Another step in being intentional this year was my decision that we need to create a bit more structure in our home so that we can be good stewards of our time and get the FUN things done that always seem to get swept away in the tidal wave of unscheduled “emergencies” and general apathy regarding time. ;)
Several friends have recommended a book called Managers of Their Homes by Steve and Teri Maxwell as a great way to get accomplish what you NEED and WANT to in a given day.
I have resisted it for a while because the idea of “scheduling” my day is stressful to me – it makes me turn into the Wicked Witch of the West because no one follows what I want done. I prefer the idea of a routine and we do generally follow one. During the last few months especially as I was working so hard to unclutter our home of non-needed and non-favorite things, we have sort of drifted from one thing to the next. I am weary of it all. I want and need our days to have more structure…so I finally caved in and got it.
I took time to read it over a couple of weeks. It is not hard book to read, but again, time to digest and think about what they are saying is important.
The Maxwell’s give many examples of their schedules so you can catch the vision and see the big picture of what this could do for your family. Seeing what your big picture or end results are is motivating to a person wanting to make a change. However, it may seem completely unobtainable to an over-whelmed mama! Knowing that, the authors have tried very hard to break it down into manageable pieces and encourage a family to start with baby steps.
There are several areas that are addressed in this particular book including why a schedule is beneficial for the whole family, the key to successful scheduling, scheduling priorities, chores, help in the kitchen, and more. They even address how to deal with interruptions and de-rails and how to recover. Another thing that they address is how to effectively put a schedule together and successful implementation. They even include a scheduling kit with purchase of a new kit and have started a support forum on their website.
Things that really stood out to me are:
A schedule is not your master. It is an adjustable thing that works as a support for you to be able to accomplish all that NEEDS to be done, all that you WANT to be done, and leaves you refreshed because you are not pulling your hair out while putting out all those “emergency fires” that consume your time otherwise.
An effective schedule does require a commitment. You cannot just drop everything anytime to run to the park or go shopping every time someone asks. But you can add it to the schedule for another time. That way you train yourself to finish what you start, but still allow time for fun. The fun is all the sweeter because you “earned” it.
The Maxwell’s were quite firm in their opinion that Dad needs to be very involved in the process. Maybe not in all the minute details, but he needs to understand, support, encourage, give advice where needed, and live the schedule like everyone else. Without Dad, there is not much incentive to follow a schedule. Dad’s needs can be met as well as everyone else’s with a schedule.
Dad can be a person that children can be held accountable to - and a schedule helps him know where and what to ask about without Mom tattling. ;)
The last BIG thing that really clicked for me is that not only does Mom have a schedule, so do the children. Think about it – of there is only one schedule for the entire family, Mom still has to direct children all day, make 50 billion decisions and commands, and get the kids to obey, and still get her schedule done (this is where my stressed Wicked Witch of the West takes over!) BUT – if every single person has a written schedule just like Mom’s – there is NO need to lose all the children for any interruptions! If the doorbell rings during school…or the phone rings and some one needs Mom right then, a child needs some attention, whatever. The schedules save the day. Right there is what everyone is supposed to be doing during any given time throughout the day. No more delays waiting for mom to be available. And if interruptions catch the whole family, it is easy to get right back on task because it is already decided.
I am going to schedule out everyone’s days. We will sit down and ask the teenagers as well as ourselves what they need and want time to accomplish. We will add those things to our routine things and make sure that it will all work. Here are some ideas of how I will begin creating and implementing a REALISTIC schedule of our days:
- Write down the the things that we want to do, things that have to happen, and how much time we need to do each thing.
- Have a master chart with the hours of the day down the side with the days of the week across the top.
- Start plugging in the items we want to accomplish and when they need to be done.
- Fiddle with that for a few days and then start DOING the schedule.
- I will make one for each child. It will help all of us to know who does what, when, how often, and our days will suddenly be more smooth. Because the children know what is to be done and when, they will be happier.
- If you start feeling overly scheduled, too inflexible, or unrealistic, make a few adjustments and stick with it. Sooner or later, you will find a rhythm that works for you.
Honestly – Even if I am only able to do a few hours at a time, I think that we will all be amazed at how much happier those hours were and how much more got done.
Managers of Their Homes is available here.
I did not receive any form of compensation for my opinion. I am just sharing my experience!