Here are some simple tools I use to help me manage my time
#1) The Master Schedule
|The Master Schedule. I have this hanging in our living room and our school room for quick reference!|
|The schedule covers my day and each of the girls' days from wake-up to bedtime.|
The girls & I have our day planned out, Monday-Saturday. We don't follow the schedule exactly as it is written every single day, but it is a visual reminder to me that we need to be doing our best to live a life of faithfulness, orderliness, & diligence as we work toward following it more often. To make sure chores get done, school is worked on, and that things like one-on-one time happen. I created this master schedule with the encouragement of a good friend who recommended Steve & Teri Maxwell's book Managers of Their Homes. It's one of the best time & energy investments I've made in the past 5 years. The book is available at Titus 2. It is well worth the investment, no matter the size of your family!
#2) The Family Whiteboard
|Nothing fancy or Pinterest-worthy, but it has helped us out so much!|
For less than $20, we purchased a large whiteboard. It hangs in our living/dining area. As you can see, I have different spots: To-Do, meals, and what's coming up. Because it's right where I spend most of my time, I can easily add messages & notes right away (rather than thinking "I'll remember to write that down!" WRONG. I never remember to "write that down" later!).
#3) The School Binder
Sonlight's Instructor's Guide has been one of the most useful ways to keep our homeschool organized & efficient. I spend very little time planning or making copies because it's done for me, and the way the guide is set up it allows me to see quickly what still needs to be done and keep track of what we've accomplished. You can download 3 weeks' worth of ANY IG by clicking here.
#4) The Whiteboard Calendar
By the front door, I have a whiteboard calendar. I keep things like upcoming visitors, appointments, upcoming trips, etc on it. Because I am a visual learner and need to see things over and over in order for them to stick, having things written down in multiple places - where I will see them!! - helps me to remember and be mentally prepared for my days.
This is the MOST effective & important way I've found to manage my time!! When I deliberately take time to sit in the presence of the Lord and ask Him to guide me in choosing diligence, and to ask Him to order my day, I find that the whole day runs more smoothly. (That does NOT mean that nothing bad or inconvenient happens! But it means that God prepares my heart and attitude for the things that do happen!) Whether it's 5 minutes or an hour, the first thing I try to do when I wake up is to pray - that God would keep changing me, for Will, for each of the girls, and for our day to be ordered well for His purposes. Some mornings require me to spring out of bed into action immediately without pausing for prayer (example: medical emergency with one of the girls) - so I simply pray as I go, and take a few minutes to sit & pray quietly when I'm able - sometimes that means I have the girls in my lap or when I'm driving around running errands.
Daily planners (the notebook kind) have never been of much use to me. I have tried multiple ways to make one be a part of my day because so many of the books I've read about being a good wife/mom/homemaker/leader/etc laud the planner as an essential piece of managing time, but I'm come to terms with the fact that it is more discouraging for me to try to use one and fail than to just not use one. The above system, after MUCH trial and error (years' worth!), has been more helpful to all of us. It doesn't mean that I never waste time, but it gives me a good goal and the motivation to keep trying.
Will would probably be the first to point out that our days don't often look anything like what the master schedule says; that I still don't do a good job of limiting my computer time to 30 minutes in the morning and again after the girls go to bed; that some housework gets pushed to the very end of the day (or, till the next morning!); that the girls spend too much time watching TV some days. But over the past few months since I got serious about managing my time and the girls' time more purposefully, I see improvement!!
Have you found a time management system that works well for your family? If so, would you share below?
Redeeming my time,
for His glory!
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