I am a schedule type personality. I love schedules. I need calendars. I crave organization and routine. However, for some reason, I shied away from the idea of having a weekly chore schedule for years. Making one sounded so overwhelming to me. I also felt like it would restrict me to have to stick to a weekly schedule around the home. So I pushed back on the idea for years. But now after following one for a couple years I have realized that I was utterly and completely wrong about what it would do to my life.
Here’s the thing. Before I began following a weekly schedule, my life at home, you know, the chores and the weekly things that just have to be taken care of, always felt chaotic. I remember that I would put the kids down for a nap and then literally run around the house in a panic thinking to myself, “I’ve got an hour to be productive! What should I do?! What should I do?!!” And so I’d find whatever dirty floor or bathroom or what not that I saw first and work away at it. It was stressful doing this every day of the week. And I would miss stuff. One week, I’d completely forget about cleaning the bathrooms and they’d go on another week (or two or three) without getting cleaned. I hated living that way, yet, I still felt like I was fighting for my freedom by not becoming more organized.
Another part of the chaos and stress was that nothing ever felt “done”. I would just run around until the baby woke up and most of the time feel defeated because, in the back of my mind, I knew there was still so much more that needed to get done. I had other personal pursuits that gave me life that I felt like I never had time for. So out of desperation, I finally decided to bind myself down to a schedule and give that a try for a while.
The first change I noticed instantly was that I carried a lot less stress through my week. The schedule I drew up was everything that needed to happen on a weekly basis divided into manageable days. Therefore, the constant inner monologue of what needed to happen that week vanished. I hadn’t even realized how utterly exhausting that monologue had been! With my new schedule, I had a sense of calm and peace because I knew that if I just accomplished what I had on the schedule for THAT DAY and I did that every day, everything would get done. I didn’t need to worry about what I had to do on Thursday when it was only Monday; I’d attack Thursday on Thursday. And when I did accomplish Monday’s task, I felt accomplished and successful.
Wait a minute, this didn’t feel binding, this was freeing!
The second difference I saw with following my schedule is that I suddenly felt like I had more time to do some of the things I wanted to do. I had more time to pursue what brought me life and without feeling guilty for it! This is why: with a schedule, once my “day” was done, I felt accomplished and gave myself permission to do other things. Before, as I mentioned, nothing ever felt done. All of life’s’ weekly tasks merged together into a foreboding mountain whose summit could never be reached. Now, if Monday’s tasks get done and the kids are still napping, I enjoy sitting down with a cup of tea and taking time to learn or write or paint. And because the inner monologue is gone, I am able to focus better than before. My brain doesn’t feel so cluttered! Also, I feel like I am better able to focus on my children and their needs.
Here is an example of some of the things on my weekly plan. Yours will look different I’m sure. There are things that my husband takes care of that are not on my list that you may take care of at your house. Or, you may have older children who do some of these chores. Right now, my children are young and pretty much help me do all of these. They love to be given rags to clean the windows, or they gleefully help me fold laundry.
- Shop for groceries
- Make any of my homemade products we are out of (toothpaste, deodorant, granola, soap nut liquid, etc)
- Wash, dry, fold and put away laundry (two loads does it all)
- Clean house (vacuum, mop, dust, clean bathrooms, wash windows) See the Minimalist Cleaning Guide for ideas on how to accomplish all this in much less time!
- Look through ads for specials and deals
- Make meal plan for next week/grocery list
- Wash, dry, fold, and put away laundry
- Time for extra items that need to be done on more of a monthly basis
Even though I am a schedule type person, I absolutely believe that you don’t have to be one to do this and to benefit from it greatly!
To do: Start by making a list of the things you know have to happen each week to keep your household in order and your children fed and clothed.
Next, break that list down into days of the week.
Think about your schedule and what else you do each day. It might be that you need a lighter day on Tuesday if you already have commitments on that day and that you are home more on Wednesday and can reasonably get more done that day. It may take a few weeks of shifting things around before you get a plan that consistently works well for you. And the great thing about it is, if you do miss a day (which happens to me!) you know what you missed and where to pick back up!
I hope this helps declutter your mind as much as it has helped me!