Up until now, we’ve mostly talked about theories. We’ve discussed streamlining your life , determining your priorities  and creating a time budget . It’s now time to turn those theories into real-life applications.
I know. This is the hard part. But I promise that if you’ll stick with it, it will pay off in incredible ways!
You Need a Plan
Just like you’re never going to get control of your finances until you make a detailed budget and stick with it, so you’re never going to be a good manager of your time unless you have a plan and stick with it. Without a plan, you’ll just aimlessly wonder through life, not knowing where you’re going or what your final destination is.
When it comes to our daily plan and homemaking plan, I’ve found that a plan gives me freedom, saves me a great deal of time and brings peace and order into our home. I can focus on the task at hand because I know the other tasks will get taken care of during their designated time in the day.
For instance, I can walk past the pile of laundry on my bed at noon because I know that I have a time slot at 4 p.m. to fold and put away laundry. I don’t have to find myself stressing over “What’s for dinner?” at 5 p.m. because I put together the main dish after breakfast and it’s just waiting in the refrigerator for me to stick in the oven. I can enjoy reading a book or spending time online during the designated time slots for it because I know that my family’s need are met and my house is in order.
What Would a Perfect Day Look Like?
Find a quiet room sometime in the next few days and take a blank sheet of paper and a pencil and jot down a rough draft of what a perfect day would look like for you. This exercise is not meant to discourage you, but to get your creative juices flowing and to help you start to formulate a plan to improve the order and efficiency of your home and life.
Start With a Routine
After you’ve written out what a perfect day would look like, take your list of priorities  and your time budget  and start mapping out a realistic plan for your day. If you’re new to the whole concept of routines, don’t try to create this massively-regimented schedule.
In fact, I’d discourage you from making a strict schedule to begin with and would instead suggest you create a routine. This way, you’re not setting yourself up for failure from the get-go. Once you become a adept at a routine, then you can get a little more detailed, but don’t bite off more than you can chew when you’re first starting out.
I love many of the concepts from FlyLady  and one of the things she encourages is to have a morning routine, an afternoon routine and an evening routine. If you have no structure in your life right now, I’d encourage you to begin by writing down five things you want to do in the same order every morning and commit to getting up and doing these first thing every morning for three weeks.
My current morning routine:
::Get up, read Bible, journal, pray
::Check email, clean out email inbox, blogging work
::Exercise, recovery drink, start a load of laundry
::Get children up (if they aren’t already up!), oversee their before-breakfast chores
::Shower, dressed, make bed, clean up room
I’ve had a morning routine for a number of years, so mine is a little more than five things. But it’s sort of meshed together so that I view each line as one “thing” and lump them together like that!
Don’t try to add anything else new for the next three weeks, just stick with faithfully implementing a morning routine. Once you’ve consistently stuck with your morning routine for three weeks, then add in an afternoon routine for three weeks and then an evening routine for three weeks. At the end of nine weeks, you should start to feel some significant order in your life just by these simple routines!
Be Flexible; Life Happens!
Remember that your routines are not a slavemaster; they are a guideline to help you. If your children or husband need help or something else important comes up, take a detour from them and then come back to the next thing as soon as you are able.
The whole purpose of a routine or schedule is to benefit you and your family, not to be an excuse to bull-doze everyone over! If it isn’t serving your family, it needs to be tweaked or changed.
In the next post, I’ll be sharing more about creating a Daily Plan, as well finding time to plan and what to do when things don’t go according to the plan. Later on in the week, we’ll be talking about creating a plan for homemaking, laundry and other areas of life.