Scheduling: Adjusting Moment by Moment

Scheduling: Adjusting Moment by Moment

Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images

If you saw my planned schedule for this week and then saw what actually occurred, you would think that I had mistakenly given you another week’s plan.

This is because this week has not gone as planned since I have been adjusting moment by moment. Some weeks proceed on schedule while other weeks seem to get derailed from the start.

When the plan gets bumped, I adjust and try to strategize again. Sometimes it works, and other times, I just embrace the time I have and accomplish what I can.

Even with the unexpected e-mails, phone calls, and visits, I was able to accomplish the following this week:

Though I did not get many items crossed off my to do list, I did get much accomplished. Sometimes in adjusting moment by moment, I get more done than trying to fit my schedule into the confines of that day.

In looking back, I did get much accomplished this week even though it was not what I had originally planned. If your plan gets derailed, then relax and see what you can get done.

Sometime life is more like a chess game. Though you have a plan, your opponent makes a move that you did not see coming. Instead of giving up, you adjust, rethink your move, and then forge ahead.

In using time wisely, plans will fail, but you may get more done and develop deeper relationships by adjusting moment by moment. Happy adjusting!

Question: How do you cope when your planned schedule does not work? 

Scheduling: My Thanksgiving Week Plan

Scheduling: My Thanksgiving Week Plan

Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images

Thanksgiving Week is here in the United States. Yay! This week brings a bit more relaxing to our schedule as my children are out of school the entire week.

Having been cleaning on and off for the past few weeks, I have made lots of progress though I am not finished. In preparing for our Thanksgiving Feast on Thursday, I choose to start with a plan.

Last year, I shared my overview which worked well. This year, I am still cleaning, so I have a more detailed plan to get me from here to there:

Monday

  • Pickup the downstairs
  • Quick clean the downstairs half bathroom
  • Enjoy my children being home
  • Write a couple blog posts

Tuesday

Wednesday

  • Bake pies and cake
  • Work on laundry
  • Clean my children’s rooms
  • Write a blog post

Thursday

Friday

  • Host a play date with out-of-town guests
  • Pack up Thanksgiving items
  • Start decorating for Christmas
  • Watch football
  • Enjoy the day with my family
  • Write a blog post

Saturday

  • More Christmas decorating
  • Finish any cleaning
  • Watch football
  • Enjoy our family
  • Write a blog post

Our Thanksgiving Week is underway. Though I may not get everything marked off my list, I have a plan from which to start each day. If you are celebrating Thanksgiving this week, then I wish you a blessed week of thankfulness and gratitude among the cleaning, preparing, and scheduling. Keep using time wisely as you celebrate this week!

Question: What tasks are you hoping to cross off your list this week?

Murphy’s Law Strikes Back

Murphy’s Law Strikes Back

Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images

Yep, it was Monday. The morning routine worked perfectly with Mr. 8 and Miss 6 off to school. Ran a few errands with Miss 3 and dropped her off for a day with Grandpa and Grandma. Ah, a morning to catch up and prepare for our dinner guests this evening.

In starting my week with a manageable plan, I was ready to conquer my downstairs, catch up on e-mail, and write a blog post or two. With the morning and part of the afternoon alone, I was getting in my groove.

Made the pan éclairs for dessert, switched the laundry, and chatted with my mother on the phone. All was going well and I was getting items marked off my To Do list when  . . . Murphy’s Law entered the picture.

The adage termed Murphy’s Law states: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” As it usually does, my “anything” started with a phone call. Mr. 8’s teacher calling with the news that the power went out at the school and pickup was now at noon.

The Inciting Incident

What? No! How am I going to get everything done? Oh, the questions spun in my head as I grabbed my purse and headed out the door.

As I tried to recreate the rest of my day, I realized that I wasn’t going to get it all done, so I was going to have to adapt, adjust, and remain flexible as life just happened.

When I arrived, the car line was a mess. The noon dismissal individuals have a different pickup procedure than the full-day students resulting a parking lot disaster. Choosing to just park and get Miss 6, I found her very upset as she missed P.E. and recess due to the power outage. Then after getting Mr. 8, he was begging to play in the gym – again, no power.

The Detour

Well, the power was off in that entire section of town, so what’s a mom to do when her kids need some exercise? We improvised – ending up at Chick-fil-A for lunch. As I see my day fading away, I rearranged my priorities. These young ones needed a break. They had been without air conditioning, were hot and hungry, and needed a place to play.

The Hurdle

After eating and playing, we had to get home. Wanting to get homework done before dinner, we started. Well, what they missed in class ended up coming home. The whole afternoon was shot as we worked on homework until 4:30 p.m.

The Climb

As I looked at the clock and realized that our guests would arrive in 1.5 hours, I felt overwhelmed. Laundry had not been finished, the kitchen was a mess, dinner needed making, and the bathroom could use a wipe down. In using time wisely, I adjusted and focused only on what had to be done and skipped the extras.

The Team

Rallying the troops, I explained how today turned out differently than expected for all of us. Using this opportunity to teach my children, we worked together. They finished their task and came to ask what else was needed. Miss 6 wore out quickly, but Mr. 8 was a huge help from wiping down the sink and toilet with disinfecting wipes to moving the dining room chairs and running the upstairs items to my bedroom.

The Finish Line

With a 6:00 p.m. deadline, we worked all the way up to the sound of the doorbell. I had just finished cleaning the inside of the toilet when our guests arrived. Whew! It was a day. Dinner of Chicago-style stuffed pizza from Papa Murphy’s, cheese sticks, and salad along with pan eclairs for dessert was great, and our guests enjoyed hearing how Murphy’s Law Strikes Back.

Life will happen. Though I include extra time into our daily routines, sometimes shortcuts need to occur. I will end up going back to clean the bathroom and put away the clothes and the other items stashed in my bedroom. But in using time wisely, making adjustments is part of the journey.

To be honest, the day I had planned lacked excitement and adventure, but the day turned out so differently – and better. I got to hang out with my older two alone, enjoy a lunch outing, and our house was presentable for our dinner guests, who never would have known how quickly we adjusted.

As Murphy’s Law strikes back at your house, which will happen, try to roll with the punches and find the silver lining. Laugh lots, stay flexible, keep with the detours and the hurdles, and embrace the change of scenery. Happy navigating on this journey of using time wisely!

Question: How do you adjust when Murphy’s Law strikes back?

Establishing an Afternoon Routine

Establishing an Afternoon Routine

Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images

Of our three routines – Evening, Morning, and Afternoon, our afternoon routine is the most flexible.

Having soccer practices last year and drama rehearsals this year, we will adjust as needed to get homework completed.

The goal of our afternoon routine is to finish up the school day before dinner.

Prior to establishing an afternoon routine, I really didn’t think I needed to plan doing homework.

However, dealing with who got help first and where to sit at the table and playing while waiting for help demanded some ground rules and a routine.

Now, that both of my school-aged children will attend full day, our routine should be simpler this year. This is how we roll in our afternoon routine.

Our Afternoon Routine

The homework section of the afternoon begins once we arrive home from running errands and playing outside.

Unload the Van

As the children enter the house, they park their backpacks in their designated spaces in our hallway. Each of the children have a section of the wall to place their items.

Once parked, they unload their lunch bags and place them on the kitchen counter by the toaster oven.

Change Clothes

Usually my children prefer to change out of their uniforms into play clothes. While they change, I prepare an afternoon snack.

Snack

As a bridge between lunch and dinner, the snack provides nourishment and energy. If they do not get a snack before starting homework, then frustration and irritability will arise. Learning from past incidents, we start homework with a snack.

Homework

After snack, we alternate between my son and daughter as to who will sit with me first. Both of them sit at the table. I will help both of them get started, and then I will work with one to completion and then work with the other.

My son is getting to the point where he can do his own homework. He just needs help studying and reviewing his items. My youngest daughter draws at the table, watches a movie, or plays quietly in the living room during this time.

When homework is done, all school work is packed up and returned to their backpacks. The children are free to play, watch a movie, or rest. During this time, I prepare or finish dinner and clean out their lunch bags to air out for the next day’s lunch.

At the end of our afternoon routine, all backpacks are ready for the next school day.

Establishing an Afternoon Routine

As a stay-at-home mom, I use time in the afternoon to get homework done. If you are a working parent, then your evening routine will include homework. The goal is to find what works for your family and adjust as needed to using time wisely.

When we worked through establishing an afternoon routine, these tips helped us nail down specifics:

1. Choose a space in which to work. Though my children have desks and small tables, we found working at the dining room table the best space for completing homework.

2. Designate sections. When one child is working with me, then he or she is sitting in the chair next to me. The other child is sitting on another side of the table to give room for working alone. When the first child is done, then the second child moves over to the chair next to me.

3. Keep supplies handy. Each of my children keeps a pencil box on the bookshelf in our dining room. The pencil boxes contain erasers, glue sticks, scissors, and pencils. We also keep crayons, colored pencils, markers, dry-erase boards and markers, and extra paper on the shelves to assist with homework tasks.

4. Clean up. Homework is not finished until all supplies and backpacks are returned to their homes. By working at the dining room table, we must clean up before dinner to have a place to eat. 😉

With lots of flexibility built into our daily schedules, I find our evening, morning, and afternoon routines helpful to keep my family on track. The late morning and early afternoon time is spent cleaning, running errands, appointments, meetings, playing, and taking care of life.

Each day is its own and is unlike any other day. However, establishing routines brings our family back together, puts us on the same page, and helps us in using time wisely. Happy routine making!

Question: What are your tips for assisting with homework?

Establishing a Morning Routine

Establishing a Morning Routine

Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images

Dusting off the alarm clock from its summer break, our family is gearing up for the start of the school year.

We started with our evening routine tonight to help our family transition into early mornings for the upcoming start of school.

Honestly, I’m torn. I really enjoy having my kids home and running around playing at the park, going on outings with friends, and hanging out without a set schedule for the summer.

On the other hand, I also like the scheduled routine of school and watching my children learn and grow in their knowledge and application of that knowledge.

While using time wisely this summer, we have had a great time. As we wind down, we will implement our morning routine.

Our Morning Routine

To start off our mornings, Paul and I rise before the children. This gives us time to get ourselves ready and to have some peace and quiet. We typically rise 20 – 30 minutes prior to waking the children.

Wake Up

After Paul and I get ready, we divide and conquer. We each take a room either the nursery or the older kids’ room. Once everyone is up and working on getting ready, Paul heads downstairs to make breakfast. I remain upstairs to oversee brushing teeth, helping with buttons and zippers, and untying knots from stubborn tennis shoes.

Breakfast

Once everyone is dressed, we head downstairs with their drinks from the prior night. When breakfast is ready, the children go to the table and eat. Daddy gives each of us a kiss and hug before heading out to work.

While the children eat, I pack their lunches and snacks and write their lunch notes for the day. If I have time to eat my breakfast, then I do. If not, I take it with me on the way to school.

Cleanup

As the children finish breakfast, they ask to be excused and clear off their places. They help me clear the table and rinse the dishes. Depending on the day, some eat quicker than others, so my routine is flexible. After breakfast, I become a hair dresser.

Grooming

Brushing each of their hair and styling it, I work on a first come, first served basis. Once their hair is groomed, they put their lunch boxes in their backpacks and head to the van. I will finish any last minute clean up and make sure all the bags are missing from their assigned places (more on this coming in the afternoon routine).

Leave for School

If I still need breakfast, then I take it with me along with my purse. I help the preschooler buckle into the van, and then we head to school which concludes our morning routine.

Establishing a Morning Routine

Similar to our evening routine, our morning routine contains the same set of activities in the same order. The repetition gives an ebb and flow to our mornings. Without our morning routine (think Sunday mornings), we are out of sync, and we take more time going back and forth getting items we need.

In establishing a morning routine, I find these tips helpful:

1. Wake up before children. I’m a late owl, so I do not rise early. However, I need a little quiet to myself before starting the day. Even 15 minutes is great for focusing on the task ahead.

2. Build in extra time. Some days will have more hiccups than others. With a little extra time built in, you won’t be scrambling to get out of the house.

3. Use a meal planner for lunches. With a plan and supplies on hand, you can make or gather the items for lunches quickly without having to send money for pizza at the last minute. I also keep sausage on a stick packages in the freezer for mornings that need a quick breakfast we can eat in the van.

4. Give yourself grace. Chaos is going to happen at some point. Whether milk gets spilled, the phone rings, or the car won’t start, try to relax. Prepare for what you know is coming, and then handle the surprises as they come.

In using time wisely to prepare for the start of school, we are establishing a morning routine. With a plan in place that meets our family’s needs, we will repeat the sequence of events. We might still have our eyes closed, but the memory of our routine will kick into gear.

As you work through establishing a morning routine, start with a successful evening routine to get your day off to a great start. Happy discovering!

Question: What helps your mornings go smoothly?