Guest post from Dianna Scofield
At first, I fought against schedules. Being a homemaker is all about being your own boss, right? Why should I let a schedule tell me what to do?
But I was going through my days with no purpose. I didn’t know what to do, so I wasted my time, then later all the things I should have done would come to mind. It wasn’t exactly a recipe for good self-esteem.
Why use a schedule?
I have used schedules on and off during my time as a homemaker, and I can say without reservation that life is better when I am on one! I wake up in the morning with a sense of purpose, and I go to bed at night feeling more satisfied with the house and with myself.
A schedule is freeing. One of a homemaker’s most common complaints is that the work is never done: laundry, dishes, you name it. But if you have a scheduled day to complete the laundry, for example, you can finish it on the appointed day and not have to worry about it for a whole week. Yes, there will still be laundry piling up, but the stress is eliminated when you know you’re going to deal with it.
Create a homemaking schedule
Whenever I realize that my old housework schedule has fallen by the wayside, I don’t pull out my old one: I start from scratch. My life changes, and sometimes a fresh start is best (especially if the old schedule wasn’t working out!).
How to make a homemaking schedule:
1. Write down all the tasks you want to get done in a week. This list will be long and depressing. Just remember you don’t have to do everything every week. Think of this as your ideal list—you may never finish everything you want to do, but you’ll get a lot more done if you have it all written down.
2. Group your tasks and assign them to days. Start dividing your tasks into groups—upstairs, downstairs, kitchen, outdoor, etc. This might take a bit of tweaking, but eventually you’ll want to end up with a list of chores for each day, organized in a somewhat logical fashion. If you have appointments on certain days, give yourself a lighter load then. (If you’re looking for an example, you can take a look at my homemaking schedule.)
3. Write or type up your schedule. Post it somewhere you can see it.
Feel free to download this homemaking schedule organization sheet to help you with your planning.
Now that you’ve got your schedule figured out, here comes the hardest part: doing it. I’m usually quite energetic the first day. In fact, I’m so energetic that I try to do every single thing on my very long list, get burned out, and don’t feel like doing anything the next day.
Learn from my mistakes and take it easy the first day! If you’re just starting a schedule, chances are your house could use a little TLC. If you try to fix everything in the first day or even in the first week, you’ll wear yourself out.
A time limit is helpful: I try to finish my housework tasks before lunch when I can. Prioritizing is also helpful. Take care of the most pressing tasks first, then see how much you can finish in your remaining time. Don’t stress if you don’t get everything done!
The first day on my new homemaking schedule I was supposed to clean the entire upstairs, but I spent most of the time working on clearing away the piles of stuff that had accumulated in my bedroom. I didn’t get to most of the things on my list, but the next week, my room was done in about five minutes thanks to the work I had previously done.
Keep your nose to the grindstone
Let’s move on to the next pitfall: slacking off the second week. It’s easy to rationalize that you don’t need to do your work when it’s just been done the week before, but it’s worth following through and doing it anyway. I love the extra sparkle I get when I clean a shower that has only a week’s worth of build-up instead of a month’s. I also love that I’m strengthening my character: I want to be the kind of person who can stick with a thing, not just give up after a few days.
Revise your schedule
Don’t be afraid to tweak your schedule if it isn’t working for you, or even to throw it all out the window and start over again. As you follow your routine for a few weeks, you will notice things that could be improved.
Your schedule will also need revising with major upheavals in the family schedule, such as the start of summer vacation or the beginning of a new school year. Even something small like your daughter starting gymnastics class might throw the whole thing off.
Establishing a housekeeping schedule can be a challenge at first, but it will help you in the long run. Your routine will become habit over time, and regular practice will make your work a breeze. You will feel saner when you wake up in the morning knowing what the day will hold. You will feel happier when you go to bed at night knowing you have done a good day’s work.
Have you tried a housekeeping schedule? Did it work for you? Please share your tips!
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