My earliest experience with making lists and schedules started with playing with dolls with my little sister. We (or perhaps it was just me…) liked to name each one and, at minimum, give them an age, grade level, and bedtime, which was meticulously written down by me in a detailed table. We referenced this list as we played.
I also wrote schedules for myself – to the very minute! – for the entire day every once in a while. I was very much a perfectionist and was hard on myself whenever circumstances challenged my plans. Depending on my mood, I would either scrap my schedule for the rest of the day or skip over a few activities until I got to the current time slot.
I color coded my school timetables in junior high and high school and would study them in fascination, analyzing the patterns of class type, location, time, and day, until memorized – and even still afterwards. So I don’t think you’ll be surprised to find out that I was absolutely stoked when I got to create my own timetables in university. (I confess that I even get overly excited when Lucas gets to choose his own classes and he sometimes lets me try to condense his schedule to make it more efficient.)
Schedule or Routine?First, a note: the difference between a schedule and a routine is that a schedule is a sequence of activities that follows time constraints and a routine is a set of activities not necessarily sequential or strictly timed.
Schedules are great if you have many time constraints throughout your day. They are very efficient if activities can be timed closely or overlap typically unproductive “dead time” (like travel time).
Routines are great if you require a lot of flexibility throughout your day. They are very efficient if you are motivated to move quickly or are well focused on the task at hand.
I think being able to use a combination of schedules and routines in your day is the most efficient and time-wise thing you can do for yourself. If you can, have a morning and an evening routine you follow each day with scheduled productive time in the day (such as work or school).
Determining My Own RoutinesA goal I set this year was to come up with morning and evening routines that would help me accomplish the necessary things each day plus have time to do the things I really want to do. Some other goals I want to accomplish have been included in these routines to help guarantee that I would actually set aside time each day to work on them. I also am sure to consider mine and my family’s needs when deciding what to include.
My routines have now been revised three times since July this year. What you see below was just redone this past week and I think will work the best for me. I started out with just a rough sketch of what I thought I wanted to accomplish in the morning and then in the evening, but it was really just too much stuff. My second revision cut out a few things and rearranged others. This time I decided to use nap times to my advantage based on how things were typically going in the last two months.
|Side 1 of printout|
For the first part of the morning and evening, I actually try to follow a schedule as best I can. Sometimes I switch the order of how I do things in the morning, but I still try to get as much done as possible before Tevia wakes up. In the evening I have Lucas to help and so things tend to go smoothly. We switch between washing dishes and bathing Tevia each night.
For the naps and my own bedtime routine, I just included approximate lengths of time it would take to accomplish those tasks, especially since I can’t always determine when those will happen. Being a mom, I most definitely need flexibility!
|Side 2 of printout|
I decided to assign a different activity to each day of the week to work on during “Nap 2.” I also included an area where I can list which exercises I have been assigned to do by my chiropractor.
I am definitely still struggling to follow my routines. Some days are better than others. Sometimes I only get to follow my morning routine or just the evening routine or something in between. Sometimes I just have a rough, chaotic day and wonder if I should just give up even trying to get anything done.
But I’m still trying. I think I can make things easier for myself if I have things in their proper place each morning and night, ready for the next iteration of my routine. For example, having the clean dishes put away and picking out my outfit for the next morning before going to bed.
Do you follow a daily routine? What do you include in it?
Next week’s topic: [Family Devotional & the Thank You Jar]