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How to Create a Routine or Daily Schedule

Last week I talked about the importance of having a schedule or routine to your day, to help us use our time most effectively.  If you haven’t yet checked out that post, I highly suggest you do that now to think about the heart behind creating order and routine in your day and your home, you can find it here. Now this week, let’s get to work creating that schedule.  We’re going to categorize tasks into different lists and then work backwards to get those placed into an actual schedule during your week, adding those time stamps in.

  1. Start with making a list of priorities for your family.  What are things you want to be a part of your every day or week?  You may not be doing them now, that may be a huge reason you need to create a routine, to start incorporating these, and that’s ok.  Recently some priorities I wanted to focus on as our son gets older and the weather is getting nicer again, is making sure to have Bible time as a family and to get outside for a certain amount of time each day.

  2. Next, think through what time designated commitments you have as a family, often these are outside of the home and have a similar time required each week or month.  For example, what time does your husband need to be at work?  What time does he get home?  What weekly appointments do you have such as a chiropractor or dance lessons for the kids, Bible study, serving commitments?

  3. Next think through and make a list of what chores or housekeeping need to get accomplished each week and each day, you don’t have to know which ones you want to do each day, just set aside time when you will do them.  For an example of how I structure those in our home, check out my other blog post here, “Managing Your Home Without the Overwhelm.

  4. Finally, lets look at the running to do list or what I like to call,home projects.”  What are the projects that you want to get to soon.  These are things that change from week to week, like fix the fan in the bathroom, get the seeds into the garden, shop for an upcoming birthday.  They are tasks outside of your daily/weekly rhythm that are extra things you need to get done.

  5. Next, put all these lists together into a rough schedule.  First, add in your priorities, where would you like those things of value to happen in your day or week? It’s important at to start here because these are areas that might not yet be in our routine, we want to start by making time for them. Next, put your time designated commitments onto the schedule.  Next add in blocks for your chores each day. 

  6. Add the time stamps.  Go back through these sections and add how much time each task takes.  For your time designated commitments include such things as prep and commute time, not just the time of the dance class or Bible study, the whole time it takes you to get to and from the event too. Next, figure out how much time you do have each day to work on chores, maybe it’s 15 minutes in the morning and another 15 at night.  Maybe it’s a whole hour after kids are in bed.  Think through both when you can complete the tasks and what your energy is like throughout the day.  Also think through which tasks need to be done morning verses night and add those details in.

  7. And finally look at what time is actually left.  Here is where things get interesting.  You may be surprised that you have a lot more time to get things done in your day than you thought, or maybe you have realized that your day is over scheduled and no wonder you feel stressed, you’re overcommitted and you haven’t gotten to your projects yet!  In the first case scenario, go ahead and just add your blocks of time to do your projects right in.  If you find yourself in the second scenario, this is a great time to sit down and evaluate (and mamas if you’re married do this with your hubby).

  8. Evaluate and incorporate help.  If you find you don’t have enough time in your day to get to the projects or maybe even some of the chores this last step is where you might need to take things off your plate or figure out how to incorporate help.  This step is probably the hardest, and for me was a huge reason I felt called to leave my job and come be at home.  This is where you get to prayerfully look at your schedule and decide, if my priorities need to get on the schedule, and my homemaking and caring for my family is not optional, what part of our week needs to change?  For example do you have too many fun extra activities for yourself or your kids that you need to let go of, too many “time designated commitments”?  Or are your commitments pretty bare, and you need to start using resources to help you with your housekeeping and chores?  Maybe you start using that grocery pick up option and hire someone to help you clean once a month?

  9. Make changes.  After looking at each list to see where you might be overcommitted and where certain things could go, it’s time to make those changes.  For our family we realized we were using resources pretty well, and didn’t have many more to add.   At the same time, we were lacking certain resources too, that I was picking up the slack for and it felt unsustainable.  One of the only things we could remove from our schedule was my job, so after considering the financial impact this would make, and lots of prayer, we went for it.  And I am so so so glad we did.  There were no more areas we felt we could share with others or pay extra for, to “buy back” more time in our week.  Instead, I needed to use my time differently to serve my family in the way I felt God putting on my heart.  It was such an answer to prayer, but it is not something that comes without discipline. Going down to one income requires, a disciplined budget, requires a very disciplined use of time and resources to keep us on that budget, scaling back to a more simplified way of living, and a deep focus on the call we feel God putting on our family.  We feel so blessed to be able to do this, and we want to help and encourage many more who feel the call in this direction.  I firmly believe, that if God is nudging you in the direction of being a stay at home mom, or making changes to your family schedule to better focus your heart and values on Him, He will give wisdom and provide a way forward if we ask!

“…. You do not have, because you do not ask.”  James 4:2 ESV

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5 ESV

Ready to work on creating your own routine? Check out my FREE printable worksheet below that walks you through these steps.

Making a Routine Worksheet
Download PDF • 28KB

Happy planning, and remember the heart behind scheduling is the important piece, not how many things you can accomplish in the day. The desire to serve our family and others and use our time most effectively to share the gospel in word in deed should be the main motive behind all we do.

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