How can balance be achieved through scheduling?
Being a homeschool mompreneur can get a little wacky, throwing our families into a tailspin, if we are not careful. Balance is important for everyone, but it seems to be particularly critical for moms.
I have not always been very good at maintaining balance in my life. I have gone through times over the years when I couldn’t stop working on my business and times when I didn’t want to work at all; I have endured a messy house for days on end and then went on a cleaning and decluttering rampage to rid my family of the mess once and for all; I have eaten perfectly and exercised faithfully month after month only to fall victim to a deadly combination of delicious home baked goodies and frightful weather that shook my resolve and dashed my good habits.
Through the passage of years and experience, I am learning balance. I am learning that planning and mindfulness are the keys to balance in my life. I would like to bet that this is true for you too. When I make an appointment with myself, I am likely to keep it. If I make something healthy, I am likely to eat it. If I have an audiobook or podcast on my phone, I am likely to take a walk to listen to it. If I schedule a day-off and plan something with my family, I am likely to show up.
Here are the 3 ways that I schedule my life to strike a better balance and how you can too:
- Schedule work/business time. If you are working to start a business or gain momentum in a business that already exists, you know that it can consume as much time as you throw at it. Don’t let it consume you! Schedule the times that you will work during your week and mark those times on a calendar or schedule. I use both Google Calendar and a big calendar notepad that I keep on my desk. My husband works from home as well, so we arrange our schedules around our family life. He works in the morning from about 6am to 1pm, then I work from 1-5pm four days a week. I understand that not everyone has this luxury to work for 4 hours at a stretch during the afternoon. But you may be able to carve out 2 hours during the afternoon. Or maybe you can work for 3 hours from 7-10pm after the kids are in bed. Or possibly from 6-8am in the morning. Or a chunk of time on a Saturday. Take a hard look at your schedule and decide when you can work. Then stick with it. Honor your appointments with yourself so you aren’t tempted to cheat.
- Schedule the non-work times (for me, this is mornings, evenings and weekends). It is too easy to cheat, try to multi-task and “snatch” a little time here or there to tackle a work project. Maybe the kids are playing quietly in the other room OR they ran outside for a few minutes. When I would see these “opportunities,” I used to immediately grab my computer and try to write a blog post or a newsletter or work on some other business-related activity. But frankly, these moments usually disappoint. Just when I would start to get into the zone, the kids would come running back in and ask for a snack or begin to play loudly right next to me. Then frustration would set in. Sometimes, in these moments, I would lose my temper and tell them to be quiet and “get your own snack.” Inevitably I would hurt someone’s feelings, which would then jerk me back to reality. I was trying to work during family time. It’s important that I honor my appointments with my family.
- Communicate and coordinate your schedule. If you are working with a husband, friend or older child to relieve you of parenting duties for a set period of time, discuss how it will work. Let that person know how much time you need, what the kids can do while you are gone or busy, and when you will be back. Honor your schedule with your friend, spouse and children so they know what to expect.
Balance comes with proper and reasonable scheduling. If you were to look at my calendar, you would see “day off” on every weekend day. You would also see that I am at school with my kids all day Monday and work on school work with them on the other weekday mornings. My goal is to be present wherever I am. If I am at “work,” then I try not to fritter away my time by checking Facebook or watching youtube videos that have nothing to do with what I am working on. If I am at home, then I am working on projects that need to be done around the house, or reading with the kids, or planning what to cook for dinner, or teaching school.
I am still not perfectly balanced. (Really, who is?) I still stink when it comes to keeping up with laundry and I am prone to bringing information overload upon myself by signing up for too many video courses. I might set a goal for myself to write a book in a year and then write 2/3 of it in the last two months of that year (just did that), but as a homeschool mom, I am keenly aware that I need to be present for my family. I need to be careful not to tap out my husband or my older children by asking too much, but I also need to honor my goals and my appointments with myself. And I don’t feel guilty about that at all.
For more ideas about keeping a good work/life/school balance, read Stephanie Javid’s post at Heraldmailmedia.com. I especially like the ideas about gratitude and spiritual rejuvenation.
How about you? Do you schedule appointments with yourself? Do you think that you ought to? Please begin the conversation by commenting below: