Yesterday, I continued writing in my Learning to Live the Simple Life series. I didn’t intend to write two posts on how I keep my family from being overscheduled, but it exploded into an enormous topic!
Make sure you read why it’s so important for my family to keep our daily schedule from getting out of control and leave me your thoughts!
Because I’m guarded against over-scheduling myself and my family, I’ve honed a technique that works well for me. Maybe it will for you, too!
Analyzing My Schedule: The List is My Measuring Stick
In Part 1 of this topic, I listed the many dreams and goals I have for my family – and there are many!
I realize I have a long list, but it’s extremely helpful to list everything.
Once I have all of my desires down on paper, I have a distinct sense of clarity about my schedule and what can stay and what must go.
That list becomes a measuring stick: each commitment is measured against my list. If it doesn’t help me meet those goals, or it hinders me from those goals, it’s usually eliminated from our routine.
What Works and What Doesn’t? How to Decide
Every month or two, I sit down with my calendar and look at it with a critical eye.
This is what I’m looking for:
→ Did I have enough time to take care of my homeschool mama jobs? If not, why?
My ‘homeschool mama jobs’ include: being readily available as a wife and mother, serving my family healthy food, keeping a semi-clean house, planning our homeschool, and (I hate to say it) my online work.
→ I analyze every single commitment: music lessons, sports, church commitments, doctor and dentist appointments, online work obligations, playdates with friends, my Usborne show schedule, my husband’s obligations outside the home. I evaluate every detail of our schedule and determine if it was necessary.
So what constitutes ‘necessary’? That will differ for each family, but for me, it means: The activity was something a family member wanted to participate in, we could fit it into our schedule without it being an enormous burden, and we could afford it financially.
After I go through each of our commitments, I determine if we’ll continue those the next month. If so, they go right back on our calendar.
The activities that hinder us are eliminated.
Eliminating Activities – It Can Be Tough!
I just kind of threw that out there – that the activities that hinder our family’s priorities are just eliminated. But that can be really hard to do!
Some activities are easy to eliminate, such as those my children don’t love (soccer!).
However, there are those more difficult decisions that are based on financial decisions or significant time investments. It gets even harder when it’s something a family member really loves doing.
So what do I do?
♥ I pray over it.
Maybe the Lord wants this to be an exception in our schedule. Maybe we can find the money from a different ‘pot’ and eliminate something else instead.
I don’t know how God works things out like He does, but if He wants our family to participate despite it not measuring up with my list, we’ll do it!
♥ My friend Angie has this exceptional technique in making a tough decision. I can’t tell you the times I’ve used it to make truly difficult decisions and it’s worked beautifully each time.
You must go read about making a cons list. It will totally change your perspective!
♥ I tuck it away for another time.
Maybe this just isn’t the right season for the added activity. If so, I just tuck it away mentally for another time.
What tips do you have for analyzing your schedule and making adjustments?
What areas are you struggling in when looking at your schedule?
I’d love to hear them! Leave me a note in the comments.