Time Management: Do We Need More Structure?

If you’ve been homeschooling for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed a fluctuation in your days. Maybe you’ve specifically set out not to have a super structured day where everything you do has a designated time. Perhaps you’ve decided to wing it, letting things happen when they happen. A few weeks into your school year, you may have determined that this isn’t working for your family.

If so, you might feel you need more structure to your day but fear having something uber structured and regimented. Don’t worry; you can have structure without feeling like you’re running a military school! Here are three tips to get you started:

  • Have a routine, not a schedule. The biggest difference between a schedule and a routine is that a routine doesn’t have times for specific things. Create a list of “tasks” to accomplish for the day, starting with when you wake up. You can make it more of a checklist or you can design it so it’s more organized like a spreadsheet without times. Be sure to print copies and place them in various locations throughout the house, giving each child a copy as well.
  • Look for natural rhythms to your day. Rather than making a list of what you expect to accomplish in a day, make a list of what you actually do accomplish in a day. Keep a daily log (like a diary) of what you do in a day. If you want, you can jot down times next to each thing to give you an idea of how long each “segment” takes. After about a week, review your daily logs and look for consistencies. Then, write down the consistencies on a separate piece of paper and you’ll have recorded your family’s daily rhythms.
  • Create a loose schedule. If the thought of a structured schedule makes you shiver, consider creating a loose schedule. To do so, start by writing down what you want to see happen in a day (in the order you want it to happen) and divide your sections up by “morning”, “afternoon”, and “evening”. This way, you have a schedule but aren’t confined to certain times. Some moms prefer this because there isn’t really a time when you’re “behind schedule”. If you or the kids happen to sleep in one day, just push the day’s activities down to the next time block or forgo them altogether. There’s always tomorrow!

At times, it works for everyone to enjoy life without looking at the clock. In many cases, though, this can lead to a lack of productivity and feeling as if you’re not accomplishing anything. If that describes you, consider adding some structure to your day in a way that works for your family.