Check out the simple process to make and effective schedule that you can actually stick to. Includes daily schedule examples.
Do you ever feel like your schedule is running your life? The other weekend was kind of like that. On Saturday we had an inspection at my house at 9 am, T had dance class at 10, I had to go to the store to pick up something for my brother's pot luck engagement party later that day, a house showing at 2pm, and then the engagement party at 4pm. After the engagement party my husband also had a cast party for a show he was in while I stayed home with the kids. The next day my son had picture day at the dance school at 11:30, and then I had to pick up my in laws, and then my daughter's cake, and be back home for Hailey's birthday party at 2pm.
It's that time again! Next week starts the next semester of grad school. Last semester I enrolled in 2 classes completely unaware that I would become pregnant at the start of the semester. It was rough. Having a packed schedule during the first trimester of pregnancy is not easy. This semester I decided to enroll in 2 more classes. Yup, I'm doing it again. Time to see what school, work and everything else is like in the 3rd trimester. My goal for these next few months: finding the balance.
This semester, my last day of classes is also my scheduled due date. It is literally d-day, lol. I informed both of my professors of this situation at the time of my enrollment last October. They promised that arrangements would be made so that I would be able to complete the semester regardless of when the princess arrives. Hopefully, that doesn't mean taking a final 2 days after delivery but I expect that the accommodations will be far more reasonable than that. Luckily, I have prior experience with both of these professors.
So on my plate for the next few months prior to my due date May 6, we have a few things. Obviously, keep growing baby Hailey keeping her and myself happy and healthy. Then there's grad school where we would like to continue with A's and B's. Next my hip hop class: I would like to have their dance completely taught by the time the baby comes. They will have to have a sub the following few weeks and then the recital is in June so I want them to be able to be fully prepared before hand. I am also set to choreograph a college production of Anything Goes in the next few weeks. This is a big tap show, which I love, but I'm not sure how many actual tappers I'm getting. So, we'll have to play that by ear.
On top of those things, there is continuing work on my non-profit, whose growth is slow but steady. We are continuing to sell our calendars and will be bringing them to a few events. We are also in contact with several dance schools to see if they can be sold at the studios. If you are interested in a calendar or know someone who would love one, you can check them out here: www.ihopeyoudancecalendar.com. 100% of the profits go to support youth dance.
Then of course, there is maintaining this blog, helping T with his YouTube video project and work.
The best way to find balance amidst all of these obligations is to first list them all out for a specified time frame. My time frame is the next approximately 4 months. If you can, estimate the amount of time each item will take from your week. For example, teaching my hip hop class is 1 hour and coming up with that week's choreography is about 20 minutes. So that's an hour and 20 minutes I put into my schedule. Now on those days, teaching dance class is my workout, so that frees me up to do something different in the morning. Therefore, I might schedule uploading T's videos on Friday mornings, since that's the day I teach. I might then schedule 2 hours on the weekend where I will work on my non profit. I also schedule 1.5-2 hours each evening for school work after T goes to bed. Once you schedule all of your obligations, the coming months seem less daunting. You won't have to wonder how you will find the time because you already scheduled it. This simple process can reduce stress immensely.
When things come up, as they often will, you can adjust your schedule, but its good to have a plan. It's also good to have your tasks prioritized. For example, if work gets super hectic, I may only be able to blog once that week. Sorry guys, but clearly keeping my job is the priority!! Lastly, schedule in some breaks and some family time. Nothing recharges your battery better than some quality break time! It will also make you more efficient in doing what you have to do.
So, sit down, schedule your obligations and go get em tiger!!
One of the best ways we have to keep our family organized and on schedule is to have a family calendar posted in a central location in the house. T and I created one over a year ago and it has been serving our family ever since. Ours is made of chalkboard stickers and it is posted on our dining room wall. Each month we update it with all of our various schedules. Each person has a different colored chalk to represent their activities. For my husband, since his work schedule changes every week, we write what his work hours are. For me, I work a 9-5, so i just write in when I'm off. We also write in our extra-curricular activities, like when each of us have rehearsals or events. T has his own color for his activities like dance class or doctors appointments.
Everyone posts their activities, so that everyone else knows what is going on. That way things can be more easily planned and scheduled. If we want to plan a night out, we just look at the calendar. If we want to invite people over, we can easily see when everyone is free.
A calendar however, is only as good as how accurately it is maintained. Its's easy to start the month and put in your work schedule or days off, and the already planned events. Where the difficulty comes in is when things come up during the month, especially when you schedule things when you are not home. Here are 2 things I do:
- Use a family calendar app like Cozi, this way when one person adds something to the calendar, everyone can see it. It really helps prevent overlaps when everyone has a busy schedule or at least lets you know when both parents have plans and you are going to need a sitter. Whats great about Cozi is that if you are used to just adding events to your phone calendar, Cozi can automatically import those events to the shared calendar so you are not doing double work.
- When you add something to your phone calendar while you are out of the house, set a separate reminder for yourself to add that event to the calendar when you get home. Often times we start the month organized but as we get busy, we forget to add things to the family calendar. Then when the day of an event arrives we are totally flustered. If you set up a future lunch date with a friend while you are out, add it to your calendar and also set a reminder on your phone for a time when you know you will be home to add it to the wall calendar. This ensures that your calendar is always accurate.
Now back to the wall calendar, I think a big bold calendar is best; especially one that is easily editable. While the paper calendars you buy at the store are great for knowing the date and having nice pictures, they are not so great for this purpose. As plans change, these calendars can get pretty messy. I recommend either a chalk board or a dry erase board calendar. These are not too expensive and they wipe clean, i.e. you can use the same calendar for years and years!
Here is a ready made chalk board calendar which you can get for about $20:Chalk Board Calendar
No matter which option you choose, the calendar is only as good as how well it is maintained.