I wanted to end this series on Time Management with some thoughts on managing your time when it comes to homemaking. I’m still learning right along with you, so I hope you’ll chime in and share some of your tips and ideas, too!
1) Streamline Your Homemaking Routines
Most of you know that my mantra is, “Keep it simple.” There’s no need to have an elaborate system if something really basic works for you (though, if an elaborate system works for you, more power to you!).
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stick with the basics. In our house, if we have clean laundry, sufficiently picked up rooms, clean bathrooms, the dishes are loaded into the dishwasher and the floors are swept, I consider things to be in pretty good shape.
I aim to complete the tasks on my Daily, Weekly and Monthly checklists, but I don’t always get to all of them. However, I’ve found that if I shoot to get them done, even if I skip a few things every few days, the house stays in pretty good shape. It’s never perfect, but it’s usually 45-minutes to Company Ready. And I’m satisfied with that at this point in my life.
2) Take Time to Plan
I touched on this before, but I’m going to talk about it again. Without a plan, you don’t know where you’re supposed to be going. You’re aimless and purposeless and you’ll usually be more apt to just run around in circles putting out fires.
Planning one cleaning project to do each day and actually doing it, is much better than waking up with 447 projects in your head you feel you really should do but you’re so overwhelmed that you end up doing nothing.
I encourage you to set aside time in your schedule each week to make a simple plan of action as well as goals for the coming week. I usually make out this list for the upcoming week on Saturdays and then try to review my list the following Saturday bumping whatever didn’t get accomplished during the previous week to the next week.
Reviewing this weekly list of goals is always so encouraging to me because even on those weeks when it feels like nothing really got done, when I review my list at the end of the week I’ll realize that yes, I really did accomplish some things — despite what it may have felt like!
I use a list similar to FishMama’s (above), only mine’s not so detailed. It just has sections for Home, Jesse, Children, Personal, Ministry and Blogging. I try to set 3-5 goals for each section each week.
In the home section, I might write an extra organizing or cleaning project and two cooking projects. In Jesse’s section, I might write to set a goal of writing him one note, doing something fun with him and a specific prayer request to pray for him daily. In the children section, I might set a goal to finish a book we’re reading together, do an extra craft project and plan one fun outing.
In the personal section, I usually set goals for Bible memory work, a book I want to finish and some other area I’m working on improving in (such as going to bed on time!). For the ministry section, I might set a goal to have a friend over, write a card to someone and make food for someone. And in the blogging section, I’ll usually set goals for whatever posts or projects I’m hoping to finish that week.
Now obviously, I don’t always do everything in every section every week. In fact, some weeks I only get a few things off my list done. But planning these at the beginning of the week and then referring to my list of goals as I make out my short daily to-do lists helps me to be a lot more purposeful in living my life.
3) Involve the Family
My husband and I are firm believers in families being a team. No one person in a family was designed to carry the load of everything; it should be shouldered by each individual member to the level of their ability.
Now, I know I am very, very blessed to be married to a man who doesn’t shirk when it comes to work — whether that’s in his professional role as an attorney or when he’s at home changing a dirty diaper. He works from sun up to sun down and then some and I’m constantly challenged by his discipline and work ethic. [I often tell him, "Would you stop making me feel so lazy?!" :)]
My husband and I are a team through and through and we both contribute to our family economically as well as keeping up our home, training our children and doing the myriad of tasks, errands and chores which must be done to keep a home and family humming along. While I know our particular family dynamics wouldn’t work for everyone, I do encourage you if you feel like you are shouldering too heavy of a load to talk openly with your family members about how to shift some of that load elsewhere so that it doesn’t crush you!
We’re also in the process of training our children to also be assets to our family. While we very much want them to enjoy their childhood and just revel in that carefree state, we also feel like one of the greatest gifts we can instill in them is a strong work ethic.
No matter where you end up in life, a hard-working, persevering attitude is always going to be a huge benefit. Plus, I believe it is so much more fulfilling to live a life of service, rather than a life of selfishness.
We have found that modeling hard work and servanthood before our children is one of the best ways for them to learn, as well as encouraging them to work alongside us from an early age. And we give them age-appropriate chores to accomplish each day, as well as encouraging them to take initiative in helping outside of their daily chore list. (By the way, you can download some fun and free printable chore lists here, if you’re interested.)
We are still learning the practicalities of imparting this to our children in a Godly and balanced manner, so I won’t give you any tips for what works. But ask me in about 25 years from now, and hopefully I’ll have some words of wisdom to share.
On Wednesday, we’ll talk more about clearing out clutter, taming the laundry monster, simplifying meals and letting go of the myth of a perfect balance. If I have time, I’m also going to do a little video blog tour of my extremely simple homemaking binder for those who are looking to set up a simple home organization system.
How do you encourage your children to help around the house and develop a strong work ethic? I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions!