Who else has a billion responsibilities on their plate right now?? Time management on the homestead, or just in the home, can be super overwhelming.
Between homemaking, homeschooling, homesteading, running a business, church responsibilities, keeping my relationships healthy, keeping me healthy, and all the stuff in between….it’s a LOT. And here’s a secret…I don’t feel busy or rushed most days. Now, I don’t “do it all”, but I have learned how to prioritize things in my life with intention so that there is harmony in my life.
A few years ago I started really maximizing my planner usage. I’m a big big fan of checking things off of to-do lists! But my life was getting so full that I needed more than just a list. So, I’ve tweaked my time management process over the years, and this is what I’m doing now that is really working for me well. So I’m gonna break it down for you here. I hope it helps you find more flow in your days, and less rushed business.
Step 1: Google Calendar
Now, you don’t have to use google calendar, but I highly recommend it if you have a spouse. Because it makes coordinating with them 100 times easier. My husband has a google calendar where he puts in his work schedule (which is nutso) and any appointments he has. And I do the same, I use my Google Calendar for appointments/field trips/obligations/reoccurring homesteading chores that I have in my life. This way we both can see each other’s obligations when we glance at our google calendar and plan accordingly. This helps us avoid overbooking days or having too many schedule conflicts.
Step 2: Sunday Brain Dump
Then on Sunday evenings I sit down with my google calendar and my paper planner opened up to the coming week write out my to-do list for the week ahead. I just make a big ol’ master list of everything I think I need or want to accomplish during the week. During this time I also jot down a quick meal plan for dinners over the week ahead.
Step 3: Prioritize
Look at your master list and then star or circle or highlight 3-5 things that are the absolute priority for the week ahead. Unfortunately, I usually cannot do EVERYTHING. Nobody can. So this is where it’s really crucial for successful time management, that you know what your personal priorities are. What is most important to YOU? What are the must-do’s, the best-do’s, and what are the just-kinda-nice-do’s. This will take some tweaking over time, and will change over time. But before you start plugging things into your weekly schedule, you need to know what matters most to you. A major key to not feeling rushed and overwhelmed, is learning what to say NO to.
Step 4: Plan the Week
This is where the time management magic starts to shine. Now that I have my google calendar and my master to-do list, I start plugging everything in to my weekly planner. I start with the google calendar and put in the appointments and major obligations for the week on their appointed days/times. Then around that I start plugging in the items from my master to do list. I start with the most important things first, and work my way down. All the while knowing, that those 3-5 top items are most important, anything else that you can manage to fit in comfortably, is just icing on the cake.
I also try to use Time Blocking as much as possible. For instance, 7a-9a is morning routine, 9a-11a is focused on homeschooling, 11a-12p is house work catch up and free time before lunch, 4p-5p is pick up and dinner prep, etc. This helps keep me focused and more productive.
And I always try to regularly schedule in pockets of self-care throughout my days. This is the secret sauce my friends. It has made ALL the difference in keeping things in flow and not feeling rushed. For me this is usually in the afternoon. I keep my mornings as a more productive time, and then block out an hour in the afternoon while my kids are playing outside, for me to read, or do embroidery, or listen to a podcast. This helps fill my cup after a full morning and before our evening routine begins. For you this will look different, but block out some time in your day for rest. Even if it’s just 10min to sit with a cup of tea and turn your phone off.
Bonus: Stick to Routines
I have found that having a simple morning and evening routine really helps keep things in harmony. When you’re doing the same things to start and end your days, that becomes one less thing to worry about. I put all of my to-do list items, in between these two routines. If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t happen, and I’m okay with that. We’re shooting for progress, not perfection. Also consider having household chore routines – around here Monday is laundry day, and Saturday is coop cleaning day, just as an example.
My life is full – and newsflash, I like it that way for the most part – but I truly don’t feel busy. I don’t feel rushed. Time management for me is being intentional with what I say YES to, getting comfortable with saying NO, time blocking, and pockets of self-care to keep things in harmony. Most of the time… nobody is perfect 😉