Today I am sharing my system of how I 'fit it all in' without becoming overwhelmed.
A while ago I signed up to do Dave Ramsay's total money makeover and at first thought it was really strange that I had to budget for every dollar that came into our bank account. I have always done budgets but never have I budgeted down to the dollar. My budgets always allowed for 'miscellanies', but this was a big no no with Dave Ramsay. After I noticed how much better we were doing financially following this rule, I decided to apply the same principle to my schedule.
If there is one comment I get repeatedly from friends - it is that I take on to much. I am a sucker for saying yes to everything. The perfect example being the fact that Tim and I have coordinated a local Kid's Club every Friday night and have done so since I fell pregnant with Hunter. We have been there every Friday night through pregnancy sickness (oh man, that was bad!) and health and then through the newborn stage as well. Hunter was born on the early hours of a Monday morning and then on that same Friday night we were back at Kid's Club with a 4 day old baby and our toddler - and have continued to be there every Friday night through breastfeeding, teething and unsettling reflux times. It's crazy to some people, but Tim and I have always believed that those 3 hours a week are being well used and that we need to make it work.
Things that I have to schedule in include 'the big ticket items' like work, Thermomix (8 hours a week) and now blogging (5 hours). I also schedule in our washing (or I completely forget to do it), cleaning, one on one time with the boys and our family movie on a Sunday. It seems excessive, I know - and I thought exactly the same thing when I first started, but here is the thing - you know how you often feel like you have a million things flying around your head and you feel overwhelmed by how much you have to do? Well that feeling goes away. I now only have to concentrate on one thing at a time and I know that I can relax because I have set up time to get everything I need in the week done. Sure, things come up unexpectedly and at times I have to tweak bits and pieces of my schedule during the week, but I have full confidence that things around me aren't all going to crumble and that my time is divided evenly.
I sit down at the start of my week and make little changes to my schedule for the week ahead if we have appointments that come up or playdates that are planned. This doesn't take a lot of time because I always have my 'base copy' of the schedule ready to go.
I'm sure the first thing you are going to think is that I'm completely nuts. I mean - where on earth are the times that I do nothing? Ha! They are in there if you look closely - breakfast dates with Cruz, Tuesday's adventure with the boys, Thursday morning fun with the boys, my (at home) movie dates with Tim on a Friday night after kids club, Saturday morning adventures, weekend naps and our Sunday afternoon family movie time are all scheduled. All of those 'making memory' moments are scheduled into the week. They are the times that we keep technology to a minimum and we really focus on nothing more than each other. Of course - that is not the only time I spend time with my family. They are right there helping me prep dinner, doing the washing, playing during kid's club and helping with the housework. The only time the boy's are not with me is when I'm at work, or after 6pm when they have gone to sleep (excluding Friday's).
I can't guarantee this will work for everyone because it took me a very long time to work out what would suit our needs best, but I can tell you that it has completely saved my sanity. I don't stress about the multitude of things that I need to find time for in the week anymore - because I have already found the time for them before I even start the week. During the day I look at the clock, check the time and have a look at the ONE thing I need to be doing at that time. If I don't get it all done in the time allocated I do some shuffling in the schedule to fit it in at a later date. One massive difference that we have noticed is that we are eating a whole lot better because there is an hour everyday set aside to make dinner and snacks for the next day.
Want to try it?
Step one: Write down EVERYTHING you need to get done in a week. I'm talking groceries, washing, cleaning individual rooms, quality 'switch off' time with every member of the family, work, pick up and drop off from daycare, dinner prep - THE WORKS. EVERYTHING! If you want to have time to do nothing - schedule that in too!!
Step two: Make a table up in word (this one has 8 columns and 17 rows because I've scheduled from 6am to 9pm) and start filling in what happens during your standard week.
Step three: Try it for a few weeks - the first few weeks will see you tweaking bits and pieces while you find what is best for you and what works/ doesn't work.
And that's it! That is how I 'do it all' without loosing my mind. Remember - it is just a guide and there will be days where you aren't up for what you need to get done (and that's ok - pour a cuppa and spend time with your family instead), but just try again tomorrow!
Do you think it might work for you?