Thursday, July 29, 2010

Getting Things in Order VIII: Time continued

So I had sleep times and meal times already, as I wrote in my last post.   The only thing I needed to do there was make them more consistent.    I set 10-6 for my sleep hours (I already am pretty regular so it wasn't a big problem) and then mealtimes were 7, 9:30, 12, 3 and 5:30 (with an optional bedtime snack at 8 pm which I usually don't take advantage of).

Then my prayer times were set around these hours.   Church tradition is to start the new day at sunset of the old day and I've always thought that made sense.   So prayer times were:  just before dinner prep (about 4:30), family prayers before bedtime routine (about 8 pm), before I go to sleep (10pm), 5:45 am when I'm waking up, a rosary or devotional time at 7:30 after I get my morning routine started, prayers with the homeschool scholars before starting the day, then 3 pm or 4pm when things have slowed down a bit.   Remember I don't have babies.  When I had babies I had my prayer time centered around their nursing times.

After setting a prayer rhythm, I had to set exercise times.   This was more challenging because I'd never successfully set a consistent exercise time.   And I had to set flexible house maintenance times.

Here I found it helpful to think in terms of breaking up the day into basically three parts.  I hope I can explain this so it makes sense.


I realized that if I REALLY want to see something get done I have to make it happen in the morning.   So I try to make sure I get the basics done before 10 am.   So after I get up at 6 am I:  spend kitchen time (unloading dishwasher, starting coffee pot, starting breakfast, making lunch for the highschool and college kid etc), start laundry, devotions, a few minutes of stretching or light exercising, do the maintenance level of housework, and have Morning Time with the children.    That means that even if nothing else gets done the day is not a total disaster.   Thinking in terms of getting the absolute basics done in each area (food, laundry, exercise, prayer, homeschool) helps me stay focused and not drift around thinking I have lots of time. 


The next time period is from 10 am to about 5 pm.    This is the main part of the day and it lasts longer so I have more time to go in-depth.   The main agenda is similar to the list above -- meals, prayer, activity, homeschooling, and add in some personal time to study -- but it's possible to shift things around and spend more time on different things.    I try to have homeschooling time betweeen 10 and noon, then lunch and chores, then another period of study time, then outdoors, then exercise or a bath or rest.  But the details can be juggled somewhat.  If something isn't being gotten to very well for more than a day or two then that becomes top priority for the next day.   Also, this is the block of time where I try to tackle the things that aren't part of the regular routine -- appointments, errands, activities, phone calls etc. 


The third time period is from my evening examen up to bedtime, so about 5pm to 10 pm.  This is actually sort of part of the following day, as I said above, and it is helpful for me to think of it that way.   During my examen I try to call to mind weak points during the day and what I didn't get to and what I should do tomorrow as a result.   During this time period,  dinner is the main event -- preparation, meal, cleanup.  Then we switch over to bedtime preparations.... clean-up, hygiene, story time, prayer, etc.    Then I hopefully have a bit of down time with my husband after everyone is down.    During this time I also try to get things smoothed out for the next day -- figure out what's for dinner; lay out clothes; get lunch ready for the high-schooler; find out what everyone's plans are; get the coffee maker set up and the dishes set to washing.  

This has been working pretty well.  I never get to everything -- but I figured that if I get pretty much everything covered on a basic level in the morning time period, then hit the key points in the rest of the day and about 80% of the things I listed, and do the evening basics, then I'm basically OK.

Here's the link to my most recent schedule.  But the way I wrote it above has been the most helpful to me to keep in mind as I go through the day.    I usually write out a To-Do list to keep track of those non-daily things that still need to be done.    Let's say that I know I need to call my son's OT, call our insurance about a mistake in coverage, drive my daughter to her orthodontist, etc.   If I write those down I can get them out of my mind.    I realized that it works against simplicity for me to write EVERYTHING down.  If I I have to flip through a huge notebook to remember things, that adds an extra layer and I just won't end up doing it.  But keeping a simple list on a card can be helpful, and I do use the Ta-Da list online to keep track especially of more complicated things like planning a trip, etc.

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