"What's the point of scheduling stuff when the schedule is CONSTANTLY being disrupted, up-ended, and thrown out the friggin' window?"
I get it.
That's exactly what I deal with on the regular too, Mama; you are NOT alone!! There isn't a struggle more real than that of a mother trying to maintain a schedule. Right?
So.... How can you manage your schedule, with kids, without losing your ever-loving MIND?
Here are some tips which have REALLY helped me:
1. Plan out your week.
If you don't actively set aside time to just PLAN, you're not gonna be very effective at planning. Redundant right? I know. But let that sink in. (I'll wait.....)
Hand the kids off to Daddy for an hour each Sunday night. Ask Mom or BFF to watch the kids each Tuesday morning, or do this on Wednesday night while the kids are at activities... WHATEVER time works best for you, make it a priority to have at least one hour set aside each week to PLAN the next 7 days.
Have an outline for what you WANT your week to look like, and feel free to color-code if you'd like (purple is personal, blue is family, green is household, etc). I refer to this as my general "Weekly Plan" which can be reused from week to week, whenever possible. (I know, sometimes you've gotta juggle inconsistent work schedules, but this can be adjusted accordingly). Having this structure/outline in place will make your life SO much easier as you plan from week to week.
Here's an example:
(Color Coding is kinda my jam..)
2. Prioritize your task list.
Now, during this planning time, it’s time to prioritize everything that you’re wanting to do this week. Get everything out of your head, either onto a piece of paper or into an electronic checklist (not 8 different notebooks in 3 different rooms… Yes, I SEE you!!! Keep it all in ONE place, like an Asana list or a Google Doc, or even a list next to your planner or in your purse). Once you’ve brain-dumped, go through and prioritize the list by importance, labeling the MOST important things first.
(Now.. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking, “um… I can’t fit everything onto just ONE piece of paper, and the electronic list won’t even fit on my screen,, and how can I possibly work through so many THINGS?? It’s overwhelming!!” Yep, I hear you. I have some AWESOME tips for prioritizing your task list, but since it’s a LOT of information, I'll be sharing it in a separate post, so keep an eye out!!)
3. Schedule your tasks into your planner/calendar.
Whether you’re a paper planner person, or you prefer to go with electronic (PLEASE, do what works best for YOU!! Check out this blog post about WHY this is important), go through your planner for the upcoming week and start scheduling your tasks, starting with the highest priorities FIRST!!
By this point, you might be hearing the kids driving your husband crazy in the other room, but hang in there... This is worth the effort, Mama. :)
Have you ever heard of the analogy about “putting the big rocks in first”? If not, check out this video before proceeding. I really want you to understand the value of KEEPING those big rocks first. <3
This is where that colorful weekly plan sheet will come in handy; if you need to schedule a task pertaining to your household, you just schedule it during your first available “household” time. Do this for your ENTIRE week, including personal time, family time, sleep, work, house, business….. and you’ll be good to go!!
And please, for the love of ALL that if good in this world, schedule your MEALS!!! Cuz ain’t nobody got time for “hangry,” am I right??
BONUS STEP: Stop expecting perfection!
There have been SO many times in my life when things didn’t work out perfectly, but they still worked out really WELL, and I learned a LOT from the process; I’m SOOOO glad that I kept putting forth the effort, even with the hiccups and disruptions!! On the other hand, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given up on something GREAT just because it wasn’t turning out “perfectly” by my definition... It’s so sad, because those opportunities STILL could have blessed so many!!
I just want you to know that you’re GOOD ENOUGH. As you ARE. Your efforts are worth celebrating, and your endeavors can still be a HUGE blessing, even when they’re less than perfect!! Maybe even ESPECIALLY since they’re less than perfect.
I mean, honestly.
You have an opportunity to show that it’s POSSIBLE to have abundance, happiness, success, and fulfillment even WITH the imperfections! You are an inspiration, because you will show all of the flawed people (i.e. EVERYBODY who sees your progress) that these blessings can STILL abound in imperfection! How cool is THAT??
The best witnesses to your efforts are your children. If they see that you're taking intentional action & actively pursuing your goals, they're a LOT more likely to pick up those habits as well. As you fail forward, you teach by example how to manage your emotions through adversity, and you show your children how to work WITH your circumstances as a WINNER, not playing the victim card. By empowering yourself, you're teaching them to do the same. <3
Just keep this in mind: "imperfectly started" is going to bless you and your family (AND your potential clients) WAY more than "perfectly stagnant." ;)
Now, before I wrap this up, I want to acknowledge that I understand that this might seem a bit time-consuming up front, but here’s the deal:
When you invest the time to plan ahead, you're actually SAVING a lot of time in the long run.
You're no longer wandering aimlessly around the house in your pajamas at 11am on Tuesday, wondering what you were supposed to do today, because you can't find that stinkin' To-Do list (must be in spiral #237), and you're not sure where your energy would best be spent because EVERYTHING is demanding your attention, especially the kids.
You're no longer overwhelmed, nor stressed, nor burnt out, because everything is scheduled!!
If you remember something that needs to be done, you know exactly where to schedule it in, or at least write it down so you can schedule it later.
If ever you get side-tracked by the kids, you can just jump RIGHT back in once the kids are squared away, because every time frame has a purpose; you know what area of your life is scheduled for your attention, and you're able to focus more effectively on just ONE thing at a time.
I’m not guaranteeing that you’ll have 100% success in your scheduling; when kids are involved, they have a tendency to demolish our schedules sometimes. Even literally, as you can see in my recent Instagram post:
But what I’m wanting to emphasize is that you will make more PROGRESS when your time has a specific purpose. If you need to reschedule stuff, go with the flow. If you need to just drop your entire schedule for the day, you at least have a record of what you were GOING to do, so it can be rescheduled effectively.
And I've found that this is MUCH more productive than not planning at all. If ever I try to "fly by the seat of my pants," I somehow lose track of those "pants" somewhere along the way!! Maybe not literally, but I DO have young children who are prone to hanging all over me and pulling on my clothes ALL THE TIME... Just sayin'... But having a plan in place, I feel that I've got my booty covered, just in case I DO happen to have some cooperation from the kids. ;)
This is a process which will bless not only YOU, but the clients you serve AND your family as well. Above all else, be present and enjoy the moment. Because even if your plans appear to be going down the drain, things are ALWAYS working out FOR you in the long run. Trust this, be grateful for the moment, and breathe. Tomorrow is another day, and as long as you keep trying, you'll figure it out. :)
You’ve GOT this, Mama.
Your efforts are a blessing, and so are YOU. <3
If you have any scheduling tips that work great in YOUR life (especially if you're also dealing with kids), please share them in the comments below!!