I am a great multi-tasker...it is my superpower, but it takes more than just multi-tasking for me to manage 5 kids, homeschooling, graduate school, and the laundry...not to mention other stuff that finds it's way onto my calendar. However, I have learned I am able to get done what I need to get done with a smile when I do these ten things.
If you are a homeschooler, I promise you these will help your homeschool days go so much more smoothly when your new homeschool year gets underway! If you are special needs parent, or a busy mom in general, these should help you reclaim your schedule and your joy.
10 Tips to managing a busy schedule Joyfully
(in no particular order)1. Proper rest. I need 8 hours of sleep a night. no exceptions. ever. When I cheat on this I become cranky and, almost always, under the weather. If you are both mom and teacher in a homeschool environment or have a child with special needs, you need extra patience...because I fall in both those categories, I always try and add an extra hour to what I "think" I need a night when it comes to shut eye. Don't under estimate the power of what a proper nights rest can do and the benefits it can bring!
My kids can sleep anywhere, apparently...
2. Exercise. Even the busiest schedule needs to make time for this. I hate the gym, but enjoy other forms of exercise like tending to our animals, going to yoga and taking walks. Even housework counts as exercise! Endorphins which are released when you exercise make us happy. (Wait, under that line of reasoning housework would equal making us happy). Exercise keeps us healthy. I have 5 kids to keep up with including a 2 year old who is a juggernaut of energy and curiosity. I can't be running out of energy by noon...
3. Stress-management. Important. What works for you? Pray, meditate, quiet time, a short walk, a yoga class, attending adoration, writing in a gratitude journal, hiding in the bathroom hoping your kids haven't noticed your "missing" (been there, done that)...all of these are great options, well, except the hiding in the bathroom and though not great is still an option for alone time...I have to take care of me so I can be at my best for my kids. Also, my mom also used to tell me "The best stress management is stress avoidance"...to me this can mean saying no to that organization asking me to volunteer or declining that lunch invitation from a friend or acquaintance who is always negative...
4. Be an Early Bird. Making an effort to always get up before my kids did wonders for my homeschool schedule...and not just 15 min before them, but 1-2 hours before. This allows for coffee time, couple time, exercise, morning devotion, fb, email, organize the homeschool day....so many options. Then when the kids wake up, they have my full attention and I am awake enough to be patient, pleasant and organized. Don't let your kids wake up and start their day to a grumpy, tired, Mom.
5. Schedule your calendar based on what is important to you. We dropped girl scouts this year. My daughters liked it, but deep down I had a nagging conviction about where some of that National Dues money actually goes. It was also the activity taking up the most of our weekend free time. (Not to mention cookies sales hit in our craziest family time~~tax season). I dropped that off our calendar this fall. Goodbye concern, hello free weekends and I feel like my actions are now more in line with my beliefs.
6. The law of give and take applies. Last year I took 2 and 3 classes for fall and spring semesters respectively working towards my new Masters degree in History. This fall I am starting a new training certification (yoga teacher training) so something had to give. The compromise was I would only take one online class this fall. If you are busy and add something new to your schedule without making real room for it, you are only going to be more busy. Just as I like to donate or purge an old item in the house when I bring a new item in the house, so must you schedule be purged or flexed when something new is added. Unless your James Franco...and even then, the Forbes article praising his multi-tasking prowess warns "When I think of James Franco, I remember my number one rule for productivity: If you’re trying to do too much, there’s no system in the world that can help you".
7. Meal Plan. This seems simple and it is, but seriously, the weeks I meal plan we eat good, we eat healthy and kitchen duties are "no big deal". The weeks I don't, it pains me to say that pizza and frosted mini wheats suddenly take on a much larger role than I would like.
8. Don't feel locked in. You try something new, be it a new curriculum or a new schedule or a new endeavor, a new writing gig, whatever and it's just. not. working. It's okay. It doesn't mean it is not a good idea or a great opportunity, it just means that it is not a good opportunity for right now. Case in point, I was writing for an online news resource last year and after about a month and a half had to admit "Yes, I pursued this and I applied for it and I got it and now I just need it off my plate". Great opportunity. Not so great timing. It happens.
9. Maintain white space. I can't really tell you how much this positively affects the whole vibe of our home and homeschool. It also is one of the gifts I give to my marriage. I can't tell you how many times my husband has thanked me for us having a plans-free weekend. Having white space on your calendar is necessary for your family to recharge and spend time together as a family. I mark it on the calendar and then protect it just as I would any important meeting or appointment. Children need downtime. Adults need downtime. If you want to go really crazy, plan out some screen-free white space days on your calendar...no TV, no PC. Watch your spirits rise , your stress fall, and the memories form.
10. Don't let comparison steal your joy. So what if Harriet Homeschooler completes 100 things before breakfast...for all you know she might be terribly unhappy or on prozac. As the saying goes, (which is very true of facebook and blogs) don't compare your behind the scenes with someone elses highlight reel! ... I've learned to be very careful to not compare myself, my schedule, my homeschool or my productivity with anyone elses. What works for others may not be what works best for you. Everyone is different...For some thier best schedule is managing alot of things (hence the old adage "if you want something done, give it to a busy person") for others, a less-busy quieter day is key to homeschooling and homemaking success. In the end, you are given one life and one life only. Be true to the flow of the schedule that makes you the happiest and helps you be the most productive and Happy person you can be.
What would you add to this list?
This post is linked up to the following awesome linkys this week:
No Ordinary Bloghop
The Better Mom's Monday Link Up
Keeping it Simple's Motivate me Mondays
Tip Junkies Tip me Tuesday
Growing Home Blogs Teach Me Tuesday
Raising Homemakers Homemaking Link Up
Not Just a Housewife
Time Warp Wife's Titus 2sday
Natural Living Link-Up
The Magic Onions' Friday Nature Table
BASWOG's Homeschooling Link Up Fridays
Fit and Fabulous Fridays