Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Time: Scheduling Our Days

I've been talking about time this month, something I've really been interested in and exploring especially over the last year or so.  I've had a lot more time to manage since being a stay at home mom and I'm very aware of wanting to use it well, have time for Matt and Luke, have time for my hobbies, sleep, and all the necessary things that need done.

I realized that while I had all these sewing and craft projects I wanted to get done and Matt and I always have projects we are working on, we were spending an awful lot of time in front of our computers (nap time for me) or Netflix (evenings together).  It was very easy to get sucked into a rabbit hole of blog reading over nap time when I had craft and sewing projects piling up.  In the evenings we'd be searching Netflix for something to watch while our basement was a complete mess and we both had projects going down there.  Something needed to be done.

We made schedules.  I look at this like the budgeting we do with our money.  Just like we try to decide where our money is going to go ahead of time, we try to decide where our time should go.  Just like budgeting our finances (mostly) keeps us from wasting money on unnecessary things, our time scheduling (mostly) keeps us from wasting time on unnecessary things.  It's not 100% successful by any means but it is definitely a start and has helped a lot more things get down around here!

Nap/Quiet Time
I started with one for nap times.  What I would do each day while Luke was sleeping (ahhhh...when he used to sleep every day...)  I clean up the kitchen from lunch, aim to read bout 50 pages in my current book, check Instagram and then move onto my project for the day.  It looks like this:

Monday: upload/sort/tag pictures from the weekend
                update blog from the weekend
Tuesday: sew or craft
Wednesday: update photobooks for the past week
                     review books on Goodreads.
Thursday: sew or craft
Friday: finish up blog posts as needed

I often have time on Mondays and Wednesdays to blog as well.  It's basically keeping me from turning on my computer during nap/quiet time on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  If I have no current projects then I will just read the whole time (which is wonderful!).  Pretty much my only exception to the no computer rule is when I'm finishing up photobooks for the year or working on one from a trip.  Those take longer than my allotted time on Wednesday.

We've recently talked about implementing a similar schedule for the hours between when Matt gets home from work and when we start Luke's bedtime routine.  Since our weekend nights are mostly filled with fun family things, we aim for one family thing during the week (lately that means meeting Matt at the zoo straight from work or riding our bikes downtown), I get one night to work on things while Matt plays with Luke and then Matt gets the other two nights to work on projects while Luke and I hang out.  What happens what night all depends on Matt's work schedule, the weather, and how badly the grass needs mowed (which lately has been...zero...I don't think Matt has mowed in well over a month...one small benefit to a very dry summer!).

Then Matt and I try to keep to a schedule for our nights, i.e. after Luke is in bed.  We are typically each on our computers until 9:30 (I'm almost always blogging, also my daily Facebook check) and then we spend about an hour together before getting ready for bed.  We try for, at most, two tv nights, which all depends on which shows are on what nights (even though we DVR everything we watch...can't get too behind on American Ninja Warrior!).  Then ideally 1-2 nights working on projects which for a long time meant I would be going through my basement boxes while Matt worked at his workbench.  And some weeks we just throw a "go to bed early" night in there because...sleep is wonderful.  Of course, as I write this it's the Olympics which means the schedule is completely shot because we are watching that every night (thanks, DVR for letting us fast forward through non-medal heats and commercials!).

Just like I'm a big fan of budgeting, I've been a big fan of these schedules we've implemented.  I'm very strict about my quiet time schedule but the rest are more fluid depending on what needs done in any given week.  We still brainstorm projects faster than we can get through them but these steps have really helped us spend less time in front of screens and work more on pursuing those hobbies!

Next up: maybe trying to bring more structure to mine and Luke's 8-5 day.  That could really use some help because, like pretty much any other SAHM, I often get to the end of the day and wonder what the heck I did all day with Luke!  We've made big steps in our Luke-free time (and two-on-one parenting time) so I know how much a little planning and structure can improve how time is spent!

Anyone else a big fan of scheduling and planning?  Have specific quiet/nap time projects? Goals?  I'm always interested in how others spend their days!

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