to keep me on track.

    and, again like you, if i want to make something (new) happen, it has to be scheduled in, in order for me to make room for it in the day. all the more reason to actually create a schedule. thanks for the post! i enjoy your blog!


  • Jenn

    Jenn on Jan. 8, 2010, 11:41 p.m.

    i don't stick to schedules well at all...we have certain things we do daily and pretty much in a consistent manner but i cannot imagine EVER scheduling cleaning the porch..haha! i just go outside one day and go, "Oh my gravy, this porch is a wreck!" and like a mad-woman start cleaning it. my kids are used to my craziness and spontaneity. if it's nice out and we were planning on doing school all day, we don't...we'll just jump in the car and go to the lake. i wish i could be more structured sometimes....but....i'm pretty happy and content. we all are.


    • renee

      renee on Jan. 9, 2010, 1:07 a.m.

      I think it's important to operate in a fashion that best suits you & your family. That way everyone is happy! As far as days planned for school but nice weather interrupts - totally hear you on that one! I need to be somewhat disciplined on "schoolish" activities, namely math & writing, because come early spring we head back outside for months. I definitely live by the mantra make hay while the sun shines.


  • Alisha

    Alisha on Jan. 9, 2010, 1:35 a.m.

    Thanks, Renee, for reminding me of the comment about expectations. Mine are so sky high that they're unreachable, then that makes for Alisha majorly unhappy. That's one of my resolutions for the year, to tell Perfection to kiss my foot. Thanks for the reminder. :)


  • Hillary

    Hillary on Jan. 9, 2010, 1:56 a.m.

    I must admit that it is my absolute favorite when bloggers start their post with , "I lied." I don't know why, but it's like getting to the good stuff.

    Our winter schedule is drastically different that Spring/Summer/Fall b/c of hubby's seasonal work so we are spending this week trying out different things seeing what works and letting ourselves fall into a good routine that works for everyone.

    Thanks for sharing!


  • kate

    kate on Jan. 9, 2010, 3:37 a.m.

    WHY does your kitchen table look so clean??? (um, mama staring at her own heap o-mess here...sorry for the projection;)).

    Schedules can be such a good thing-- I stink at making and keeping them, but when we manage to get into one and stick with it, ah, life just seems to hum a long a little bit better. And really? I LOVE that you attached your schedule. It's just the inspiration mojo I need-- and schedules are a very big blessing when you are running solo!


  • nicola@which name?

    nicola@which name? on Jan. 9, 2010, 4:51 a.m.

    wonderful and organized post. i think being organized is a huge undertaking, but so very worth it in many area of life, whether it is daily schedule or finances. i somehow have had a hard time admitting (until my recent admission of insecurity post) that all the posts about rhythm were stressful to me until realized our rhythm is a scheduled one. i (and therefore my kids, since they are young) function way better on a very set schedule and consistent routine. i look forward to opening your attachment and hearing more of what rachel and jamie have to add. thanks for the thoughtful post! nicola http://whichname.blogspot.com


  • Earth Mama

    Earth Mama on Jan. 10, 2010, 3:19 p.m.

    I too am finding a need a schedule. My husband has been home a lot lately, and that really seems to throw us off. I just printed off a time schedule to try to start using and I'll see if it helps. With a nine and 1/2 year old, and homeschooling, I feel like I am pulled between the un ability to do anything with her due to babies and toddlers. It's a tough spot, but I'm hoping making a schedule will help out. Although, I'm so not a schedule person, so we'll see.



  • Kika

    Kika on Jan. 13, 2010, 11:16 p.m.

    I am working on modifying our current schedule to see if I can improve upon some weaker areas. Life is constantly changing for us so I find that our life/school schedule needs more frequent revision than it did when our kids were younger (and less involved in outside-of-the-home activities). I appreciated the reminder from your post b/c I've been feeling under lots of stress these days and realized that although many aspects of life aren't in my control - I always function better (especially emotionally and psychologically) when I have a fine-tuned schedule to work from. I am seriously not a "wing-it" kind of person although over the years I've improved in not being a slave to my schedule. A strong sense of order in life actually allows me to relax, smile more, breathe more deeply and even be willing to be more spontaneous. Maybe that seems strange to other personality types.


    • renee

      renee on Jan. 14, 2010, 1 a.m.

      I totally get it. I feel much freer and mentally alert and even more creative with a schedule. Otherwise wondering when am I going to get A, B & C done crowds out my thoughts, making it hard to concentrate and really be productive - in either play or work.


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