Time Management 101, Friends and Family

I posted this series in December of 07 … for the most part I’m still practicing my own advice. What a novel concept! 🙂

I get TONS of requests on info on how I do everything, so … I’m sharing a few Time Management tips for balancing family, hubby, life, job, friends, house, etc. Basically this is how I keep my sanity!

I’ll be sharing advice from my friends and a few things I’ve done that have WORKED…like this:

I realize the “life” doesn’t begin “after this deadline” or “this book release” or “when my books sell X number.” Life is happening today. So I can either live in a mess … setting myself up for failure, or live successfully. I chose the latter. I’m striving to live a sustainable life. I don’t want to burn myself out.

I’ve given myself permission to set a schedule that works for me. I use Microsoft Outlook, and I schedule in EVERYTHING. From waking up and having morning quiet time, to straightening the house, to making dinner, to working on a book proposal—it’s all on the calendar. This works for me because it helps me to be realistic with my daily goals. In I have a day packed with other things, I can’t write 2,000 words … and I don’t stress myself out thinking I should. I also like to check things off a list.

Now for actual stuff. I’ll start with what I think is most important and work through the list from there.

1. Like many I balance writing and mothering. Actually, I homeschool, too. This is what I do:

2. I schedule quiet time, devotions with husband, church on Sundays and Wednesdays and small group at our house. The spiritual foundation comes first.

3. I hire someone to do deep cleaning four hours a week. Also, my kids have all their own chores. I’ve done this since they were small. Currently, my daughter (16) has kitchen duty. My 14-year-old son gathers/puts away laundry, sets/clears table, etc. My 19-year-old son sweeps/mops the floors and taxis his siblings around and does occasional chores for me. I spend about an hour a day “keeping everything up.”

4. I set a do-able homeschool schedule. Every Monday I co-op with my friends for about four hours, and we each teach from our strengths. I teach writing, my friends teach other subjects. I also spend only about 30 minutes a day going over my kids school work with them. They work in the same room as I write. I help in small spurts as needed.

5. I have one day a week for errands. This is also the same day I take my grandma to lunch/dinner. (She lives with us.) This is also the day for SLS … or as Mary says, “Stupid Little Stuff.” I plan that stuff on this day since I’m already out.

5. I multi-task. I read galleys or research books as I exercise on my recumbent bike. I read magazines while I blow dry my hair. I take my notebook computer into the kitchen and answer emails as I wait for the water to boil or wait for the chicken to bake.

6. I take my kids out to lunch once a month for one-on-one time. I don’t talk on the cell-phone or listen to the radio when I’m driving them around—instead I use that time to connect. We hang out nearly every night. We watch TV together, go over homework, or talk. I rarely schedule evening events beyond Wednesday church and Monday small group.

7. My husband and I go on a date once a week, and we read our Bible and pray together every morning.

8. I have lunch with friends about once a week. I just started this within the last few months, and I need it.

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  1. Tricia, this is great. Very helpful. Funny, I do most of those things, but don’t seem to be as productive as you. You seem to be incredibly self-disciplined. But then, when I was your age and home schooling, I was too. I still think I’m 35, but the body doesn’t agree. I don’t keep up like it used to. I guess I need to find ways to honor who I am now…

  2. Thanks for sharing your schedule with us. I’ve realized lately that I need to take some things out of my schedule to create more writing time. I like that you schedule everything. That would help me become more realistic in my expectations of myself, so I’ll be doing it, too!

  3. I love reasing your schedule! I wish I could be half as productive as you. Reading your note about homeschooling was realling encouraging to me as I feel like I am a really rotten teacher lately, when do you know when you need to ask for help before you have ruined them?

  4. Martha,

    I have faith you’re not ruining your kids! Yes, you’re probably not perfect … no one is … but love and laughter go a long way.

    If you have weak areas maybe consider trading time/talents with a friend. Also, know that kids grow and change, and what may be hard this year for your kids may be easy next year!


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