My family runs on a schedule. Not to regiment our lives and make us miserable, but to give us free time, open days on the calendar, and rest. Over the summer, Toben and I spent a lot of time talking about our family, our kids, and how we could function best when school began.
Last year, it seemed like Audrey did homework from right after school until dinner. It felt like we rushed to get into bed each night. Mornings felt hurried and the girls had to wake up from a dead sleep every morning.
As a result of our new schedule, the girls get to sleep later in the mornings, have lots more time to play after school, and our days together just feel so much more open and free.
I keep myself to a pretty strict schedule too. Again, not to fill up every moment with something, but to see the week as a whole and to know what needs to be done when.
So here's what it looks like:
I keep our family calendar on the fridge. Toben and I both keep our calendars on Entourage, so we can send each other appointments easily. Every week I print out the calendar and put it up where everyone can see it. When I plan menus, I write what's for dinner on each day--and no one asks me "What's for dinner?" I tuck any recipes for the week behind the calendar, and keep a monthly calendar up there too. That way when someone calls about something after this week, I can quickly refer to our calendar and know if whatever it is will work for us.
Underneath is my weekly schedule. Each week I have time scheduled to write, to do laundry, to bake bread, to go to Bible study, to plan and prepare for Girl Scouts, and so on. I also have time set aside to sew, knit, or have friends over.
It's so much easier for me to plan menus, make a grocery list, and shop on Tuesdays than to look in the fridge on a school night and wonder what in the world I can make for dinner. Likewise, I know that that laundry will get done every Monday.
I have other friends who keep schedules like this--and our schedules are all very different. But if you're looking for a basic schedule to tailor to your own life, here's the file for mine:
Some things aren't listed because they need to get done every day no matter what--in order to have a good tomorrow. I get the coffee ready the night before. I pack lunches the night before. The girls set out their clothes the night before. Simple things that make the next morning a million times better than if we didn't do them.