Monday, October 26, 2009

Making your Schedules Flexible

I've said many times how building flexibility into your schedules is vital. Today I'd like to share some personal examples illustrating this in my own life, and give you some more solid tips for making sure your schedule leaves room for the unexpected, otherwise known as life.
Since I've started school up again, I've noticed that flexibility is lacking in my schedule. I am taking two classes, both online since the baby is still so young. I initially planned on a three-day (M,W,F) schedule for this blog, and two for school (Tues. and Thurs.) When my second class started (this was a delayed class which began a month later) I planned that I would switch these days, leaving me with three days for school and two days here. If you've been coming by, you might have noticed my lack of posting recently. My schedule wasn't working for me in either area- I fell behind here, and in classes.
So, I decided to do one of my favorite things with schedules- change them! I love switching things around and working them into a new plan- one that works well for me. A plan, a system, is no use if it doesn't fit into your life. And since life changes, systems need to change too. Right now, I have altered my schedule to allow time each day to work on school, and on here. Once again I've found that the more specific and scheduled a task is (for me at least) the easier it then becomes to complete it on time and with my best effort behind it. Which, after all, is the point. Why do something at all unless it's your best?
Here are some of the ways I've found to make flexibility a part of your system:
  1. As I said in the last post here, if you schedule your days (or even just have a planned event occasionally) make sure to give yourself a buffer. Leave some extra time, I like 15 minutes to a half hour, around each task just in case. If nothing comes up (yeah, right) you'll have a nice built-in break period.
  2. Again, this I've said before but it is my favorite tip: more structure equals more flexibility. I know, I know, you're saying: this is ridiculous, more structure means more work, less fun, I'll never stop cleaning and have no time to myself, and so on. I've been there and said that, but it's just not true. See this post for more on how to set up your systems, and just try it. Allowing yourself to follow a good plan that works for you will mean that you'll know when things need to be done, and when the best time to do them is (otherwise known as being efficient - sounds nice doesn't it?) Then the rest of the time will be yours. Don't forget to schedule some personal time.
  3. Clipping on the heels of this last tip, my last tip will be covered in more detail next week here, and deals with scheduling the sometimes tasks. You know, things that only come up once a month, or for only one month (like decorating for holidays, or for those of us in the great Northeast, stacking up firewood.) Trust me, when you can go into your household binder and know what you're serving for Thanksgiving, how many more days until you need to submit a rebate form, and who's getting what for Christmas, you will be happy indeed. (As a side on a holiday system - see here.)

I hope these tips will help you, and encourage you to go get some more freedom in your days. Life is too short to be focused constantly on housework- that's what a system is for.

I am happy to share this at Works for me Wednesday and Homemaker Mondays- come see all the great tips.


Heidi said...

I love the Make A Home Mom phrase! I've never heard that one before!

Great looking blog, good luck with your schooling and other schedule needs.

mahmommy said...

Thanks so much Heidi! I actually came up with Make A Home Mom myself, and decided to use it as the focus for this site. I talked about it in one of the first posts, how to me being an at-home parent is so much more than people can realize.

Tracey said...

Great ideas in this post! I am such a schedule-type person that I tend to get frustrated when things get out of order. I must remember that flexibility is our friend! :)

mahmommy said...

Tracey, thanks. For me I get discouraged if things don't go just the way I planned, which is silly because my plans are completely at the mercy of the universe. "We plan, God laughs" is a good motto I try to remember. Life runs smoother (I think) when we leave it a little open.


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