The simple truth is, we are only given a FINITE amount of time each day. No matter what our best intentions are, we are only given 24 hours, not a minute more, each and every day to accomplish what we plan.
Most plans, especially within a homeschool environment, do not always fail due to a lack of preparation, but fail because too much was planned (or should I say "tried to be packed in") for any given day. How do we stop setting ourselves up for these time failures and stress induced frenzies?
A good place to start is by listing your main priorities of your family/homeschool and how much time they take (these are your good time takers); then make a list of all those other things taking your time each day. These things may be good things too, just not important enough to make the priority list. Now the fun begins, find 3-5 things you can immediately cut from your schedule. You can do it.
Here's a few more suggestions to get the most out of your time in your homeschool day.
- Do not overschedule the kids outside the home for fear of needing multiple socialization opportunities; you cannot homeschool if you are never home. Pick the activities that are most worthy of your family's time and talent. It doesn't take very many lessons, sports teams, church activities and scouts multiplied over multiple kids to put your schedule on overload.
- Write out all your obligations on a calendar so you can see them a month at a time. Make sure there is ample "white space" on the calendar. If you must, block out "white space" at the beginning of the month and guard it as importantly as you do meetings and other committments.
- Limit distractions. TV off. Cell on vibrate. PC (unless being used for that particular subject) off. You cannot be in the moment if you are constantly plugged in. People deserve face time. Our family deserves uninterrupted face time. Schedule times during the day to check voicemail and return email and calls and manage your electronic correspondence in scheduled "chunks" of time.
- Limit blogging. I know, funny coming from a blogger, but the simple truth is if you are always writing about your life or reading about someone elses you are not LIVING your life. Schedule specific times a week to write your posts for your own blog. Schedule and limit amounts of time spent social networking and reading others.
- A word about blogs...There are AMAZING ones out there. Follow blogs that fill a need in your life. Does it bring you much needed comic relief? Does it provide useful information, ideas, links, or resources? Does it fill a need you have for encouragement? If so, then follow. If not, don't. Who has time to read about so and so's baby going through 10 diapers on a given day. I can see that in full color right in my own house. Blogs that are negative or contain negative family dramas written out for the world to see are not worthy of your time. Your time is your most precious resource. Pick who you follow wisely.
- Same with facebook. Do you go on FB "jut to check" and then get sucked into the world of cyberspace for the next hour? If so, your family is the one feeling the effects of your social schmoozing.
- Don't feel obligated to continue time takers that aren't working. A few months ago, I thought it was wonderful that I had applied for and gotten a free lance writing job with an online magazine. A good opportunity? Yes. A good use of my time? Not necessarily. When I spent some time to think about it, the online magazine was not what I had written on my priority list, so why should it merit being a priority time taker? It doesn't. The lesson learned? Just because an opportunity is a good opportunity, doesnt make it good for you at that particular time in your life.
2011 is the year I am getting serious about what is worthy of my finite time I am given. Make your priority list. Check it twice. What made your list? What are your good and your naughty time takers?