I love organization. I love reading about it, I love looking at pictures of it, and occasionally, I am good at accomplishing it myself. I can do it if I try. I just, often, don’t. Or rather, I get overwhelmed, or distracted, or just lazy, and then I ignore what needs to be done. This has always been the case with me, but motherhood definitely makes it more obvious.
One thing I’ve been thinking about (for months now) is how I needed to revamp the structure to our days. I need to be more intentional about what we (and I) do, so that all the fun projects and ideas I have – as well as the chores – don’t get continually pushed off to another day (or totally forgotten). So many times I tell Emma “we can do that tomorrow” and then we never do, and she and I feel bad (I’m still mostly off the hook with the little ones, though I’m sure they’ll start holding me to my words soon, too).
Waaaaaay back in April, I posted about being more intentional about daily planning and scheduling, and I also brainstormed all the ideas I had about what exactly I wanted us to be doing. But then I was never able to make the leap and fill out a daily plan. Writing down exactly what comes when is apparently akin to scheduling dental work, for me. And so, here we are months later.
But! I had an epiphany last week, and it only took me another week to get it to fruition. Progress! I realized instead of an hourly, do-this-now kind of daily schedule, what I needed was more of a collection of ideas. A guide, but with no particular order imposed. So I created a form with all the elements that I knew I wanted, bringing together various lists I had going, either in my head, on paper, or on my computer. I printed a bunch of them, and have them on a clipboard that I can carry wherever I want.
What’s on my daily plan page? A to-do list, with space for only 6 (!) things, including outings, that I want to remember and accomplish. A space to write in meal plans: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack (dinners I try to fill out ahead weekly, the rest kind of fall into place a few days, or hours, in advance).
I also created boxes for different types of activities I want to make sure we get to each day: independent play (things the kids do alone, by themselves), cooperative play (things they do together, for the most part, but hopefully without my constant assistance), and “projects together” (things I do WITH them, either one-on-one or as a group). I also put a box for TV, so I can keep track of whose turn it is to pick, and what or how much they’ve watched (I limit it to an hour a day, sometimes less).
At the top right corner, I left a blank space big enough to clip on one of the Positive Discipline Tool Cards, which are kind of a cheat sheet/memory jog for various positive discipline strategies I am trying to work on. I’ve been trying to figure out how to use these cards, and I think this will be a great way to remember to look at them.
I also left some blank spaces, either for more activity ideas, notes, or to jot down quotes or funny things I want to remember. So far, its been working well. Some days I get to it more than others, but even if I haven’t filled out every box, the fact that its on the page is enough of a reminder. And never fear! There are plenty of days when we don’t get to many of the activities or tasks on the list. But then I can just circle it and transfer it to another day. I think this should help a lot.
How much do you plan out your day with kids? Have you written out a schedule? Are you a list person like me? How structured are you, and how do you remember what you want to accomplish each day?
You can find Kristin over at Intrepid Murmurings, where she writes and photographs her attempts to embrace motherhood, nurture creativity, and maintain sanity while raising twin toddlers and a preschooler.