Time Management Without a Schedule

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Remember the love-hate relationship I have with schedules? Well, a few months ago I gave it a go. I really did. I wrote up a schedule and I ran it through the paces.

And ya know what? It really didn’t support what the players on my team were doing. It wasn’t good for morale. It really rankled the coach. So, I cut it from the team.

Yes, yes, I did.

But, am I throwing all caution to the wind? Have I thrown in the proverbial towel? Have I given up in the last quarter of the game? No, no, I haven’t. But, I’ve found a way to manage my time without an hour-by-hour schedule.

And it. is. amazing.

Time is Our Currency

Years ago, this song by Chris Rice was on my regular playlist. And even then, I wondered how to budget my time. We’re given 24 hours. How do we spend them? At the time, I was really struggling.

I remember that season of having moved cross country, selling a house, and knowing no one in a new town. I remember having a newborn. I remember having six children under twelve.

But, I really don’t remember much else. It’s all a blur. And, it has been really, really hard to get back on my game.

Yet I know the days are fleeting. My eldest child is going to be 14 in a few months. Surely, he was just a newborn. I don’t want to miss out on these days.

One help has been to put my household notebook in order. Every six months or so I need to give it a makeover, but a household notebook and planning pages help me keep things in order.

Another thing to help me manage life better has been to investigate other methods of time management. I’ve consulted with friends, read helpful posts, and examined books on the topic.

Between things that I’ve learned from my friend Crystal and what I gleaned from the ebook, Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn Andrews, I’ve put together a little system that I is helping me.

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Budgeting My Time

Following Amy and Crystal’s lead, I made a list of all the regular things I do in a day:

  • Sleeping
  • Bible Reading/Journaling/Praying
  • Reading
  • Exercising
  • Shower/Dressing
  • Laundry
  • Schooling
  • Coupons/Meal Planning/Shopping
  • Writing/Blogging
  • Meal Prep/Meals
  • Housekeeping
  • Margin (Crystal had to remind me on that one)

Then I alloted each of those activities a time limit or allowance. The numbers had to total 24 hours, no more and no less.

And quite honestly, it took me awhile to learn this. I read Amy’s book. I read Crystal’s series on Time Management. It wasn’t until Crystal and I were on the phone talking about it that it finally sunk in. That’s when she reminded me that it all needed to add up to 24 and that there needed to be margin for error/emergencies/whatever. Apparently, I really was trying to accomplish more than 24 hours of stuff everyday.

Yes, I’m a little slow.

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Having an allowance

I tend to be an “all or nothing” kind of person. I want to finish all the laundry. I want to give the kitchen a thorough scrubbing. I want to answer every email.

But, if I did that, nothing else would get done in a day. So, by limiting myself to 30 minutes of laundry each day, I am able to work on the task and feel like I can mark it off my list, even if I haven’t matched every sock. I’m doing the laundry. I’m just not doing all the laundry.

This allowance of time helps keep me efficient and moving from one task to the next.

Not only that, but I feel the freedom to spend time on things I wouldn’t normally think I had time for. For instance, I gave myself 30 minutes for shower and dressing. Each morning I set the timer on my phone for 30 minutes. If I’m showered and dressed, but the timer hasn’t rung yet, then I have time to do “extras” like give myself a facial, paint my toes, or put on lotion — things that I usually neglect.

Since I’ve given myself this “allowance,” I’m feeling more “put together” and practices that I had relegated to the “pre-children years” are happening again.

But, I don’t have a “schedule.”

The one thing that I’m not doing is assigning times of the day to when these things should happen. I’m not even creating a sequence of when these tasks should be done. No schedules, no “routine.” THAT makes me always feel behind.

I realized in all this time management study that if the important things are getting done, then it doesn’t really matter when they happen or in what order.

This has been so freeing to me.

Remembering to DO it

Now the trick to any kind of budget, whether it is time or money, is to actually follow it. And I confess, since I am slow and easily distracted, some days I forget my time budget exists. But, there are increasingly more days when I remember. And I’m trying really hard to remind myself.

I even went so far as to print it all out on a card so that I could remember what I needed to be doing throughout the day. It’s a condensed version of my daily to-do list. And I carry it around with me. It’s small enough to fit in my pocket so I have no excuse for not consulting it.

Yes, I am slow and easily distracted. But, this helps me.

Living without a “schedule” but still being productive and responsible in my home is a great feeling. I haven’t “arrived,” but I feel like I’m on the right path.

What method works best for YOU?

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Comments

  1. Hmm..I found this post VERY interesting! I had tried keeping a daily to do list and scheduling my day totally. Well, I fell off the bandwagon. It just didn’t work for me or my lifestyle. Maybe this is what I need. Think I’ll give it a whirl, couldn’t hurt!

  2. I enjoyed this post, I need a more fluid schedule, too. But, I’m looking at your 24 hour alotments and I’m wondering, when do you get to spend time with the kids? In my life, I could never accomplish all that you have listed here because I’m taking the kids to the park or playdates or playing games with them. Do you add that into your schedule, or are you trying to squeeze that in between everything else you try to do?

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      @stephanie, well, except for the shower and exercise times, my kids are with me! LOL, yes, even when I sleep, it seems there is someone with me.

      Like you mentioned in your other comment, we have a big chunk of our day spent in school, reading, lessons, talking, etc. I take kids shopping with me. We often meal plan together. We chat while I clip coupons, or someone helps with the cutting. They help me fold laundry or talk while I clean something. My reading time is often reading with them.

      Plus, this is my at-home, regular thing to shoot for. We have at least two days a week that we do the park, the library, etc. Then this all flies out the window.

  3. Oh, I see I overlooked the amount of time you have alotted for school, that must include playful learning activities and a margin for lots of together time. Nevermind. I’m seeing now how I can adapt the system to my day with littles.

    Thanks for this idea!

  4. This type of schedule would work for me. I tried to do the minute by minute type schedule before and I was ticking myself off and I’m the one that wrote the schedule. LOL!
    I need a bit more freedom to play around with. This sounds great. Thanks for posting it.
    Kim

  5. This is *amazing* – I’m not sure why this concept has never crossed my mind or path before. I know that my house could benefit from more structure, but there isn’t enough time to “schedule” full, complete tasks – and everything ends up shoddily done. I LOVE this budget idea, so if there isn’t enough time for all of a task today, some progress was made, and there are more “allotted funds” tomorrow. THANK YOU.
    [It also somewhat surprises me, bc I always get the feeling that you are more "on top of things" than this particular post lets on to. =) ]

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      @Kelly, I struggle just like everybody else, trying to figure out what works in whatever season we’re in. That last part seems to be constantly changing, though.

  6. I recently made up a daily schedule for myself and my kids. I did it because I felt like I wasn’t getting as much accomplished as I needed to and wanting to get a handle on things. It really just didn’t work. I felt like I was running some kind of race and we were constantly jumping from activity to activity. The schedule didn’t last long before it was abandoned. I found your way an interesting alternative and I think I’m going to give it a try. Thanks for your always thoughtful and inspiring posts!

  7. I had the same thought as Stephanie when I read this post — what do you do with your kids during many of those time allocations? I’m genuinely curious, though I realize that question could be read as snarky. I feel like I can never get on top of all my To-Dos (like laundry or blogging or cleaning or menu planning) because I’m doing stuff with my kids when I’m not working. Are yours all old enough to entertain themselves?

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      @Kate, my kids are 13, 10, 8, 6, 4, and 2.

      I guess I didn’t say that this isn’t my everyday, but what I shoot for like 3-4 days a week. Weekends are family time and at least one day a week the kids and I do park, library, etc.

      Our school time is when we are all together during the day, but as I mentioned in an earlier comment, the kids and I do a lot of these things together. There’s always someone with me whether I’m folding clothes, cleaning, cooking, clipping coupons, or even sleeping. I “usually” get alone time while I’m in the shower, but not always. My girls (2 and 4) tend to visit me in the bathroom. I am almost never without my kids except during writing time which I do while they are sleeping.

      Hope that makes sense. And thanks for clarifying that you weren’t being “snarky.” :)

  8. Schedules don’t work for me either!! At all. I decided to start praying every day for God to lead me step by step in everything and things are going MUCH better!!!

    Similar to this, I’ve been recognizing the things that eat up time and are good in moderation but potential distractions from what matters most and am starting to put in place a budget for those things (ie checking email…well pretty much computer anything!)

    I think it will work great!!! Yay for no schedules!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. That is a wonderful idea! Especially if it works for you…I too have tried the scheduled timeslots and it is not for me. I am not structured enough for those time slots so I use my planner and schedule certain activities for each day and write out the months meals. As long as I know I need to wash the floor, vacumn, start the laundry, tidy the kitchen, do my bible ready, do the kids Bible study, take the kids to the park, pull out the roast and get the crockpot going, exercise and focus onreading withthe kids then it gets done. I consult my planner first thing in the morning and work from there. My days are so much more productive so that works for me I need the structure of the specific tasks but not the time frames. Good job thinking “outside” the box and doing what works for you!

  10. This is very interesting. Time Management is one of my biggest struggles. The two main issues right now are nickel and diming myself out of hours of time with the internet. We have two computers on the first floor of our house, one in the kitchen, and I have a smartphone so I am constantly checking this and that. It’s really terrible and I need to manage it better. My second problem is learning to be better about rolling with the punches in terms of my toddler’s sleep schedule. I won’t go into the gory details except to say he often gets up at 4:00 a.m. and has a tendency to fall asleep in the car if I’m not careful about running errands. He won’t change so I need to adjust my attitude and expectations. That’s tough.

    Have you read Julie Morganstern’s Time Mangement From the Inside Out? Before I had kids it took me years to learn how to effectively manage my time. I’m a freelance musician so when I work it’s late afternoons, evenings, and weekends. The problem I always had was managing my days so I was still getting practicing and planning work done but also not working every minute of every day. It was tough. Of course, once I figured it out I had a baby which threw a wrench in that system. Oh well.

  11. Enjoying your post today…At our house we love that Chris Rice song too…. : )

    For me, survival mode is my quiet time with the Lord first; I don’t put a time on that part. Laundry, we try to do one load a day, depending on circumstances. Some days our girls have the wash room though for their many loads. At least a 15 minute nap with my feet up in the afternoon. I really try to do a 30 minute creative project lately, it helps my mental if you know what I mean. Supper is a must, so we usually do a simple dinner or crockpot. That must include at least one green veggie. Sometimes my daughters will cook as well. And of course doing some dishes done by my daughters on rotation. I will say, there are usually dishes in our sink since we cook quite a bit. I’ve learned 70% works. I just put the big rocks in first, then whatever else fits. I like a sweet loving, laughing home not a museum. : ) I used to think there was something wrong with me because my home wasn’t as sterile and model-homish as others but I’m learning I’m okay, it’s okay. From talking with other happy moms who cook a lot, who homeschool etc. I am normal! I am happy. : D

    Thanks so much for the links and such, today I’ll have to treat myself to a nice gleaning session! I love learning new ideas from others, even at age 50. ; )

    Bless you!

  12. I enjoyed reading this! Much better way to organize my day. I have found that anytime I plan out my days, scheduling minute by minute, it only lasts a short while. It is just too structured for any normal person to follow it! The way you are suggesting allows me to get everything in for the day, yet do each task in the order I feel like doing them for the day. I think this will work perfectly!

  13. Yes, thanks for “saying it out loud” that this is the way you “schedule”. I try to have realistic blocks of time for our every day life also, but the order can be amended according to what is happening that day. A flexible schedule is one of the main reasons that we are homeschooling…so that we don’t have to follow someone else’s schedule. Plus it fits with my husband’s variable work schedule. It has taken me a while to be confident that this system works for us, but I am so glad that I can enjoy the simple, spur of the moment pleasures without worrying about my carved-in-stone time table. The only thing that we try to stick to is a realistic bed time for every one…including the adults!

  14. I came over from Crystals’ blog, and I just wanted to thank you for sharing your struggles and what is working for you. I too have had many struggles with scheduled activities, but time budgeting sounds like it may work well for me as well. I’m going to be re-reading Crystal’s series and buying Amy’s book. With three little ones and another one on the way, I need to reach some kind of compromise with myself in this area, something that will help me feel like I’m actually accomplishing something, yet keeps my family and my home as peaceful as it can be!! Thanks again for sharing!

  15. Thanks for this post. Tears are in my eyes now as you have helped me realize that I don’t have get everything done in one day and follow a picture-perfect schedule to be productive. You have been an encouragement to this Mommy living in the world of a newborn + 2 preschoolers.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      @Rhoda, no, you don’t have to have it picture perfect. You have to find the way that fits you and your peeps. I feel confident that you’ll find it, though.

  16. I’m a working mom, and my other half – he’s a working dad. What on earth is time??!! We already thought we “had no time” before our daughter was born. Neither of us are the best homemakers – we both are capable of cooking and cleaning, but after 8 hours at work and 90 minutes+ of commuting, you want to get home and relax, not figure out dinner, much less vacuum or dust anything. Our family doesn’t live extremely nearby. Most weekends we have plans, either visiting family, or going out somewhere together to relax.

    Needless to say, my house WAS a total disaster area most of the time. I was lucky if we dusted once every few months, and we basically live in the country and have cats. We really should be dusting much more often than that!!! Having the house in disarray and being unorganized at home was making me cranky and depressed. I finally decided to do something about it.

    I tried scheduling out our time as most people do – but our schedules vary so much from day-to-day, let alone week-to-week that it always looked good on paper, but it never really worked in application.

    I tried downloading chore schedules and task list from other websites. Trouble is they were all geared toward SAHM’s. I have nothing against SAHM’s by any means – I envy them in many ways… I learned the hard way after a lto of frustration and tears that a schedule for a SAHM is not the same as a schedule for a working mom… (should have been a no brainer, but I like t othink I’m super woman!)

    In the end I gave up and decided I needed to do something myself and not try to lean on anyone elses ideas. I actually ended up doign somethign similar to what you did. I took an inventory of EVERYTHING that needed to be done, how long it would take to do it and how often I needed to do it. I put together a schedule for things over the course of all of 2011. I had a list of what absolutely had to be done each day (1 load of laundry, wash yoru face, brush your teeth, run the dishwasher, prep for tomorrows dinner, etc) and then added in chores – everything from cat litter and taking the trash out to dusting, decluttering, cleaning the garbage disposal, flushing the water heater and anything else you can imagine. Anythign that was going to take more than 15 minutes was broken down into multiple days if at all possible…. Cleaning out the entire fridge at any point in time is a daunting project for me… but cleaning off one shelf of the fridge? I can do that.

    Normally I’m an all or nothing person, much like you mentioned… but knowing that I have the other shelves scheduled to be done over the next couple of weeks, I can just let it go and be happy about it. And if we miss a day? I only have at the VERY most 2 hours of chores on a weekend day, most weekend days are closer to or 1 hour (not including the normal daily stuff that wouldn’t need to be ‘made up’). It’s not hard to make up those other chores, I can find an extra hour a week if it means I get to go out to dinner with friends… or if it’s something that I’ll have to do again in a week or two, I’ll just let it go and refuse to feel guilty about not getting it done this one time.

    I also made sure to put things on the checklist that were easy to complete – brushing my teeth, taking vitamins, etc. The amount of satisfaction I get from being able to check off ANY box on my tasks is amazing, and it somehow seems to psychologically help with everything when I can tick off more boxes even if I don’t get everything finished!

    I put my task list into a spiral bound book. On the left side its all my tasks, on the right side it’s the meal plans for the week. I love it. I dont’ know how I lived without it… We still don’t have a perfectly spotless house by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s so much better than it was, and I’m able to wake up in the morning in a good mood (most ofthe time) so it’s definitely doing it’s job!

    Thank you for this post — I love that the concept I ended up applying is something that someone else out there already knew about, just wish I had seen this post before I racked my brain for weeks about how to make a ‘schedule’ work for me!!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Good for you! I’m so glad to hear your story!

    • @Amber,

      Amber,

      Thank you SO MUCH for your candid comment here. I, too, work full-time outside of the home and it feels like more than half of my day is “eaten up” by my office hours and commute. I am home by 6pm and just want to crash. But, alas, there are dirty dishes in the sink, a hungry (and also tired) husband and son to feed, laundry staring me in the face, homework that needs to be done, etc.

      I feel like a hamster on a wheel. It’s a never-ending cycle of chaos. And most weekends, I find myself in tears as I spend all of my “free time” trying to get my housework caught up, instead of going outside and spending time with my son. We aren’t the most organized people and it’s amazing how much can pile up when you’re constantly in a hurry to go, go, go.

      This is not the lifestyle I want, but I have accepted that God has placed me where I am in this season of my life for a purpose. I am trusting in Him that after this season is over, I am be at home full-time, which is where my heart already is.

      Words can’t express just how encouraging it is to know that I’m not alone. I look forward to trying these time management tools, in hopes of bringing back the peace in our home.

      May God bless you for sharing.

  17. Thanks for a great post! I like being organized, but feel like I “fail” with the set schedule. Thanks for a wonderful word!

  18. Your kids are almost exactly the same ages as mine! :) (I am still holding on to the fact that my baby isn’t 2 for another 3 weeks!)

    Thanks for the different perspective on scheduling. I, like most of the other people here, have tried a schedule only to abandon it within a short amount of time. I don’t like feeling rushed or frustrated because something isn’t getting finished in time. I will be trying this more relaxed, yet still somewhat structured approach very soon. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  19. Seen Crystals link to this post and had to read it… I so needed this for the season of life I am in right now!!! I am fighting a long uphill battle with Lyme Disease, and do not have energy for the many tasks in my day. I have 3 boys 5, 3 and almost 2, so you can only imagine the busyness of my days.

    It’s so easy to feel discouraged and down when I don’t get anything more then laundry done and my boys fed… only doing that much wears me out and I struggle to find time/energy to spend with my boys.

    You have helped me put into perspective that I need to lower my expectations on myself. I have too much of a perfectionist view on what I want to do… and I need to just let it all go!!!

    I need to prioritize the things that NEED to be done and then let the rest fill in the cracks, if it gets done it gets done. If not so be it!! I don’t NEED to ‘be like everyone else’ and have a detailed schedule, just the basics. I love crossing things off a list… so this would be a good compromise!!

    Thanks again!!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      @Lois, hang in there. Your priority needs to be to get well and to love on your kids. I think you are wise to revisit your expectations of yourself.

      God bless you!

  20. Loved this post….especially the pic of the UCLA scoreboard…go Bruins!!

  21. This is a great post. It reiterates exactly what I have been thinking about and wanting to address in my own life. Thank you!

  22. Please, please, please tell me the secret to getting ready in the morning in a half-hour! I don’t feel like I spend an inordinate amount of time on hair/make-up, but still, to shower, dress, dry/style hair, apply make-up… it definitely takes more than a half-hour. And what is amazing to me is that you said you CAN do it in less than that! Of course, I have to acknowledge that I also get my youngest daughter ready for school at the same time as I am getting ready; that adds a chunk of time. I have a few issues that I would like to mention, just in case someone in the same situation has the same issues and can still get ready in a half-hour; I would love your advice. Okay, 1. I am a die-hard shower in the morning person (for my kids as well). I know that we all have different opinions on the subject, but I feel disgusting without a morning shower, and I think my kids look disgusting without a morning shower too! Mean, I know. 2. Although I don’t think I spend a TON of time on my hair/face, I don’t want to give up doing hair/face because quite frankly, it (again, my opinion) helps all of us with the attractiveness factor… and I LIKE to feel attractive. I hear from some people that they don’t wear make-up and/or they get a wash and wear hair-cut (does that really exist)… but that’s not really the advice I am looking for… thanks for any advice to all who give it.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      @Amanda, I am planning a follow-up post. But, I will say, I do take a shower, put on some make-up and blowdry and style my hair. But, I also lock myself in my room alone. ;)

    • @Amanda,
      I’m guessing it will vary with each person, but I’ve had a wash and wear hairstyle for YEARS and wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m lazy and spending more than a few minutes to get my hair styled is just too much work IMO. The style changes too. It used to always be long with bangs, and it just took a few minutes to comb a run the dryer for a few minutes. I never completely dry my hair with a dryer. For a while it was short and spikey and that actually took a little more time, as I had to apply the gel and work it thru and shape it. Right now it’s shoulder length and I just comb it.
      I can also be completely showered in less than 10 minutes too, unless I’m shaving that day.
      However, I stopped wearing makeup in my early 30′s. I noticed one day that the foundation was highlighting the WRINKLES of all things! For a while I just stopped wearing the foundation, but then realized I didn’t need anything else. I do put some on for date night, just not a daily thing.
      Having said all that, you shouldn’t feel obligated to finish in 30 minutes just because someone else can. If you need or want to, that’s different. Is there any way for you to do things along side your daughter that will speed things up for both of you?

  23. I love what you said about setting an amount of time for things like laundry. I also tend to have an “all or nothing” personality, and that means that I tend to put big things off–like that pile of laundry. I LOVE the idea of setting an amount of time and not worrying if it’s ALL done or not. The breaks the job up into bite sized chunks that seem more doable, and I know I’m not stuck doing a ton of laundry all in one day because I put it off for so long.

  24. Thanks for your post. I’ve been experimenting with different “schedules” (or lack thereof =) ) for the past few years and have yet to find the perfect one for me.

    Part of my problem is that I seem to need 7 different schedules – 1 for each day of the week! I’m a SAHM (I have a 15-month-old boy) and a piano teacher, plus I volunteer to help the Jr/Sr High girls at our church’s school with their music for competition every spring. Between my teaching and volunteering, my schedule changes drastically every day! (Monday I don’t teach at all, Tuesday I teach all afternoon and into the evening, Wednesday I teach all morning and afternoon . . . you get the picture!)
    Does anyone have any advice for somone like me? I already feel like I’m pulled in 5 directions at once, and making a different plan for each day seems a bit over-the-top.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Well, are there time budgets that fit each day. I’d start with the things that you do EVERY day. Make a budget for those things… what’s the min. time frame you need for each of the must do’s. Start with where each day is similar and then work your way to the things that vary.

      Alternatively, assign tasks/time budgets to different days.

  25. I just wanted you to know what a relief it was to read this and try it out. I used to be on top of things when I worked, but as a stay-at-home mom, I seemed to never be focused. I tried the minute by minute scheduling trick and it just made me more frustrated. When I read this yesterday, I thought, “that is too easy”… but I wrote my day out and guess what? It worked!
    I not only was able to accomplish my goals but also was calmer because I had my “me” time in there, too. And with blocks of time committed to different activities, I can see where some progress will occur… just not all in one day! YAY for a great idea!!

  26. I’m so glad someone figured this out! I love feeling productive and having a routine, but I don’t like rigid hour-by-hour schedules. Thank you so much for this!

  27. I have totally been needing to read something like this! I feel like I can just never get everything done anymore. I keep telling my husband, “Help me figure out how to organized my life.” I think this is exactly the kind of thing I need to sit down and try to figure out. Thanks so much!

  28. It’s so cool that you’ve got a list with your day broken down in such a great manner. I’m one of those “it’s all or nothing” girls which really can leave me feeling frazzled at times. I’ve actually started a daily schedule many times before without avail. Thanks for the insights on how yours work for you!

  29. Great post. I have been struggling with rebalancing my time since the arrival of baby #3 almost 4 months ago now. This approach makes a lot of sense to me, because it really allows you to focus your priorities.
    I would also like to recommend to anyone who is interested in learning more about time management “168 Hours” by Laura Van Der Kamp. This is a fantastic book that has changed the way I look at my time, like you, she focuses on prioritizing your time for things that matter to you, and are in keeping with your life goals.

  30. I was just about to write up a “schedule” for next week. Such inspiring words

  31. Hi – I loved these very thoughtful and open insights on scheduling, thank you. I am wondering when do you do time alone with your husband? I assume sex can be fit in during the “sleep” period, at least on the nights you’re actually alone in the bed :) But what about emotional connection, intellectual discourse, not to mention discussion about logistics? It’s a regular challenge for us with our four beloved little ones. I’m interested in your experiences/ideas!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      You raise great questions. This isn’t a super rigid time budget, in the sense that I have lots of wiggle room, esp with 2 hours of “margin.” We usually have lots of time to talk in the mornings while he’s getting ready for work, when he comes home, multi-tasking laundry and dishes or whatever. I strive for this budget probably 3-4 days a week, and that keeps things on an even keel. We have a weekly date night which excuses me from meal prep and a host of evening chores. ;) Plus, on the weekends we don’t do school, so that gives us lots of time for couple and family time. It’s definitely a balancing act. But, this is the closest I’ve gotten to get routines and “schedules” to work for me with this range of children.

      • @Jessica Fisher, Your thinking reminds me of Stephen Covey saying “put the big rocks in the bucket first.” I guess your Time Budget is the big rocks, you make sure those are taken care of on a weekly basis and the other pieces can fall in around them. Thanks for sharing.

  32. Have been looking to re-prioritize and simplify and this system sounds like one I can work with! :) Was wondering though…how do you account for activities outside the home? I don’t see anywhere in your example things like we do like swim class at the YMCA or Girl Scouts.

  33. Such a great post!! Hoping some of these suggestions will help me. I am a big to-do list type of person….love checking things off my list :)

    Like you, I can’t seem to handle time blocks and scheduled by min or hour. However…I find we do kinda keep a loose structure or routine to our days…certain things done before lunch, or dinner etc.

    I LOVE this idea of time allotments….can’t wait to try it out!!

    Thanks & I’m stumbling this posts!
    Denise @ Creative Kitchen

  34. This is awesome! I’ve been working on just getting a basic rhythm into our lives since having baby #3. But I’m not getting much done. Strict schedules have never worked for us. I have a very spontaneous husband, which is very fun, but hard on schedules. I think this time budget might just work for me. Especially when limiting things like screen time. Thanks for helping me be a better mom!

  35. I really appreciated your post! I think a time budget will prove to be helpful for me as well. :) I introduced the idea to my reader-friends as well and added a link back to you.

    Thanks!
    -H

  36. Alisha Murphy says:

    Great article! I was in the same situation. At this time I couldn’t fulfill my given tasks on time anymore. I was juggling so many balls I didn’t know where to start. I addressed my issues to a professional online coach and got some really helpful advice to improve my time management effectively (I really can recommend Your24hCoach). To successfully manage your time you have to get organized in your life. Make a list of what should be done. Include in this list both urgent and non-urgent things so as never forget or ignore something again. Include an estimated time frame for each action and the date by which each task must be completed. It is very important to set your own realistic deadlines and try to meet them. You should also include in your schedule time where you stop everything, relax and recharge your batteries. Your tips and the ones I have received from my personal coach helped me a lot and in time I got use to it. Good luck, everyone!

  37. Thank you for this! Just today I was trying to figure out to myself how do I get better at this time management thing without feeling like I’m stuck in an awful routine!

  38. Love your idea. I have struggled with schedules. I think this might work for our family! Thanks!

  39. This is exactly the type of thing I have been thinking about. I sat down the other day with an hour by hour schedule and tried to put all my daily to do’s in it and what I found was I had no time for sleep and I still wasn’t getting the important stuff done. I am not a schedule kinda girl and i hate routine so I love this post and it helps me to let go of the should do and focus on the can do!

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