Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Daily Grind

Schedules confound me!
I really LOVE the idea of my days following a precise schedule in theory, but in practice, I just can't do it. Ugh! and it frustrates me. I know that to get all that I want to get done in a day, I have to plan for it. I can make up the best schedules ever, but then something happens and they all fall apart. Some days it is some unexpected event, or a child's meltdown, but if I was honest, I would have to say that I am the biggest detriment to my schedule. I hate being a clock watcher; it stresses me out, and I also have to much desire to be spontaneous. I will run something out to the mailbox and then get sidetracked pulling a few weeds I see in the garden.
The next thing you know the kids and I are weeding the entire garden and watering the plants and I have used up the rest of my morning. This is both a blessing and a curse. I have gotten important work done, but to do so I have neglected other important work.

I wish I was a person who found pleasure in a schedule. I know there are people like this who are even passionate about their schedule and feel such a sense of accomplishment from staying on track and crossing things off their list. Why can't that be me? I know that managing a household of eight and homeschooling my children requires the discipline of planning and scheduling to get done what needs to get done. A schedule is a required tool to maintain sanity. So why do I struggle with it so much? Is it a lack of discipline and a form of sin? Some days, I would have to say that this is so. I have made poor choices and chose to do unproductive things with my time. But, on another level, I think this is part of my genetic makeup - the way that I am built.

If I am not a structured person by nature, what am I then? I find that I get an idea in my head or the urge to accomplish something and I am very passionate about it and intensely motivated to get it done. I will tend to ignore everything else until I accomplish this task. If I were one single person who was not accountable to anyone else, this would probably work just fine. But I am not, and my struggle is to figure out how to allow for this spontaneous, random productivity in a framework of a schedule that forces me to get other things that HAVE to get done done.

Several years ago, I was a fly baby following the Fly Lady. She is a great motivator for "side-tracked home executives" like me. There are many useful tips I have learned from her. One of them was the concept of a routine instead of a schedule. A routine does not watch the clock, but is a series of things you do in order and is based on habit. You do one thing after another every day until it is a habit that does not require thought. One routine that I have established is my early morning routine. I wake up before the rest of the family, get dress and cleaned up, make my coffee or tea and have my morning quiet time in which I pray, do bible study and (attempt to ) plan out my day. I do this pretty consistently and it works fantastic for me unless I oversleep or the baby wakes up earlier than expected. I keep trying to add other little routines throughout the day, but I am struggling with being consistent with them.

Although, we homeschool year round, I find that I let the lessons get pretty laid back in the summer. As the rest of the world prepares to go back to school, I get the bug to take a fresh look at our schedule and do a little planning. So, I have been doing a lot of thinking about our family's daily schedule. There are several areas of discipline that I have let slide in both the lessons and the home maintenance so I want to build these back into our daily routines. I can make great plans, but as I look at them, I know that it is unrealistic that I will be able to enforce them or even keep up with it myself for the long term.

I have been doing a lot of praying about this and feel like God is showing me that we need a balance of both more tightly scheduled times and more loosey-goosey times that allow the freedom for spontaneity. My plan right now is to build these tight routines into the benchmarks of our day. Everyday we wake up, eat three meals, and go to bed. Exactly how we do these may vary, but they happen every day. So, I need to build routines into these activities for myself and all the children.

Hopefully, within the next week, I will have some concrete ideas that I can share. I am praying that God gives me some profound wisdom in this area.

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