Friday, November 26, 2010

Kim's Advice About Time Management

I get asked a lot about how I manage to homeschool, have a 2 year old, and do all my crafty stuff. So I thought I would give you my thoughts on the subject but not before I give some warnings.(Note: This is about getting some "me" time not managing homeschooling or housework, etc per se.)

1. Know where I am coming from before you read this. I have 4 kids under 7 and I am homeschooling  only 2 of them at this time. I don't work at all except the occasional selling on Ebay or Etsy. I am a Christian with a strong belief in the Word of God (i.e. I think the Bible is where it's at).

2. This is not the Word of God but my opinion. I don't judge you for doing it a different way.

3. If you have an infant much of this will not be applicable. Infants require much and that time should be more about focusing on them then getting anything accomplished.

4. This post will probably be way too long. I am hoping to keep it under novel length.

Ok, time management. Here is what I do and think in illogical order:

1.Plan  Each Day.
I keep a daily planner. I write my tasks for the day including "homeschool" and I keep the tasks reasonable and small. Example- Homeschool, start laundry, figure out dinner, research how to make a necklace, check grocery sales, play yahtzee with the kids and go the library ( if time)
The next day will probably have a couple of these repeated because they didn't get done but I will plan my day and manage most of it because I know what I want to do that day. I write each day each day usually in the morning because planning too far ahead is frustrating. Sometimes I plan a week but not past that. (Note: I often only manage to write in my daily planner 4 times a week and sometimes less. That doesn't stop me from going back to using it.Don't make hard rules for yourself.)

2. Get you "chores" done with the kids around or involved.
I don't wait for the kids to go to bed to fold laundry or do dishes, etc. I get everything I can done with them around so when they are napping I can work on my projects. I also involve them as much as possible. Joffre Jr. puts away silverware, Renata folds laundry, they all put away their clothes,etc. ( Note: Mopping is the main chore I have to do when they are sleeping. This is probably why my floor is always so dirty=).

3. Don't mind some mess. I allow a certain amount of mess before everyone cleans up. I leave messes to get a project done then clean it up. I try to have the house neat ( things put away) before bed each night but often leave a couple dishes in the sink. My standard about mopping and dusting are low right now. ( Note: I have the kids pick up upstairs, their rooms, once a day and downstairs 2-3 times a day. I do not pick up after them.)

4. Break projects down into small time frames.
The hardest part of getting things done with kids is the constant interruptions. I break my projects down into 20minute-1 hour long sections. I try to have a long term goal in mind ( ex. I will finish this quilt in a month.) My daily planner has the records of what to try to get done each day. I don't sweat taking a long time to finish a project and having 3-4 unfinished projects around at a time. ( Note: I do have times where I don't let myself start another project till I finish some of the others because I usually have more than 4 unfinished projects around at a time. More like 8- 20 hee hee. Yikes, I am revealing all my dirty secrets.)

5.Make a mandatory "Nap" or quiet time.
My kids have to play in their rooms or nap for at least 1  1/2hrs a day. This is time for me and good for them to not need me. This time and right after bed time are when I do most of my crafting. Sweet uninterrupted time.

6. Be flexible.

Life with kids demands flexibility all the time. Don't make too many rules for yourself about what you should be doing just accept what you can manage each day.
Understand that I demand obedience from my kids the first time I tell them to do something. I discipline them if they don't obey this. So if I tell my children to play upstairs they do. I have that expectation but I don't push their limits. So I always expect my two year old to obey but be the first to come back downstairs in about 10 minutes. My 7 year will stay upstairs till I say it's time to come down or she asks from upstairs if they can come down.  Some days I demand more time for myself and some days I purposely don't demand any. If I see all my kids busy enjoying something and content without me I run off to work on a project I have left out ready to go for such a moment.

7. Prioritize

These are probably starting to sound very typical but they are how I manage. Always put the family and others before yourself. God promises to bless you in this and it has always been the case for me. They are more important. I constantly so this and still find the time to do my projects. Be open to moving in different directions. I love painting but rarely do it now because I need undivided attention o do it. The kids are more important than me becoming a fantastic painter right now.I moved into sewing and other crafting for this time of life and I am enjoying it. I also have days where I grab Joffre and say, "I need to paint .Take the children away for 2 hours!"  I don't do this often because it is not what I should expect and demand of my husband. He doesn't need to come home from work and have me throw the children at him saying , I need MY time, My space! Its like slapping him in the face. He always helps when he is home but I try to think of not demanding him to totally take over or take them away because then when he does I am more grateful about it and figure out how to manage a lot without that.

8. Enjoy your kids.
If you aren't enjoying your kids you should consider sacrificing some of "your" time or at least begin but taking a day to only focus on the kids. My two year old was whining this morning and I was deciding how to deal with it. I tried interesting him in something else and tried enlisting his brother to play with him but he was still whining. I was about to start disciplining him when I realized I had been running around all morning not paying attention to him. So I asked if he wanted to cuddle. (He loves to "cuddy") His face was like sunshine and he was in my lap chatting away for 10 minutes. He then went off to play without more trouble. The laundry didn't get folded for another 1/2 hour but I enjoyed my two year old instead being frustrated with him.

Ok, I am tired. I hope that was helpful to someone.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Being flexible is a hard one for me - I have to remind myself not to get attached to tasks, but to enjoy the precious time I have to spend with my little ones!