Wednesday, October 3, 2012

31 Days...Day 3...Time Management

The theme behind my 31 Days of... posts will be "31 Days of Homemaking". It will be 31 posts about anything related to homemaking, you know, making a home. Whether it has to do with parenting, housework, organization, crafts, whatever. As long as it falls under the definition of making a home, it counts.

Day 3 - 

Today is Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012. Today's topic is "Time Management."

As a work-at-home mom, I find my time to be a difficult area to, well, manage. I think the biggest issue with this is simply in the fact that I have a hard time with "at home" portion of my role. I feel like I am gone more than I am at home, and some weeks, that is definitely the case. Other weeks, it may not be the case, but the house still suffers due to lack of time management while I am here.

So, this is what I have done to combat that issue. It has worked for me, it may or may not work for you. I'm sharing so that if there is something in this that might work (or that might work with some tweaking of what I do) that it could help you.

One of my issues lies in the fact that during the week, I have a number of places that I need to go. In the morning, I need to take my children to school, three mornings a week, I pick up the little girl that I take care of from her mom. And on a fourth day, I drop her off at the same time in the morning. This does not line up with the time my children go to school, however. It happens two hours later. So I have a two hour window where I can either run errands alone or come home and work on the house. My problem was that I often would run a few errands and then waste a little bit of time, just sitting in the lot at her mother's work, waiting for them to show up.

Instead, I have changed that to coming home and cleaning up what I call "the four outer rooms", which would be our living room, our den, our kitchen and our dining room. They are all open to one another, but don't exactly have the whole "great room" thing going on. They are very separate rooms, except for the den and the living room. My goal most mornings is to come home and do a quick pick up in these rooms. Doing things like, clearing off flat surfaces, unloading/reloading the dishwasher, picking up the floor areas (somehow, they end up with random things on them during our morning routine that don't get picked up before we leave - I know, I'm still working on that), starting a load of laundry, wiping down the table and counters, sweeping and vacuuming. Things that are quick and easy and that don't take much effort but make a huge difference.

On Thursdays, though, I often meet my best friend, Bree, at the grocery store in that time frame to do our weekly shopping. It's a stolen moment during the week that we have together. But there will be more on that in another post (Friendships).

After I pick up the little girl, two days of the week, I have to run her to school. This also happens to occur almost two hours after that point in time. So on those days, between the time I get her to my house from her mom's work and the time we have to leave to take her to school, I have about an hour and a half. I have been using that time to do baking projects with her. She enjoys it, I enjoy it. The kids have afterschool snacks that way and it also gives her some valuable lessons on working in the kitchen. Plus, it's just plain ol' fun.

In the afternoons, if I have used my mornings well, I have very little that I need to do and can spend that time on projects around the house, handiwork, craft work, planning, blogging, reading, or even occasionally, taking a nap (on the days the little girl isn't here in the afternoon). And once a week, having lunch with Bree (another stolen moment - also in "Friendships")

After school, Hubby is usually the one to pick the kids up from school. They come home and we spend time on homework, snack, chores, dinner, then our evening activities (of which until next week, has been mostly sporting and scouting - this is our last week of sporting for about a month) then getting ready for the next day. Some of this will be touched on later as well, in posts entitled "Chores for Kids," "Chores for Mom," "Meals and Menus" and "Family Activities."

So our basic daily routine runs like this:
  • Get up and get myself ready
  • Get kids up and get them ready
  • Take kids to school and drop them off
  • Go home and do some quick, light housework (or Thursday grocery shopping with Bree)
  • Pick up or drop off the little girl (Angel)
  • Go home, work on baking or housework
  • Make lunch, eat and clean up
  • Take Angel to school
  • Come home, continue to work on housework or home projects or personal projects (once a week, have lunch with Bree)
  • Hubby gets off work, spend some time with him
  • Hubby gets kids from school
  • Homework, snack, chores
  • Make, eat and clean up dinner
  • Evening/family activities
  • Kids' bedtime routines (also a separate post "Bedtime Routines")
  • Personal time
So hopefully, that will give you some idea of the importance of planning and making the most of the time you have available. Right now, I have four kids, I take care of six additional children throughout the week. All four of my kids are in sports. We have two different sports at three different fields and life is just busy. I also Visit Teach once a month (or twice, depending on how scheduling works out with everyone) and I am Primary teacher in church. Needless to say, my plate is full. But it is all do-able and every so often, I find that something isn't working and that I have to adjust it a bit. So I do and it works again until it doesn't and then I readjust again.