“Time blocking” is a Lioness term for time management.
Does making a plan feel like trying to put your head in a box? It may, especially if you are used to just putting out proverbial fires all day! While putting out fires can keep you hopping and give you a feeling of productivity, it’s mostly just a feeling of busy-ness. Running like that still keeps you at the mercy of unplanned events and other people’s unplanned events and actually creates emergencies instead of putting you in the driver’s seat by making proactive decisions about how to live your life.
I have used this method for about 15 years, and I have re-structured my days many, many times throughout those years! Every time the seasons change, the kids go back to school, or my husband’s schedule changes or when my responsibilities change, I redo my plan to suit our needs. So bear in mind that you are the designer, and you’re looking for ways to be proactive and decisive about when you will do what. A plan is something of your own creation that serves you, you don’t serve it, so no need to be afraid of putting a schedule to paper.
What I’ve found works best is to think of your time-blocking schedule as the skeleton or structure of your day. It’s the bare bones, the simply stated tasks that need to be done each day.
Monday’s schedule at my house includes, washing white clothes (drying, folding and putting away), watering the house plants and finishing any ironing I may have. Those are the items that I only do on Monday’s, along with the other everyday things like making the bed and doing dishes after each meal, etc. Having these tasks in a rotation helps me take care of my house without having to wonder what to do every day. All of the other things I do during the day help to keep things tidy, but the time-blocking jobs are actually taking care of things underneath so-to-speak.
So Tuesday’s extra jobs include cleaning the bathrooms and washing the sheets and towels. And on through each day, with it’s own specific tasks.
When creating your schedule, it’s important to list the things that are most important first, including self-care items like exercising and showering! (Remember, they’re the big rocks that go in the jar first. When put in order, much more fits, right?)
For instance; when I do my critical self-care items first thing in the morning, I am more stable and able to deal with the challenges of the day. For me, once the day is rolling, it is pretty difficult to find time to go back and plug those important things into the flow.
The real trick with time-blocking is make a structure that supports you but is also flexible. This is an art. And it takes practice. I’m still practicing.
You need to make sure that your plan is chunky, meaning that you’re not scheduling things too tightly. In family life, things change! But that’s also a balancing act. Sometimes it’s better to hold to the schedule and say no to a change. Other times it’s best to let go and skip something for a week, or until you have another opportunity to do that job. The over arching deal is getting in the rhythm of doing things when it is time (barring the unforeseen trip to the doctor) instead of waiting until we feel like doing it.
If you go to an office every day, you do what needs to be done and you’re answerable to someone for accomplishing things in a timely way. If you treat your home with that same respect and diligence, you’ll be much happier with the state of things on most days!
For more thoughts on scheduling and time-blocking or prioritizing, see these previous blog posts:
Thoughts On Pulling Weeds 11-20-2012
It’s A Daily Thing 2-19-2017
It’s About Time 2-21-2017
Begin With The End In Mind 3-30-2017
Surrounded By Decision 4-22-2017
Deciding Feels Fabulous Darling 5-20-2017
One last thought. I have found that I think I can do much more in a day than I truly can. And when I get over scheduled, I get over-taxed and that makes everything harder. We are all different, so maybe these issues aren’t the things that trip you, but for what it’s worth, part of my decision-making is deciding to do some things later. We don’t have to take on the whole world today! I’m much better off keeping my daily tasks very simple and then asking for help from our family members. When they know what needs to be done on any given day, they can pitch in or at least know that by taking care of their own messes, they won’t add to the work I have to do.
When things get crazy, take a day off and then just step back into your schedule when things calm down. Learn to bend and flex and look for the win/win’s that are all around.
I hope you will have success in creating a rhythm that supports a fluid, progressive and nurturing environment in your home.
P.S. If you are a Lioness client, remember that you can revisit your time-blocking worksheets anytime! If the current routine you have isn’t cutting it, ask yourself what is needed? Have you scheduled too much like I tend to do? Do you need more time for self-care? Do you need to let a few things go and focus on others that are higher priority? Prayerfully consider what it is that you need and start moving in that direction! Be kind, gentle and respectful in your self-talk, while also being firm as needed. You are doing wonderfully well! One day at a time.