Time Management 101: Make a Personalized Plan (Part 2)

Once you have some basic routines in place for your daily living, it’s time to put it altogether and devise a Daily Plan and/or Weekly Plan and then branch out to planning for all areas you’ve determined to be your priorities.

1) Daily/Weekly Plan

Now, I know some of you are rolling your eyes saying, “Oh brother. Here we go again. I bet she’s one of those fanatics trying to put me on a strict schedule for each day. That will never work for me.”

Be encouraged: I am not suggesting you need to have a very regimented, down-to-the-minute schedule which you never deter from in order to manage your time well.

Yes, seriously.

Wanna know a secret? We don’t follow a strict schedule! Instead, we have a plan in place for all areas we’ve determined are our priorities and we stick with a flexible routine.

That’s what I love about the Time Budget. Always before, I’d make these elaborate schedules and then I’d never follow them longer than a week or two because I’d get so flustered because I’d crammed them so full that the whole day was thrown off whack with just one or two little interruptions.

With a Time Budget and margin planned in the day, I’ve felt the freedom to shift things around, as needed. So, if the children are playing together really well in the morning, I might just let them play 30 minutes while I finish up a cleaning project. And then we’ll just skip or condense the cleaning/playtime in the afternoon. 

I think it is really helpful to go ahead and make out a specific routine for your day or week using the time budget and priorities, but use it more as a guide, not as a hard and fast must-follow-to-a-tee slave master. It’s there to give you gentle direction and oversight, not to make your life miserable!

You can see our written Daily Schedule here. However, that’s just the written schedule. We never follow it perfectly.

In fact, if you want to have a more accurate idea of what a day at our usually house looks like, it’d be more like this:

::Get up, read Bible, journal, pray

::Check email, clean out email inbox, blogging work

::Exercise, start a load of laundry

::Get children up (if they aren’t already up!), oversee their before-breakfast chores

::Get children started on breakfast (we eat oatmeal pretty much every morning), shower, dressed, make bed, clean up room

::Quick clean up of kitchen (while the children play or finish their morning chores) and make main dish for dinner (this usually involves about one minute of pulling out chicken or fish from the freezer and marinating it)

::Baths, dressed, chores (if the children didn’t finish their morning chores yet)

::Bible Time (We’re going through Teach Me About God, a Bible story coloring book and Hymns for a Kid’s Heart right now), Art (I eat a bowl of oatmeal sometime in here!)

::Kaitlynn and Silas usually go play nearby and I finish My Father’s World with Kathrynne (this is a unit study curriculum which encompasses almost all subjects, though it’s a little weak in some which is why we supplement).

::Kathrynne then works on her math lesson while I oversee and switch the laundry and finish any kitchen cleaning.

::Children watch a DVD or play while I do some blogging work

::Lunchtime and read a chapter from our current chapter book read-aloud

::Finish cleaning chores for the day

::Read to Kaitlynn and put her down for her afternoon nap (she sometimes just lays in her bed and looks at books for 45 minutes to an hour) or listens to a story CD. Recently, though, she’s been taking a good 1.5 hour nap most afternoons — probably because she’s been getting up earlier!

::Sing, rock and read with Silas and put him down for his nap.

::Return phone calls, extra projects or cleaning

::Clean out inbox, blogging (Kathrynne watches her school DVDs or plays.)

::Everyone help with folding and putting away laundry (I try to do at least one load from start to finish each day.)

::The children play together while I read, finish cleaning or extra projects.

::Finish dinner prep, set table and finish afternoon chores (if they weren’t finished earlier), clean up house

::Read together (if time)

::Dinner, family time, read Bible together

::Children ready for bed/to bed (Jesse usually gets the children ready for bed and puts them to bed and sends me to put my feet up and read or blog! Yes, I know, I’m very spoiled!)

::Time with Jesse

::Bedtime

This loose schedule is only for Monday through Thursday, as we only follow the morning routine on Fridays and then leave the rest of the day open for extra projects, errands, hospitality, getting together with friends and/or field trips. We pick one “big” fun thing per Friday to do and then also usually tackle some extra loose ends.Saturdays are much more relaxed at our house. Jesse usually takes the children out for a few hours while I have my Weekly Planning Retreat and then we just spend extra time hanging out together as a family, sometimes going out shopping or on a fun outing, sometimes just hanging out at home working on projects. We go to Jesse’s family’s house on Saturday evenings for dinner and our weekly “Family Night” (when everyone congregates to eat, catch up, play the Wii and laugh until our sides ache!).

Sundays are extremely laid back — well, apart from the last-minute rushing around to attempt to get to church on time! (One of these days we’re going to master getting three children out the door and everyone looking presentable at an early morning hour. We’re still getting the hang of that… and it seems like every time we’ve almost mastered it, we add another child to the mix. :))

We usually hang around church until we’re the last ones there and then we head to Cracker Barrel or head home for a very simple lunch and afternoon naps. We spend Sunday evenings at my family’s house (usually all the extended family comes over and we eat, talk, laugh some more and just catch up on the past week). The only project I do try to accomplish on Sundays is a quick clean-up of the house and organizing my coupons (which I do while we’re at my family’s house).

And that’s that — at least for now! Our schedule is always evolving and changing as our lives change, our children’s needs change and as new responsibilities come along and old ones are set aside.

I share these details with you just to give you an example of how our family operates (and because so many of you begged to see our daily schedule).It goes without saying, but I’m still going to say it: please, please, please do not try to copy our schedule or feel like you have to do something similar to what we are doing.

What works for our family will not work for you. Find what works for your family — be that a full-fledged schedule, a simple routine, a different schedule for each day of the week, a different schedule for each week of the month, something in between or something totally different — and do that.

The key is to make a plan and loosely follow the plan. Because a plan doesn’t work unless you do!

2) Homemaking Plan

In addition to a Daily/Weekly Plan, I’ve found it very helpful to have a Homemaking Plan. You can see my current homemaking plan here. There are also sheets available to download (for free, of course!) to create your own plan.

I don’t always get to everything every week, but by getting to most things most weeks and keeping our home pretty streamlined of clutter, things stay in fairly good shape around here most of the time. (Now, if you drop by, I can’t promise there won’t be crumbs or fingerprints or toys on the floor, but our home usually can be “company-ready” in about 45 minutes. And I’m happy with that for now!)

You can see my Daily Docket that I print and use each day here. I normally print these on Saturday for the following week and keep them in my home management binder. I try to keep it simple and only assign five to eight things (or less) on the to-do section and one to two projects/ministries per day. Whatever doesn’t get accomplished in a given day, either gets bumped to the following day, or I decide to just cross it off the list.

I try to never have more than eight items on my daily to-do list, otherwise, I find that it can be discouraging and overwhelming from the get-go. I’d rather just have three items on the list and actually get them all finished, than 30 items and overwhelm myself and finish none.

3) Blogging Plan

During my Weekly Planning Retreat on Saturdays, I map out the blogging projects and posts for the upcoming week on Google calendar and prep anything that I can. I also prioritize things by posts and projects which must be done and those which I hope to get to, but aren’t quite as imperative to write/finish.

To be honest, up until about six months ago, I mostly just blogged by the seat of my pants — without clear plan or purpose. Setting goals for my blogging posts and projects each week and then revisiting them on Saturdays has helped me to be much more intentional in my blogging. And hopefully, this has also allowed me to do a better job at the actual act of blogging. In addition, it’s helped me to actually follow through on my promises (most of the time, at least!).

4) Other Plans

Ministry Plans: On Saturdays, I also map out plans for ministry opportunities for the following week — picking out at least one to three different ways that I feel God wants me to serve or reach out to someone in our church or community. I don’t always get to all of it, but having it planned, helps me to be more purposeful in exercising hospitality, serving and meeting needs.

Homeschooling Plans: Our homeschooling curriculum doesn’t require much extra planning and preparation right now, but there are times when I spend at least a small chunk of time on Saturday planning out the projects, printing worksheets and getting things all ready so that come Monday, we’re not scrambling.

Menu Plans: Since we’re eating really simply right now, I just make sure that we have the ingredients on hand to have oatmeal for breakfast every morning, and simple lunches and dinners every day. I pick one meal off the list for dinner each night and write it on my Daily Docket the night before.

Plan XYZ: For me, I’ve found that if I have a good Daily Plan, Homemaking Plan, Menu Plan, Blogging Plan, Ministry Plan and Homeschooling Plan, life flows along fairly smoothly and doesn’t usually feel too stressful or chaotic (though there are definitely those moments!). This is what is working for me at this season of our lives. I encourage you to examine what areas in your life could be benefited by regular planning and to set aside a small time block each week to plan. At first, it might be rough going, but over time, you’ll likely really start to reap the fruit!

It’s well been said that 10 minutes of planning can save you 20 minutes in execution. And it can also save your sanity and lower your stress levels, too!

On Monday, I’ll be sharing some time-saving tips for email, blogging and the computer in general, since many of you have requested this.

Helpful Resources:

Organizing Your Life as Mom

This 125-page ebook walks you through how to create a personalized household notebook. It includes:

  • worksheets to help you think through your jobs at home
  • calendars that cover all the bases: daily, weekly, monthly, yearly.
  • planning sheets for the holidays, your budget, your mealtimes — your life
  • Download a free 15-page sample here.

Motivated Moms Chore Planner

This chore planner tells you exactly what you need to do each day to keep your home organized and running smoothly. There are a few different options to choose from and you can purchase the chore planner for November and December 2010 to try out for only $1 right now.

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Comments

  1. Karrie says

    I have a question. What is your “recovery drink” at 8:15 in the morning? Please say coffee!
    ; )

  2. Erica says

    Wow, great post girl! I’m *LOVING* this series! I already started doing a few things such as the weekly chores and loved it! I usually only did the bigger chores (dusting, vacuuming…) when I thought of them but I love having a time for them now. I’m a very spontaneous person by nature and this has been so rewarding for me even though I know there will be no week done perfectly!

    I also had a quick off the topic question too. (Maybe one for your Q&A Tuesday?) We are really trying to focus on serving others this year for Christmas with our boys ages 2&3. We have already done and currently do the angel tree and helping some local families but we really would love for the boys to have some hands on ways to serve and bless others. We’d love to start a family serving project (that may become an annual thing?) each year to do with them but have just not found anything that they could really be apart of? Any ideas or suggestions would be awesome! Thanks:) Erica

    • Kristin says

      @Erica, Erica, you could do Operation Christmas Child and fill shoe boxes each year for children across the world. This is a wonderful way to serve, and teaches your children to care for those who are needy. Children always love to help out in this way, and pick out things to put in their boxes.

    • says

      @Erica, You couls also find a church or shelter that operates a soup kitchen or that hands out gifts. That way your children would be able to see with their own eyes how grateful people are.

      For Halloween, this year, when walked around our neighborhood and handed out homemade cookies instead of receiving candy. We know all of our neighbors so they were alright with homemade things. Our children are still talking about it ad want to do it again. I think the actual putting it into someone else’s hand is an inportant part of teaching our children about the joy of giving.

    • says

      @Erica, You might be interested in sending packages to soldiers (anysoldier.com) or giving gift baskets to your local hospital. These are some things we’re doing. I hope you find a wonderful opportunity that suits your family! ~Miranda

      • Katie says

        @Miranda,

        I did a Christmas Shoebox this year and I think this is an excellent way to teach children about giving. Unfortunately, my son couldn’t understand why Father Christmas didn’t give them presents. Any idea how I answer this one?

        • Anna says

          @Katie, In our house Santa only brings 2 gifts for the children; the other gifts they receive are from each of us in the family. So when my daughters asked why we needed to donate to other children, I explained that the child’s family didn’t have enough money this year to give gifts to each other so that’s why we share what we have. My daughters were able to understand this and have always been happy to help. Maybe you could try this, too.

  3. says

    Thank yo so much for this post. I am still amazed by all you do, but I am learning a lot about myself through trying to plan my time better and keep the house organized.

    I do also have a question for you. what chores do your little ones do int he morning and afternoon? I have a 4 year old and a 2.5 year old and I am trying to teach them some responsibility int he home by giving them chores. the 4 year old already puts the silverware away and they both make beds, but I am needing ideas of more things I can teach them to do so I have a bit more help. Thanks again for all you are doing and sharing with us. IT has helped me so much already and look forward to the rest of the series.

    • susan t says

      I still remember seeing the women with septuplets I think it was? have her 4 year old kids bring over the cup, plate and silverware ( one by one) from the table, clean their plate and put the cup, plate and silverware in the dishwasher. They helped put the laundry in the drawers too. Anyway, that made me realize even at 4 that they can do more than you think. My kids are 13 and 15 now and I have them doing their own laundry. Now, it seems to get done at 9 at night sometimes at the last minute when they find out they are out of a certain item of clothes, but I am trying to have THEM be responsible for the laundry.

    • Sonja says

      @Melissa@ The Sassy Saver, I have 3 boys (8, 6 & 4-today) and a 3 week old girl. My 4 year old does lots of chores for me. He sets the table for breakfast, dusts (uses a microfiber cloth), empties little trashcans into larger one, cleans bathroom sink (uses clorox wipe), changes out handtowel in bathroom, brings dirty clothes from boys room to my bathroom & helps sort, switches laundry from washer to dryer (I have frontloaders), & then from dryer to laundry basket, puts his folded clothes away, puts away silverware & plastic dishes, holds the dustpan when I sweep, cleans windows, feeds the dog, makes his bed and of course, picks up his toys :)

    • Lee says

      @Melissa@ The Sassy Saver, I agree my 4 year old is very capable. His current chores include folding wash rags (although he will soon move up to hand towels) and putting them away, putting away his own laundry, setting the table, cleaning his own room. He occassionally helps dust, vacuum, and spot mopping (his own messes of course). At the new year we are moving the kids up to new jobs so he will be getting the cat to take care of too.

  4. says

    I’m both relieved and jealous to read this post at the same time. Relieved because your breakfasts are so easy – I often feel guilty if I get too repetitive with meals. I think that things like the Food Network and the explosion of cooking magazines and foodie culture make us feel like every meal needs to be some gourmet production. But I don’t know if my boys would suffice with oatmeal alone – they seem to be like little hobbits, asking for second and third breakfasts, and this after having a good breakfast of a bowl of cereal, a banana, a glass of milk, and maybe even an egg on top of that!

    I’m jealous because you get to see both of your families once a week! My family literally lives on opposite corners of the US – my dad is on the East Coast, my mom is in Florida, my sister is in Alaska, and I’m in California! It takes a major effort to get most of us in one place at one time.

  5. Jen says

    Thank you for this post. I am loving this series. It is refreshing to see that your children do watch DVDs. In the past (many times) you’ve mentioned you don’t watch TV at all. I just assumed your children had absolutely NO screen time. It’s refreshing to see that they do, and now I won’t feel as guilty when I put a 30 min educational DVD on when I need a few minutes uninterrupted.

    • says

      @Jen, This helped me to stop being so critical of myself as well. Our two oldest (ages 3 1/2 and 2) watch 30-45 minutes about 3 times a week when I have a big cleaning job or project that needs to get done. The baby is content to sit in her Bumbo and play or jabber to me while I work.

    • says

      @Jen, My little ones (2, 3 1/2) may watch TV when they visit my mom or Nana but watch none at home. They do get to watch a 1/2 hour +/- show each day though as long as they have been obeying. We have found several fantastic bible/educational DVD’s on eBay for a fraction of the price you’d pay elsewhere. We rotate through those and they love it. We’ve been doing it for a couple months now.

      I think they key is finding programs/videos that you can feel good about them watching!

  6. says

    I completely agree that you do need a plan. Both a set of routines to use, as well as a good solid family calendar to help you keep your life organized. I love the tips that you have been sharing in this series. I have also blogged about these topics, and how I use my family calendar and planned morning, afternoon, and evening routines to manage my large family (six children- ages 9,8,7,6,5,4!).

    If you want to check it out, my series on building a family calendar that you can use, can be found here:
    http://momof6.com/category/my-game-plans/plans-to-manage-your-time-schedule-and-goals/building-a-family-calendar/

    and my series on building family routines can be found here:
    http://momof6.com/category/my-game-plans/plans-to-manage-the-house/setting-yourself-up-for-less-stress/

    Crystal- I just love reading your blog- and I love the great advice that you share with us!

    Warmly,
    Sharon

  7. says

    Thanks for the helpful ideas. I am also busy in the morning preparing food for the wholeday, and my family never be satisfied with a simple breakfast. So, it fills up a big chunk of time in the morning, however, I am OK with that as they get to eat a freash meal each time : )

  8. Lynette says

    When our kids were little, we found that Sunday mornings went much smoother when my husband did breakfast on those mornings. That freed me up to do hair, make sure the kid’s at least matched (not my hubby’s strong point) and we all got a good breakfast that would carry us through a long morning.

    • says

      @Lynette, We’ve been doing that for a few months and it’s working out fantastic. My DH came up with the idea and usually makes pancakes or waffles. The littles get excited and so do I. It makes Sundays really stand out from the rest of the week as a special day, don’t you think?!?
      {though I guess your husband’s cooking abilities would really depend on whether “special” was a good or bad thing LOL}

  9. amy says

    This series is THE BOMB!!!!!!!!! Thanks so much for doing this. I thank God for you and the wisdom that you bring to so many weary mommas in need of practical help. I echo what another commentor asked–I’d love to hear what kind of chores you have your girls do.

    • says

      I’m going to do a post next week (hopefully, next week, we’ll see how it pans out!) on household management and chores, since I didn’t elaborate much on it in this post.

      Thanks for your encouragement!

      • says

        @Crystal, I’m loving the series as well and finding it extremely helpful with lots of good ideas!
        I loved seeing your schedule and definitely look forward to seeing what you have to say about blogging, email etc.
        We sure appreciate you and this ministry the Lord has given you!

  10. heather harris says

    thank you for this series…but you know that one statement “We’re still getting the hang of that… and it seems like every time we’ve almost mastered it, we add another child to the mix. )” is how rumors get started! :)

    • says

      @heather harris,

      Interesting… I’ve been getting a baby vibe about Crystal lately ;)

      (I’ve never met her, and don’t know any more than you girls, but I also took note of that comment.) I guess we’ll see!

      • says

        @Crystal, That’s funny I was thinking it’s about time for another baby in the Paine family :) Whenever I would get my exercise routine down and our house running smoothly, I would find myself expecting. But that’s a *good* reason to go off schedule!

        • says

          @Stephanie, I always know it’s “time” when I start easily losing the rest of my pregnancy weight. I’m one of those “lucky” few who don’t really lose the last of the weight until the baby starts eating more table food and nursing a little less. For me this is always around 8 months. With the past two babies I have become pregnant at when they were each 8 months. Our youngest is now 9 months and the weight is dropping off, so maybe we’ll have some big news soon.

          However, with my husband having surgery next month with a full recovery time of 4-6 months (at least 3 weeks complete bed rest) I think I’d rather wait it out a little longer :)

  11. says

    I love this series!! I’m curious – how much time do your children spend watching movies each day, and what type of videos do they watch? I have a five year old and a 16 month old, and TV watching was getting fairly out of hand at our house, so we got rid of our cable several months ago, and I completely cut out all TV and videos as a detox, but I’ve been thinking about slowly introducing a very limited video time back into their lives. (I’ve already started letting them watch 10 minute educational video clips about twice a week, but that’s it thus far.) I’m trying to find a good balance, and to set limits without going overboard and would appreciate knowing what your guidelines are (not so I can use all of them, since our families are different, but so that I can see what is working for others, and modify it to meet our own family’s needs). Thank you!

    • says

      I’d say that it’s an average of about 45 minutes per day. Some of our children’s favorites are: Little House on the Prairie, Signing Times, Facing the Giants and any of the Moody Science DVDs.

      • says

        @Crystal, Crystal, have you tried any of the PreSchool Prep Company videos? I’ve bought them at Sam’s Club. They teach letters, numbers, shapes, colors, sight words. It would probably be too simple for the girls, but Silas would enjoy it (and any future children) We started my son with them when he was around age 1. He quickly learned all his colors, letters, etc. And the only words on the video is what ever is shown on the screen. So if it is a triangle, it repeats the word triangle over and over. Same with the colors, letters, etc. My son loves them, and they are very educational too.

  12. anonymous says

    How would you deal with clutter if it already exists? We are a large family so that means more of everything—but we don’t have a lot of space to store it. (The house is decent-sized but it’s older and not much closet space.) But the clutter is kind of overwhelming.

    • The Frugal Free Gal says

      @anonymous, I constantly consign clutter and make quite a bit of money from consigning. Ive written a few articles on my blog about consigning, and I consign every few months. I also get cash back from Once Upon a Child for a lot of items, and then I continue to donate other items to folks that need it and request it on our local Freecycle. :) I would love to here what MSM says!

      thefrugalfreegal.com

    • Dawn Dart says

      @anonymous, Deal with it 15 minutes at a time. Take 15 minutes and do one drawer or one shelf. If you are already overwhelmed, I wouldn’t worry about trying to sell it, just start a box and donate it as soon as it is full. Fill up a grocery sack with trash and get it out the door as fast as you can! Don’t feel guilty about who gave it to you or what it costs, if it is not useful or loved it doesn’t belong in your home. A home filled with clutter cannot have peace. Hope that helps a little.

  13. Christie says

    I am loving this series, and I need it desperately! One question…when do you do grocery shopping and do other errands? Does that count for “field trips” on Fridays? I’ve been going out every day because I only have one child (he’s 2) and I often get bored with him at home all day, mostly because I’m his only playmate and it’s hard to get things done when he wants my attention all the time (one of the reasons this series will help me so much! I think implementing a routine will help him get used to the idea of playing by himself more). I also have another one on the way, so I need to get in gear NOW, eh??

  14. says

    I second what Amy said, “this series is the BOMB!” I am loving it.

    Thank you for sharing so much with us. I know it can be difficult to share so many details, but that is what is so helpful. Seeing theory put into practice is wonderful.

    Thanks so much Crystal. I appreciate you!

  15. says

    This is a wonderful series! Thank you! So, I’m amazed by one thing and have to ask how you do it. Shower while the children eat breakfast? Is your husband still home at that time? I’m afraid there would be disaster if I showered while my children were up. What is the secret to success here? I’ve just had to do it while they sleep, but on the days that it hasn’t worked out, it can be a frustration! Thank you for sharing your life with us!

    • Heather says

      @Catherine,

      I was thinking the same thing Catherine! One thing I’ve done is bring my 1.5 year old, in her highchair, into the bathroom w me. My 3 year old sits on his step stool w a few books or colors. Although one time I got out of the shower to find a banana in the toilet and all of the toilet paper unrolled, so this isn’t my 1st choice. ;)

  16. Jen says

    I loved this article so much I just read it for the second time (and printed out the planning sheets). I know I was not the only one who commented on one of the earlier posts about how much you’re able to get done before your children get up. But one of the benefits for those of us with early risers is no rushing around to get to church on time on Sunday mornings (even when we do add a new baby to the mix :-)). We’re usually so early we’re waiting for the nursery workers and Sunday school teachers to get there so we can leave the kids in their classrooms.

  17. says

    Crystal,

    How many hours a day do you spend blogging, reading blogs? I am loving this series, but I get overwhelmed just thinking of how to add one or two things into my day. My husband and I both work full-time and work from home. I feel like everything gets pushed back farther and farther. Do you know of any good blogs or ideas for work at home people with young children? I know that by Sunday we are emotionally drained and we can’t keep going at this pace. We keep talking about hiring someone to clean, but financially it isn’t viable. Any ideas?

    Thanks so much! You truly are a blessing!
    Casherie

  18. The Frugal Free Gal says

    It’s hard for me to create a routine since we have so many playdates, cycle classes to sub for, and odds and ends things going on all the time.

    I did try to come up with a better blogging plan this past week, which I LOVE! I plan out my posts in advance so that I don’t hit a dry spell. That has been a huge help–and was able to fit my cleaning/laundry in between without blogging being the priority.

    What advice do you have for the military wives and mothers out there that do it all on their own? I would love to read an article on this some day! This is something I am struggling with currently, but have had to lower my standards with housework, since I am one person with a two year old!

    http://thefrugalfreegal.com

    • says

      @The Frugal Free Gal, I’d love some ideas about doing it all yourself as well. My husband will be having surgery in Dec. and will be on full bed rest for three week with a total recovery time of 4-6 months. I want to have some expectations of what life will be like and how I can prepare myself to handle everything.

      • Meghan says

        @Allyson, My husband is in the military, and for 2 years he was gone for 3 weeks, home for 5-6, gone for 3 weeks, etc….and while “home”, he’d have other travel commitments and duty nights where he was gone as well. My biggest suggestions if you are facing time as a “single parent” are:

        1. Cut out everything that’s not necessary and focus on the basics–keeping you and your children healthy, fed, and in clean clothes
        2. Cut yourself some slack–don’t feel bad for cutting back (see #1)
        3. Make sure to have time for yourself somehow–get a babysitter regularly, or trade with a friend if you can’t afford a sitter, or use family if they’re nearby (mine wasn’t) so you get a break for yourself
        4. If possible, make freezer meals….this was a HUGE help to me as I had a newborn and 3 year old when my husband first started the 3 week deployments. If I hadn’t made tons of freezer meals when he was home, we would have probably eaten mac n cheese/take out much more while he was gone which would have been unhealthy and expensive (not to mention I get really tired of restaurant food)
        5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help–this was always hard for me but I got much better at it as my hubby as gone more and more. Take friends, family, and neighbors up on offers of help and ask if you need something.
        6. Finally, don’t feel bad or guilty when you have hard days, moments….or weeks. It is extremely difficult to be the sole caregiver of children, especially young ones that require so much physical effort (middle of the night feedings, help with everything, etc)……I have such a greater respect for families that face year-long (or longer) deployments. By the end of just 3 weeks I was sometimes ready to tear my hair out….I really have no idea how those families do what they do.

        Hope that helps in some way…

  19. jaime says

    I absolutely love this series, and it came at just the right time. I was feeling very burned out a few weeks ago. My hubby had 2 weeks off, so we spent time just relaxing. I used some of that time to plan and used this series to draft a time budget and rough schedule. It’s helped so much mostly by keeping my priorities straight. Thanks so much!

  20. says

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing your time management tips and giving us a peek at how you run your household. A year ago I was on top of all my parenting/wife and household duties, but things have slipped and are getting crazy. I’m ready to get my act together. This series came at the perfect time for me as we are getting ready to welcome baby number 5 into our family! Thanks You!

  21. says

    Thank you so much. These work sheets are going to be invaluable! I really needed this right now. I have 4 children, and I’ve been struggling to keep up with working at home and keeping a good routine. Can’t wait to start on Monday. Thanks again!!

  22. Tracy says

    This was very helpful. Looking at your written plan it looks like your kids sleep 12 hours a night plus naps. Does that really happen?

  23. Lee says

    My biggest question is your chores. I see your daily chore list, do you add other chores to it? I guess I am asking because I do mine a little different. I take one day a week and focus my cleaning on that room and I usually come up with several things for just one room. For example the living room I get: wash off walls, wash the window, vacuum, dust, straighten book shelves and movies, vacuum inside the couch, restock diapers and wipes (I keep them in their for daily changes as the baby room is on another floor), go through the baby toys to clean out clutter. Usually I can do all of these in about an hour as nothing is really that bad. But where do you fit in some of those other chores like straightening closets and things? Are they on a as-need basis? Just curious?

  24. Kristina says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for doing this series! Earlier this week I was just feeling like my life and house were out of control but I just didn’t know how to fix it. Then I happened to open your blog and see your first Time Management article and it was like an aha moment. Then today in Church I just felt like I had a confirmation from God about needing to schedule and plan. The message was on Bible reading and scheduling it in our day, picking a place and reading plan. The Pastor said we do the things we schedule. Thanks!!

  25. Becky says

    I am loving this series!!! Would it be possible to link up the Bible resources you use with your kiddos? I am looking at starting something with my 3 year old and would love to see what you are doing with your kids. Thanks so much for all you do!

  26. says

    thank you so much for this posting! i’m slightly new to your blog and i can’t tell you how much encouragement i receive from it! i’m so excited to try these docket lists and the daily and monthly cleaning lists! I’m a very busy and scatterbrained stay at home mom with a strong desire to get on a schedule, these lists should help! I’m meeting with a bunch of friends tomorrow and your lists will be going with me, i can’t wait to show them! thanks again and God bless!!! =)

  27. Jen S. says

    I am loving all these tips. I have a hard time getting things done b/c my DD (2.5) is so needy. Anytime I try to get anything done she is either all over me or into something she shouldn’t be. Any tips?

  28. Laura says

    Am I correct in assuming I can’t edit the downloadable sheets? I have a hand-scrawled schedule I use for each day. Now I have your beautiful template. I was hoping to have them together for something presentable I can post on the fridge.

  29. Laura says

    Oh, I just had to post something funny. I printed out your downloadables yesterday. I put them…somewhere. This evening I was ready to work on them. But it took me a couple minutes to find them. Do you really think I need a little more organization?!? LOL!

  30. Valerie says

    I have been implementing some of these things over the last month and my home is looking so much better. Last week I was very ill for a few days with the stomach flu. Interestingly to me the house didn’t look that terrible when I was up and around again and only took me about a half hour if even that to have everything back in order. Also having the house look so nice and clean gave me a lot of peace while I was flat on my back willing away my queasy stomach.

  31. Brianna says

    Crystal, your homemaking templates are so useful and nice to look at. Any chance of adding editable versions to the site? Or at least letting us know what fonts you used? Thanks!

  32. Tina says

    I was wondering the same thing about making the schedule templates editable. I would love to type my stuff on them! Thank you so much for sharing :)