One of the things I hear a lot from moms as school is starting is how nice it will be to get “back into a routine.” Summer is fun but ultimately we all start itching to be more productive. The same goes for homeschoolers. Even if you are a relaxed homeschooler with no set curriculum, it’s nice to make forward progress. I am a huge proponent of self-directed education, but that doesn’t mean that our days have to be unstructured, perpetually spontaneous. It just means that instead of someone else telling us what and when to learn, we decide for ourselves.
What do you wish you had more time for? Where are you wasting time? There are so many distractions in our day that things take longer than they should, or perhaps we start our day with a lengthy to-do list but only accomplish a few things (if any).
The way to take control is to develop ROUTINES. You can have a morning routine, a homeschool routine, a workout routine, a kitchen routine, a weekend routine – whatever. The important thing is to prioritize first. Make sure that your routines accomplish something that you really care about. You cannot do everything. I repeat, you cannot do everything. Some things will have to go. Some things will have to be delegated. You may have to adjust your expectations. How clean does the house have to be? How elaborate the meals?
One nice thing about routines is that they will ultimately save you time because you will become more efficient. You won’t waste time skipping from one random task to the next – or trying to multitask (a subject for another post). Certain routines involving manual chores become more effective as they become habit, such as cooking, cleaning, yard work, etc. Other routines accrue benefits over time, such as exercise, meditation, relationship building or other forms of self improvement.
The idea is to plan your time. Plan for free time too. Planning productive work for every minute of the day would just make you crazy. You don’t have to be a zealot, or get all stressed out when you fall out of routine. In fact, just the act of writing a routine down on paper can help you focus, even if you never follow it! Putting thought into your highest priorities and analysing how you currently spend (or waste) your time is a wonderful reality check. And now is a good time for it – get back into a routine.
P.S. For a fascinating look at some famous peoples’ routines, check out this web site.