Yep I said fall, and yes I said schedule. Who’s not excited for that honestly? There’s something so renewing about fall. It’s about finding a sense of balance after a hectic but fun summer. There’s a peace this time of year that’s refreshing. I’m sure the crisp mornings and warm cups (plural) of coffee also have something to do with it.
But, this time of year can also lead to anxiety and worry if you have a lot on your plate. It’s hard to juggle work and kids back to school. Say work and kids in the same sentence and I dare you not to feel a slight elevation in blood pressure. Balance can be difficult. Fortunately for you I’ve tested several options for keeping a sane home and have found a pretty realistic schedule to balance it all out. It will require tweaking some areas of your life and parts may not be the funnest at first. But I promise you stick with it for a couple weeks and it will be completely worth your while.
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A typical day
For me on any typical day I have a four year old and a two year old at my heals, housework to get done, as well as running my business. This will be the first official year I’ll be working with Tyrion daily in a preschool format. We’ve got books, activities, and lessons for him and he couldn’t be more excited! But, with what feels like an already packed day how do I fit school time in?
Kids have their best brain forward (honestly, how true right?) in the mornings. Afternoons are hit and miss and I can’t count on a nap to keep him focused since those aren’t occurring daily anymore. Realistically then, his schoolwork needs to happen before noon. But, mornings are also the time I tend to get the most business work done. Apparently I have my best brain forward in the mornings too. Go figure.
So what’s the solution?
There was only one . . . an earlier morning.
I’m up at 5am daily Mon-Fir, and shooting for 4:30 in a couple weeks. Baby steps here. This early of a morning may not be needed for you, but whatever time you get up now, if you got up an hour earlier how much more could you accomplish in a day? I find that two uninterrupted hours every morning gives me more quality work than four to five hours of back and forth of work, help the kids, work, wipe a butt, work, feed the kids, and on and on. Two hours with coffee in hand before anyone else wakes up is like gold. Seriously, money can’t buy this kind of happiness and peace! Plus, getting work stuff over with early allows me to be 100% present with my kids during the day. No guilt that I should have got more done or trying to get things done when I should be focusing on them. (I’ve got a great post on becoming a morning person here)
What should your day look like?
Your day does in now way have to be similar to mine for this to work. We all have kids different ages and different daily needs. To make this work all you need to do is take a day and write down everything you typically do, (or should be doing) on a regular basis. Don’t worry about writing it in order at first or making it pretty, just write. Everything you need to accomplish, put on paper. Nothing is too big or small.
- kids up and breakfast
- laundry & ironing
- Answer emails
- clean cat box e/o day
- two new blog posts finished a week
- figure out dinner
- kids to school at 9am
You get the idea. I’d leave the notepad out for a whole day in a area you frequent a lot. (the kitchen is usually ideal) This will allow you to jot down anything that pops into your head. Once you feel you have everything that makes a typical day written down it’s time to organize! Boom! Can you feel your life becoming more simplified? Yes, yes you can.
It’s been awhile since I whipped up some free printables so how about we do that so you have a place or organize yoself! These printables are actually from a spring post, but I switched things up and added some fall fun goodness onto them and made them perfect for this season. I’ve been using this way to schedule myself for the past four months and love it! I find a place in my home (kitchen again) where I can hang them up and they’re in my face daily so it’s super easy to stay focused and productive.
Time blocking is everything. I write down how my day should go in the hour spots, and then laminate it so I can easily erase the other sections and have it ready to go for the next day.
Download here: Weekly Plan FALL- Daily
(In fall tip #4 I share how to use the Sun-Sat printable.)
Download here:Weekly FALL Plan
Tips for making your fall schedule work
#1 Get up early
We covered this I know. But it’s so important I had to mention it twice. 😉
#2 Have a designated space for work
This one has been life changing for me. I use to do my work at the kitchen table (okay still do 25% of the time but I’m improving) and it was an area I was constantly distracted. I can see most of the house from that position so if the kids made a mess, I was distracted by it. If there was dirty dishes in the sink, I was distracted by it. It’s such a busy area that staying focused on work is hard! I have an office downstairs but when the kids were young it wasn’t ideal because the basement wasn’t little kid friendly, and I couldn’t have my littles on a different floor of the house than me. Eventually the office turned into more of a catch-all space and was hardly used. No more! I cleaned it out and have big plans for the area! I’ve been using it for the past week and as I do I look for things I can change and add to the office to make it more efficient. And this leads me to number three.
#3 Make your home conducive to your goals
Is your environment hindering or helping your goals? It’s doing one or the other, and if we are constantly fighting our surroundings being productive gets a lot harder. An example is Tyrion’s school stuff.
It was located in a hall closet, away from the kitchen table where we are going to do school. Getting ready for schoolwork required making my way to the closet, digging around for what we were going to use that day, walking it over to the table, and setting it all out. At least a couple trips were required. After schoolwork was over I would repeat the steps. I know it may seem insignificant, but it was a small waist of time. Small waists add up to large chunks of our day that are lost into the unproductive pit.
I decided to invest in a narrow bookshelf that fits perfectly in a little section of our kitchen. Once organized it will hold all Tyrion school supplies in a easy to grab, attractive way. Plus it’s feet from the kitchen table. Not only am I saving loads of time over the next few months hauling school supplies around, Tyrion can actually take out and put away his supplies, whereas in the closet they were located to high. Why am I sharing this? I want you to think of the little time wasters you tolerate throughout the day and really decide if it needs to be that way of if there’s a quick fix. Nine times out of then there is, and once fixed bam! You made your day just a little more efficient.
#4 Use Sunday to schedule out your week.
I know a lot of people do meal prep Sunday. And before you roll your eye’s at me no, that’s not what I’m asking. If you want to great, but there’s other ways to use Sunday to optimize your upcoming week. This is where my weekly printable comes in handy.
I print it out every Sunday and write down what’s happening that week, what I’m making for dinner each night, and any appointments or extras that I have going on. I then place this beside my daily printable in the kitchen so it’s easy to see what’s going on. Figuring out dinners for the week on Sunday also allows for me to make a shopping list and head out to grab everything so I’m ready to go come Monday morning. Maybe it would work better or you to do this Saturday, or Friday night. Whatever. It doesn’t matter as long as is gets completed. Having it up and visible also makes sure rest of the family knows what’s going on and everyone in on the same page. I find a regular monthly calendar doesn’t offer the kind of room I need to write. These printables are perfect for keeping not only you, but your whole family on the same page.
All this is great and grand but if you don’t use it and just keep talking about how you “should” nothing changes. So decide right now, hit print, and make your new schedule happen!
Wanna share your top tips for how you schedule your days? Let me hear them! I’m always ready and willing to implement new changes if it allows me to be more efficient with my time! Drop them below!