Monday, August 30, 2010

Making a Schedule You Can Live With

Well, today marks the beginning of our school year. I school my two boys at home--not traditional homeschool, because we use the K12 curriculum which has a charter here in Utah so we're subject to all the standardized testing (which means I can't break my kids--or at least, mostly!), but still, homeschooling none the less. As you can imagine, homeschooling, being a career writer (that's my fancy way of saying I'm not writing for a hobby, but for publication), and running a household with all the myriad responsibilities that entails and all the other stuff that go into making a life, starting today I'm going to be busy. Or busier. ;)

I've had some people ask how I do it. And the answer's simple: I make a plan.

And then I always get asked: How do you make a plan? But that's not quite as simple.

Still, I thought, since this is fresh on my mind, I'd share my schedule-making method.
  1. Make a list of all the different parts of your life. My list includes: health, family, school, writing, home.
  2. Under each part (above) list what your daily responsibilities include. Mine says: HEALTH/exercise, FAMILY/family prayer, family scripture reading, boys' activities, WRITING/1hr, networking, etc.
  3. Then, beside each responsibility or task, mark how much time you need for each. For instance, I need a solid block of an hour and twenty minutes for exercise every day, and an hour for writing plus an hour for networking (or more, lol.)
  4. Make a list the hours of your day on the left, then block off each hour on the right with your activities.
  5. Remember that any good schedule is one that can flex as needed--your schedule is there to help you, not hinder you!
  6. Also remember, your schedule is yours. Don't worry if you think you do less than someone else. If it helps you manage your time, and more precisely manage what's important to you, then your schedule is working. Yay!
And just one more thing. I had a wise and kind friend offer me some advice my first year homeschooling. When asked how she handles all the demands on her time, particularly those that come from other people, she said, "I just remember that a yes to someone else, is a no to my family." That advice has helped me more than any other.

So I say to you, whatever it is that's important to you, no one else will value it as much as you do. Stick to your guns and remember a yes to something/someone else, is a no to what's important to you. Protect your time and give value where it's due in your life.

How do make sure the things you value most in life get the time and attention they deserve?