Want a not-so-rigid way to help you complete all of the tasks on your to-do list? Try this!
I worked with a mom of four, who was having trouble figuring out how to fit in time to teach her 3 year old. In between the housework, lessons for the older kids, extracurricular activities, taking care of her infant, and trying to find time to breathe, she was finding it very difficult to make time for her little one. I introduced her to different types of scheduling. She chose to use time block scheduling, and it has made all the difference.
Time block schedules are helpful for people who need a little flexibility, who may feel stressed when they don't complete something at the exact moment on their schedule.
As a homeschooler, you’re always going to have something going on, and if you have a very rigid schedule, chances are, it’s very difficult to follow to a T. If you’re anything like me, if things don’t go as you plan, you stress out. Who wants’ that kind of anxiety? I don’t.
Here is how it works. Time block scheduling focuses on accomplishing tasks within a block of time, instead of sticking to a specific time. For example, I have to remember to email a friend tomorrow. Instead of "send email to Trina" to the 9:00 slot on my schedule that is marked by the hour, I will add it to-do list on my 9am-12pm block.
This is especially helpful for homeschool families because our days are never the same. The dishwasher may have overflowed, or you have some clothes you forgot to fold the night before, or you’re behind on cleaning the bathrooms. Whatever it is, keeping a time block schedule allows you flexibility to get your work done.
First, fill in your routine.
Think about how you normally spend your time. What does your daily routine look like? If you don’t have a daily routine, what would you want your daily routine to look like? You should account for things that you do every day, like making lunch, getting dressed, and quiet time. Fill this in on the schedule.
Next, write down the tasks you have to accomplish for the day.
The night before, sit down and think about what you have to get done the next day. Write this out on your task list.
Finally, fill in your tasks on your schedule.
Don't overfill your to-do list in your block. When you're adding to your to-do list, gauge how long you think an activity will take. Then add 30 minutes. Account for that time in your schedule. For example, if I have 3 items that will take an hour each, they will not fit into the time slot.
3 hours + 30 minutes for each task (1.5 hours) = 4.5 hours
I need to give myself 4.5 hours to complete 3 hours worth of tasks. This means I need to move some things to the next time block.
This may seem like a lot of time, but trust me, it will relieve the anxiety to cram everything into a small chunk of time. And if everything that you want to do for the day doesn’t fit, then that means you are overscheduling yourself! Once you start following the schedule, you may realize that it doesn’t take you 30 mins of cushion time to transition. You can adjust as necessary.
What if I don’t complete everything in my block?
If you don't complete something in your time block, it's ok. You can either do it the next day or add it to the next time block.
Assessment: After a week, go back and assess how the schedule is working for you.
How is everything going? Take a look at your schedule from last week. Ask yourself:
How much work did I get done that I put on my schedule?
Did I forget to put anything on my schedule that should have been on there?
Did I have to adjust my schedule often?
Because life changes, your scheduling may need to change. Assess how the scheduling is working every now and then and go back and adjust as necessary.