How Scheduling Has Made Me Happier (& Can Do the Same for YOU!)
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Where Does the Time Go?
It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with time management! Some of my favorite books are about habit formation and time management. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The Power of Habit and Sink Reflections are all in my top ten non-fiction picks. Each of these authors talks about ways to bring order to your life through habit. I am fascinated by the science of habits and one important building block of forming lasting habits is scheduling.
Shortly after returning to work from maternity leave, I was feeling like I just didn’t have time for all the things I wanted to accomplish. Important things like exercising and maintaining my home’s cleanliness started falling by the wayside and I knew something needed to change! I had read enough of the above mentioned books to have a pretty good idea of what needed to be done. I conducted an audit of how I spent my days and what I found was fairly shocking.
There were the obvious things each week: 49 hours a week sleeping, 45 hours a week at work, 5 hours a week commute, 2.5 getting ready for work, 2 hours at church, 2 hours out to dinner with my dad…. but WHAT on earth was I doing with the rest of my time?
To My Surprise….
I sat down with pen and paper and tried to write down everything I did each week and how much time I spent doing it. To my surprise, a pattern emerged. EVERY day after work, I would come home and from 4 PM until 8 PM, I could NOT account for how my time was spent. I have a religious bedtime routine but I couldn’t, for the life of me, tell you one productive thing I did between 4 and 8 PM each day. That’s 20 hours each work week!
Now, of course I told myself that this was the time each evening I spent with my child, parenting. This was my time with my son. In reality, what that translates to is this: after my husband went to work, the baby and I would veg out on the couch and I would scroll on Pinterest while he used me as a jungle gym or nap mat. Really! Was this the best use of my time? Probably not.
On top of that, our evenings were really disorganized. We never did anything at the same time and that often led to baby Chase having a meltdown. I started thinking back to my time as a nanny, and ALL those books about time management that I had read, and I decided one thing for certain- we desperately needed a schedule! Over the next few weeks, I began paying closer attention to what we were doing every evening from 4-8 PM. We slowly began to piece together what worked (and what didn’t) and over about a month, we developed our schedule through trial and error.
It’s a Success!
I am SO happy to report that now that we have developed our schedule, our time together is so much better. I get so much more meaningful work accomplished and the baby has many fewer meltdowns. I feel like we are both so much happier thanks to our schedule. So, what is our schedule like? I’m glad you asked!
A Sample Day
Today was Monday, BLAH! This is pretty typical of our work days.
6 A.M. – alarm goes off, snooze
6:15 – OK, OK, I’m up!
6:35 – out the door
7:00 – arrive at work
7:30 – by now I’ve booted up my laptop, greeted the girls, and made my daily coffee/to-do list
7:30-3:30 – work, work, work!
By 4:00 PM I’m home and I spend about thirty minutes chatting with hubby about his day with the baby while he gets ready for work.
4:30 – hubby is off to work and baby and I get comfy on the couch for him to nurse and eventually fall asleep. While he naps, I read (or pinterest) but if I do screen time, I’ve implemented a strict 20 minute rule. If we didn’t get much sleep the night before, I nap with him.
5:30 – baby is pretty much always awake from his nap so now it’s dinner time! Thanks to my weekly meal prep, dinner is ready in 5 minutes
5:30-6:00 – baby plays in the nursery, while I sit in his rocking chair and eat my dinner. Once I’m finished, I read, check my blog, or tonight- I colored in my adult coloring book. I colored for about ten minutes but then ALWAYS end up in the floor playing with him.
6:15 – by this time, we have finished up playing in his bedroom floor and we both change clothes and get ready to go for a walk.
6:30-7:00 – short walk today, I think the heat made him mad. Between 6:30-7:30 is our go time! If we need to run errands, this is when we do it. This is also when I get most of my exercising in. If we don’t feel like going out, we stay in and I lift free weights while he crawls around the living room. Today, I had to get gas and drop a few bills at the post office after our walk.
7:15 – We’re home and it’s time to nurse him again. I strip out of my gym clothes and sit on the couch nursing him, half naked. LOL. He falls asleep.
7:30 – I always try to be in the shower before 8 or my bed time routine feels rushed and I HATE being rushed! If I’m lucky, baby stays asleep. More likely than not, he wakes up MAD and I take a five minute shower and run out to get him before he gets TOO angry.
8:00 – One of two things happens here: baby stays asleep in his bed and I start my bedtime routine, or he doesn’t and we go play some more in his nursery. Tonight, he didn’t want to sleep, so we played in the bedroom floor and I manually pumped while he smashed blocks. 🙂
8:30 – He didn’t last long and by 8:30 he had nursed himself to sleep.
8:30-9:30 – My bedtime ritual! I fill his bottles with the milk I pumped throughout the day and wash all the pump pieces. I pack those back up in a ziploc bag and place that bag, along with my lunch, in my big lunch bag for work. Once all of that is packed up and in the fridge, I put out my clothes, car keys, and anything else that I might need for work in the morning near the door. Finally, I do my skincare routine and tidy up for ten minutes. You’d be AMAZED what you can do in ten minutes! I picked up all the laundry, loaded the dishwasher, picked up the baby’s toys and STILL had five minutes to declutter.
9:30 – My bedtime routine is complete and my chores are finished so I sit down to write this post! If I didn’t get in at least a thirty minute workout earlier, I do it now. If I DID get a workout, I treat myself to blogging or reading.
10:00 – All screens off! My alarm is set and the baby and I go get in bed together. Because we co-sleep, I pick him up from his cot and take him to bed with me. When he falls back to sleep, I read for a few minutes before lights out.
10:30 – Lights out! Good night!
Saturdays and Sundays are much more relaxed because I have my husband home to help with the baby. Otherwise, I’d eventually burn out! It’s a busy schedule but it helps me stay focused on my goals.
Obviously, everyone’s routine will be different. Your baby will sleep differently from mine. You may work different hours or not at all. I honestly cannot say enough good things about our routine. I get more accomplished. My house stays neater and there is no more guilt about not getting enough done each day!
Do you have a daily routine? If so, what is it like? I’d love to know! Leave a comment below and let me know.