Surviving a Busy Life: Schedules

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A major aspect of the recent difficulties I mentioned yesterday was the fact that our schedule has been out of whack ever since we moved in December. It’s always hard to get back into a routine after moving, and that fact compounded with the numerous repairs our house needed/still needs meant things have been extremely seat-of-the pants lately.

And I thrive with a schedule. I like knowing exactly when something needs to happen and how I should be spending my time. Otherwise I will find myself deep in the bushes when I should be washing dishes. (Not that it doesn’t happen with a schedule; it’s just harder to justify wasting time when your minutes are allocated.)

So last night over supper we re-created our evening routine, wrote it down, and stuck it with a magnet to the fridge. We can talk all we want about how we need to do better with our time, but if it’s not on paper in a prominent place, it doesn’t happen.

Something different we did this time was include time approximations with each task. Times may vary, of course, but here’s what our evenings look like with rough time estimates:

Get home from work. Make supper together. (1 hour) I’m the one who likes to cook, but when I have limited time (read: most evenings) and other things I’d like to do with the evening, getting help with some of the cooking tasks is a huge blessing.

Eat supper. Clean up. (45 minutes) Enjoy a family meal together; then clear and wipe down the table; wash dishes (I love it when Jordan does them!); dry dishes and put away; wipe down the counters and stove top.

Make next day’s lunches. (15 minutes) This usually involves the evening’s leftovers and the same snack every day (almonds and dried apricots, banana [for Jordan]/orange [for me]), so it doesn’t generally take a full 15 minutes.

Take care of the cats. (5 minutes) This is my job in the evenings and Jordan’s in the mornings. Feed our babies and make sure they have clean water and a clean litter box.

Sweep the floor while Jordan prepares breakfast. (5 minutes) We’ve learned the morning gets off to a much better start when breakfast is ready to go the night before. Jordan measures out the oatmeal and raisins/Craisins and puts coffee grounds and water in the coffee maker.

Take a walk. (10 minutes) We’re using this time to practice verse memorization–when we were dating, Jordan decided he wanted us to learn Psalm 119 together, so we’ve been working on that for quite some time. He says if the Hebrew children can do it, so can we.

Tidy up. (15 minutes) Pick a room/rooms and do quick cleanup, putting things back where they belong.

In reality, it’s not quite as separated as I’ve made it sound–I’ve been making lunches and taking care of the cats while Jordan does dishes. When I’m done I help him finish up with the cleaning. So, all told, we’re spending about 2.5 hours on the everyday necessities of life, which leaves us 1.5 to 2 hours once we’re done to tackle projects or just enjoy some free time.

Sticking to a schedule can be hard, but the rewards of a lower-stress life are worth it.

How about you? Do you have a daily schedule?

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