Creating a Family Schedule in a few simple steps
I’ve been working on a schedule for my family (mostly my daughter and I as my husband is away at work most of the day) for the past couple days and it occurred to me that there are many moms who could benefit from a daily schedule, but either don’t know how to make one or don’t know how to implement it. It can seem like a scary task, but with a few pointers it’s not that bad. I actually find it fun and rewarding to create and implement it in my family, and as a stay at home mom it makes my day so much smoother.
First things first: Why a schedule? Well, a few things pop into my mind:
- I tend to waste a lot less time since I don’t have to take time to decide what to do next.
- My little one seems more content since she knows what to expect. For example, she knows when I am done with dishes we will get ready for our walk, or after her morning nap she gets to have lunch. This helps a small child have some predictability and seems to help set them at ease. (I’m not an expert, but it sure works well for us!)
- It also helps me not overbook my day. I have a much better idea of when extra things will fit in and I can schedule my outings for when the baby doesn’t need to sleep, etc.
Here is how I make my schedule:
First, try and find a time without too many distractions. Maybe Baby’s nap time? Get yourself a pen and paper.
Second, write down anything you do at the same time every day. For example:
Eat lunch at 12:00 pm
Wake at 7:00 am
Once you have that written down, make a list of things you must do/must happen during the day. Example:
Baby nap time
Then make a list of the things you would like to accomplish either on a daily basis or a weekly basis. For me these are things like cleaning, organizing, blogging, etc.
Once you have a list, you can start creating your schedule. I like to start with when I wake up. (I will put a sample schedule at the bottom of this post for you to look at if it is helpful. Mine will look different than yours as will yours from anyone else’s since we all have different duties, but sometimes it helps to be able to see what you are aiming for.) Next, I find it helpful to add the things into my schedule that I already know I do at the same time every day. For example, I tend to eat my meals at the same time, my baby naps around the same time, etc.
Once those things are in place you will see how much time you have left. This is where you will need to think about how long your remaining tasks take and then fit them in around your daily activities already scheduled. This can take some creativity. Remember that you could have different tasks for different days so it doesn’t all need to fit in each day necessarily. (I will also put my sample cleaning schedule below so you can see how I clean different things different days.)
Ok so you have a schedule, now what? I suggest using the schedule for a week or two and see how it feels. I usually change it a few times over the next couple days or so till I like it. Keeping a pencil nearby to jot down notes or scratch things off is great as you will remember more easily what worked on a given day.
I am not very good at sticking to a schedule at first, so I find it helpful to set timers for when I am supposed to be done with a task. It helps remind me that I am working with limited time and it reminds me to check the schedule. If you do this for a day or two you will be surprised how fast you remember what is next and you’ll get your schedule fine tuned enough to just move to the next task at the right time without having to check. It’s important to also remember that the schedule is not a hard and fast rule. It is a guide. Some days my little one doesn’t take her nap or maybe a neighbour stops in for a visit and the schedule gets out of wack. That’s ok as long as that is not the norm. The schedule will be there to help get back on track and it is an easy way to see what was missed and needs to be made up.
That’s it! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or other tips that work well for you. I’d love to hear from you and will do my best to reply to each of your comments promptly. Happy Scheduling!
Sample Cleaning Checklist