**Warning! This is ridiculously long!**
So why create a weekly schedule?
A weekly schedule is for our benefit--not to beat ourselves over the head with when something doesn't get done. That the first thing to remember.
(I totally need to remind myself of that because I am such a list girl, and have such an "all or nothing" bent, that if something doesn't crossed off, I tend to assume the day was a total failure. Which is NOT true!)
A weekly schedule helps frame the week so that we know what's coming and can plan accordingly. It removes the time and pressure each day of thinking and worrying, What do I need to do today? Am I forgetting something?
A weekly schedule helps "number our days aright" as Moses said in Psalm 90. It helps us make sure things get done "at the proper time" (Luke 12:41). It helps us know what it's time to do (Ecclesiastes 3). It gives order to our days. And with order, we find peace.
Creating a weekly schedule balances what our lives are really like (the weekly log) and what we'd like them to be like (wish list).
A weekly schedule can be as simple or complex as we want it to be. A weekly schedule can include:
- Calendar--what's going on specific to this week, what goes on every week
- Menus--what's for dinner each night
- Weekly Chores--what chores need to be done each Tuesday or Saturday or Monday
- Daily Chores--what needs to be done each day?
- Kid's Activities--what do the kids have going on each week
- Kid's Chores--what chores do the kids do each Wednesday or Saturday morning or Monday?
- Family Time--what do we have blocked off for our family each week?
- Morning Schedule--what routine will we follow each morning?
- Evening Schedule--what routine will we follow each evening?
(Over the course of this conversation, we'll tackle each one of those in its turn.)
Wow. That looks like a lot! So how do we start?
We have to start where we are! So, with your weekly log in mind...
(I need to just go ahead and say that I am a list/checklist/schedule kind of a girl. This is what's worked for me and for my family. The structure and routine we live by is a boundary that protects our family and gives us freedom. For example, our morning routine is what gets us out the door in a happy place, excited and looking forward to our day. It's worth getting up earlier than we need to in order to read together at breakfast. It's worth taking the time to set out clothes for the week so we're not running around changing clothes seven times before school.)
Okay, back to your weekly log...
What takes too much time? Where are you overspending?
What is not getting enough time?
What do you want to change?
As you answer these questions, it helps to organize it a bit. For example, I highlighted all the time I spent at home. I also blocked off time spent reading in one color.
You could do this for time spent watching television, running errands, doing chores, cooking, computer time, and so on.
When I look at my log (which is just Monday through Friday), I see that I was gone every morning. That I spent waaaay too much time reading (like 8 hours!). That my house didn't get cleaned this week. That I had too many meetings. That I didn't spend any time sewing or being crafty. That I didn't spend enough time writing. That I didn't exercise/go for a walk at all.
I also see that I get up consistently at 5 every morning. That I need an hour for my quiet time, 30-45 minutes to check email/blogs in the morning. That we eat dinner together every night. That even if the house doesn't get cleaned, laundry gets done and put away on Mondays. That groceries get bought on Mondays. That I go to bed about 9 every night.
So, back to the original question. Where to begin?
With a blank week. Here's a blank form if you want to use one: Download blank_weekly_schedule.doc
Start with the big picture. What has to be done? Work. Dinner. Weekly commitments like dance, youth group, church.
Next, add in those things that need to be done every week, but not necessarily on a certain day. Laundry. Grocery shopping. Menu planning. House cleaning. Exercising. Choose a day/days that works well for you. Be realistic!
(I tend to prefer to block out an entire day for chores, but it may work better to do a little bit each day--totally up to you and what works best for your life. I usually do all this on Monday, but looking back at my log, I see that I had a monthly meeting on Monday, plus I scheduled a meeting for that day. Which totally meant that my chores didn't get done this week. Note to self: Don't schedule things for Mondays! I know I shouldn't but did anyway.)
After that, it's time to fill in smaller details. But this is entirely too long and lots to do, so let's stop here for now.
This may take a while, so don't be surprised. And it may require some juggling, some changing as we go. So don't put anything in ink!
Questions? Anything not clear? Ask a question and I'll respond in the comments so everyone can see.
Lisa, once you've finished your week, I'll comment more specifically about what I noticed and we'll compare notes.
One last thing... Want to read more about a weekly schedule? (More? She wrote more? you're thinking. Yep. It's a topic near and dear to my heart!) Click here.
Wow, you hung in there. Go get something yummy for breakfast. Me? I'm having apple pie!
**ADDED 11/7/08: Here's another chart you can download.**