Taking a look back at
this now I am so glad I decided to put myself on a schedule.
Just because I am a work-at-home mom doesn't mean that my life
needed to be such an unorganizezd mess! So I took control.
by Amanda Formaro
I looked at the computer clock and much
to my dismay, it was 3:25 p.m. My 7 year old son would be home
in five minutes from school and I had nothing done in the house.
I had intended to do three loads of laundry, clean the bathrooms
and straighten out my daughter's closet. All that aside from
the regular everyday housecleaning and meal preparation. Dinner
was still unthought-of and rock solid in the freezer, and homework
hassles were right around the corner.
Taking a look back at this now
I am so glad I decided to put myself on a schedule. Just because
I am a work at home mom doesn't mean that my life needed to be
such an unorganized mess! So I took control. How?
Grab a piece of paper. Think
of the things that you do every day or would like to do every
day. Write them ALL down and assign a time frame to each one.
This time frame can be how long you actually spend or how long
you would like to spend on each one. I will list my tasks to
use as an example:
- Shower, make
Get breakfast ready, make lunches.....20 minutes
Get kids ready for school.....20 minutes
- Take kids to
Clean the house, laundry.....2 hours
Walk the dog.....20 minutes
Work on website & check email OR run errands.....1 hour 30
Monitor chores.....10 minutes
Lunch for kids at home.....10 minutes
Work on website, networking and other computer tasks.....3 hours
Prepare dinner early.....30 minutes
Make dinner, do dishes, kids watch TV, make phone calls.....2
Bathtime, stories.....1 hour
The next step is add up all those
time frames. In the example above, the total comes to 13 hours.
Now figure out how many hours your day actually consists of.
So for example, I get up at 5:30 a.m. and put the kids to bed
at 8:00 p.m., so my day consists of 14 hours and 30 minutes.
So essentially I can get everything done each day and have an
hour and 30 minutes to spare. Phew! The question is can YOU fit
everything you want or need to accomplish into your day? Most
Now it's time to work the above
tasks into the daily routine, routine being the key word here.
First you may need to ask yourself some pertinent question.
- When during the day do you spend
the most time at home?
- Do you tend to run your errands
in the morning or in the afternoon?
- When does the baby nap?
- Do you have access to a vehicle
all day or do you share with your spouse?
All of these come in to play
when planning your schedule.
In my situation, it is most convenient
for me to run around in the morning and stay home in the afternoon.
The baby naps just after lunch so this is an ideal time for computer
work or house cleaning. Let's use my actual schedule as an example
to show you how this can be done.
5:30 Make coffee,
6:00 Computer work
7:00 Walk the dog
7:30 Make breakfast, make lunches, get kids ready for school
8:45 Drive kids to school
9:00 Email or errands
10:30 Prepare dinner for the evening
11:00 Make lunch, computer work
1:30 Clean house, do laundry
3:30 Homework, monitor chores
5:00 Dinner, dishes, TV for kids, phone calls to contacts
7:00 Bathtime, stories
8:00 Bedtime for kids
Once your schedule is in place
you will find that you will become so proficient at what you
do that you will actually end up with time left over! Usually
in the morning I can get in an extra 15 or 20 minutes on the
computer and am usually able to get the kids ready for school
a little quicker as well. It actually helps the kids to be more
consistent because it is so routine. I am focusing on the task
at hand, not flying in three different directions. It is a much
more orderly way of doing things. The children can sense that
and seem to be better behaved because of it.
I would like to point out a couple
of things. One being the 9:00 a.m. portion of my schedule. I
do not necessarily have to work on email everyday. This spot
can be used for running to get milk or taking that needed trip
to the post office.
You may have noticed that I have
dinner listed at 10:30 in the morning. The reason for this is
to prepare most of it ahead of time. That way all that is left
to do is heat up the main meal and add a side or salad. This
makes for a much smoother evening, which tends to be one of the
most hectic times of the day!
Lastly, I am sure you are saying
to yourself: What about things like doctor's appointments, haircuts
and other out of the ordinary activities?
Depending on your tasks of the
day you may be able to allow for extra time on one or two areas.
Mine is in my computer time. If too much of my computer time
is eaten up, I will work after 8:00 p.m. to catch up. This I
don't mind doing because I enjoy my computer work. There will
always be things to disrupt your schedule. Just prioritize your
activities and work around it when necessary.
Another nice thing for me is
Friday night is pizza night. I don't have to cook, hence leaving
a gaping hole at 10:30 a.m. and again at night when dinner is
served and dishes are done. I often use this time to catch up
on any time that had been lost in other areas.
Scheduling is an important part
of time management. I see so many people carrying day planners
around just so they can erase all their tasks from that day that
did not get done and move them to the next day. What's the point?
Stay on schedule whenever possible. If it doesn't work for you
right away then you may need to rewrite it or eliminate any unnecessary
There are ways to do this successfully,
but you must be willing to put forth an effort and discipline
yourself. You will be happy you did.
Amanda Formaro is the mother of four children. She
and her husband live in Kenosha, Wisconsin. She is also the owner
of The Family Corner.com.