Hello! I’m Amanda and I’m the mom behind the blog Green Tea + Cotton. I’m a homeschooling mom to 3 boys and a little girl. When I’m not homeschooling, you can find me sewing wallets for my Etsy shop, quilting, blogging, watching way to much Netflix, cleaning house, and chasing those kids around. I’ve recently taken a slight liking to working out and with everything that is on my plate, time management is very important. Kristle has been so kind as to invite me over to share with you how I manage my time and plan my day.
As a mom, and I’m sure you can relate, we always have running lists going through our head. Things that need to be done, items not to forget, activities to go to, and so on. The problem is that with so many lists freely going through your head something is bound to be lost.
Here is an idea of what my daily list looks like in my head:
House – vacuum, do dishes, clean toilets, take out trash, laundry, clean out car, sweep floor, mop floor.
School – Calendar, pledge, bible, math, reading, science, history, language arts, lapbooks, geography
Personal Development – Teach the 6 year old how to tie his shoes, teach the 4 year old how to sweep, work on patience, work on listening skills with 4 year old, work on coping skills with 6 year old (he has Aspergers which makes this critical to his social development), explain in terms why the 8 year old has more chores than the 6 year old
Business Items – Think of intriguing posts, post to IG, post to FB, sew wallets, network, pay bills, check inventory
Hobbies – Schedule in quilting time, read a book, I seriously need to get up earlier to get a good solid workout in
Relationships – Call grandma, call mom and dad, spend some time with hubby watching Netflix or talking, are my kids going to turn out ok? I haven’t spent much one on one time with them lately.
As you can see, I have a lot running through my head on a daily basis. The more I add to my plate the more I forget. So what is my secret to at least keeping a semi-organized life? A planner. It is my number one item I would recommend to anyone who is dealing with running lists in their head.
A planner doesn’t need to be expensive or frilly. It does need to have enough room for you to write everything down without becoming so overfilled you can’t easily see what is going on. Even a simple weekly planner layout will give you the space to put items down. The only thing I suggest if you go with a weekly planner layout, is to also have a monthly calendar in order to put very important dates on for scheduling purposes, i.e. birthday’s, registration deadlines, recitals, etc.
I, personally, have two planners – one for home, business, fitness; the other is strictly homeschool planning. They both have a monthly view followed by a weekly view. This has worked out really well for us. Now there are times that homeschooling items are transcribed into my smaller planner but that is strictly so I don’t plan anything during that time that would conflict with groups, field trips, testing, etc. I also color code each child for homeschool and activities as well.
This is my Plum Paper Designs planner. I’ve done two of their layouts – Morning, Day, Evening and the one above. The one above is a Family planner but I left the names of my family out and have it scheduled with Home, Family (2 sections), Social Media (3 sections), and Fitness. Yes, I even schedule daily chores in there. This is usually what my planner looks like at the beginning of a week. Then I add in as necessary – more chores, social media, Etsy, family/movie nights, etc.
My homeschool planner is an Erin Condren Teacher Planner. This has been the best planner I have used for scheduling our year and our day. See the color coding above? It keeps me straight as to who is doing what in their respective books and what of ours is group work. Definitely a Type A personality thing. Plus I love color. Black and white is very boring to me.
So how did I get to where I am? Well let me tell you…I used to try and plan my day, every day, to the ‘T’ in time slots. I became very frustrated with myself, my children, and my husband. Why? Because life never happens on scheduled times but, I will say, I do still plan that way to get a general idea of how I’d like things to go. I do this about every 3 months and it looks a little something like this:
5:00 – Wakeup and workout
6:00 – Shower and get ready
7:00 – Wake kids up and get dressed
7:30 – Breakfast
8:00 – Morning Chores/mom checks emails
8:30 – School Starts
11:00 – Lunch
11:30 – Finish any school work
1:00 – Naps/Rest/Free Time
2:00 – Mom goes into her office to work. Kids have free time and snacks
4:30 – Afternoon Chores/start dinner preps
5:30 – Dinner
6:00 – Family Time or Free Time
7:00 – Wind down time/Baths
8:00 – Bedtime
10:00 – Adults Bedtime
This is never my schedule but it gives me a basis of how to plan my day. I don’t do anything else until our school day is done. It ensures that it is always done and that it is a top priority. Some school days last longer than others and that is ok. Usually after lunch, if any school work needs to be done, it is primarily independent work which frees me up to answer anything I need to.
Another way that helps me is by splitting up chores in the morning and in the afternoon. Anything that will take longer than 30 minutes gets pushed to the afternoon. This can include folding laundry, bathrooms, mopping the floor, even grocery shopping.
How does this help you? Well, if you are struggling with lists running through your head, try planning your day out in time slots – your ideal day. From there break it down into importance. If getting your house clean before heading out grocery shopping is important, schedule that in the morning. Also, get dressed everyday. If you get dressed, all the way to shoes, you will accomplish more.
Once you have your schedule written down, start deciding what days you want to do things. This aspect will take a lot of trial and error. For instance, I grew up in a family where we did laundry all day long on every Saturday along with other household chores and grocery shopping. This led to a day that wasn’t the weekend but another workday. I *try* to do laundry every day in our house and am pretty successful at it. The first thing I do after breakfast is throw a load of laundry in the wash. By lunch I throw it in the dryer, and by the afternoon chores, it is ready to be folded. Do I get behind? Of course. My days aren’t perfect but it helps to have it scheduled out.
You can even break it up even further. For example your bathroom:
Monday – Mirrors and sinks
Tuesday – Toilets
Wednesday – Wash walls
Thursday – Tubs
Friday – Floors
Now you don’t have to do anything on Saturday or Sunday and each item took less than 30 minutes. Your bathroom stays clean all week long and you never had to spend a full day cleaning. It is very much the same premise as zone cleaning.
When you decide to take on a schedule like this, it may seem daunting, but rest assured you will get the hang of it. Having a planner of some sorts will allow you to schedule any cleaning items in and then you won’t forget. Just remember, time management, just like money management, is giving every minute and hour a job and responsibility. When you do that, your time works for you!