Psst! A Secret to Scheduling Success! by Cindy Rushton

Cindy2015Want to know one of my biggest secrets to homeschooling the easy way? Want to know one of my biggest secrets to scheduling success? This one secret can make your daily schedule finally fit. It can end your scheduling frustrations forever.

I am not a “schedule by the minute” type of person. (GRIN)  I fail with schedules like that. They don’t meet my needs. My life includes too many areas that have different needs daily. Timed schedules just do not work for me.

So, what has worked for me? Setting up a framework to my day. This is one incredibly powerful tip. It can make a HUGE difference in your day as well. It just might be the secret that has alluded you through the years.

Wondering what I mean by a “framework” for your day? By framework, I mean a general flow to each day that includes all of the areas of my life that I juggle. But, how do I do that? Here are some quick tips:

1. Decide what should be included in your daily schedule.
Look at what you are all about. Look at your goals, activities, values, priorities. Look at your husband’s schedule–wrap everything around him. Look at what you need to include in your day to get everything done–quiet times, lessons, homemaking, read alouds, work, etc. This is important. Otherwise, you will include things in your schedule that may not be the very best choices. And…one big risk…you may never get around to the things that matter the most. Decide what really needs to be a part of each and every day for your day to be successful.

2. Decide the best time for the tasks you need to complete each day. This will help you get a good flow to your day. For me, quiet times are just best at the beginning of the day. Chores are great right after them–I need them completed so my brain can focus on the table time.  Our business work and errands need to be done in the early afternoon. Read alouds are best before bedtime.  You get the picture. When I tried to read aloud over lunch, we had so many distractions that we could never fit it in. Trying to work the business in the morning would never work…and of course, we couldn’t take care of business errands at night. See how important it is to really look at the best time to get tasks done. Look at the best time for all of the tasks that need to be done. Look at the best flow to get everything done easily each day. You may not get this right at the beginning, but you will get closer and closer each day. You will love it!

3. Balance your day.
Don’t let any one area of your life get out of balance. Everything that we do in our day has a tendency to grow into a big time thief–homeschooling, homemaking, home business. Those important aspects of our life can easily grow out of their boundaries. While I love each of them, they can get rather exhausting if we don’t keep them in balance with the other things that we have to do. The best way for me to stay balanced is to be reasonable about what I expect for each day, keep things simplified and easy, and keep everything inside of its time of the day. I don’t mind those days that we want to dig deeper in a topic that we are studying. I also don’t mind those days that we tackle a messy room. I don’t even mind those days that we have a special business project that needs more time. But, if those areas were demanding extra time every day, it would be easy to get burned-out, frustrated and battle with our time each day. Want to make it work? Find a balance for your day.

4. Set up routines.
Talk about a HUGE help for me. Without routines, things can get so frustrating every day–there are constant decisions, there is more strife in the family, there is no consistency. Routines help us to make things go faster, without the strife and struggle of figuring things out DAILY. Routines reduce the stress of making decisions daily. Routines help our children to know what to expect so they can move through all of the things that they need to do each day. Routines are crucial. They assure a smooth ride. They keep us on track. They keep us out of the ruts. They take us in the direction that we want to go. One of the toughest things I ever did was develop routines in my home. However, one of the most rewarding things that I ever did was develop routines in my home. When I got very, very sick, everything kept going. During those times that I have been stretched, things kept on going. All because of routines. Set up routines. Then, your children will know what to expect. They will learn what is next and next and next. The decisions will be made for you. They will be able to “just do it” with or without you. Set up routines for your family. Develop one set of routines at a time–look for the time of day that things go haywire. If it is morning, for example, look at all that needs to be done. Brainstorm. Make a to-do list for that routine. Write it out. Work it as a checklist until it becomes a habit. If you see other things that need to be added into that set of routines, add them. Tweak it until it is smooth. Then, move to the next troublespot. Do this for all of the times of your day. Watch to see how much it helps!

5. Prune anything that is not necessary. Truth is, we cannot do everything. What we do in our day keeps us from doing other things. It zaps our time, energy, strength. We need to be picky about what we add to our day. Every single thing that we do costs us something. We need to constantly prune those things that are not necessary. Prune anything that hinders, distracts. Be honest. Be ruthless. Prune. Even the good things! Go for the best!

6. Take the squeeze out of your schedule. Watch out for the squeeze in your schedule. Don’t fill every minute of your day with something to do. Why? Because there are always going to be crisis situations, interruptions, melt-downs, delays. If we have our schedule maxed out, we will constantly be overwhelmed, overworked, and squeezed. Find ways to take the squeeze out of your daily schedule–cut out extra running, watch out for time thieves, prioritize your daily to-do’s (and eliminate any that make the day too tight), cut out extras that are unnecessary, keep the day simple and easy. Keep a relaxed atmosphere. Constantly, take the squeeze out of your daily schedule.

7. Stay flexible! Stay adaptable! Actually, one of the reasons that we really want to develop a framework to our day is so we have more flexibility, so we have more “space” in our day to be adaptable. We want to be able to seize opportunities that come our way. We want to be able to slow down and enjoy our children. We don’t want to miss teachable moments. These days just go by too fast. We want to enjoy every second. We want to make sweet, sweet memories. This requires that we stay flexible and adaptable. So, take the time to develop your own framework to your day. Do the tough work. Get your plans together. Work on these suggestions. Then, stay flexible. Stay adaptable. Grasp on to all that God has in store for you!

Need MORE Help?

Check out Cindy’s New Organized Mom Super Set! It is full of great ebooks and audios that will help take you by the hand and plan the best homeschool year ever!

Unplug! by Cindy Rushton

Cindy2015We just got back from a fabulous trip to Italy. Ok, soak this in…VENICE! Oh! YEAH!

On this trip, I was able to check off three, yes three, of my biggies on “My Bucket List.” It was a spectacular trip! And, it was more than just the trip or the place, God was speaking to my heart the whole way. In fact, He is still teaching me lessons from Italy and we have been home a week! 🙂 Just today, He taught me another lesson as I opened my laptop! REALLY! Well, stick with me….

Before I left for Italy, I was on stress overload. I was hoping that Italy would be my “catch-up” time. Well, OBVIOUSLY I had never travelled abroad, much less to Italy. Ha! Italy was perfect for my stress overload. I was forced to getaway, refresh, renew, unplug, and make sweet memories. It was incredible. In fact, I am forever changed from my trip to Italy–more on that in a bit. [Read more…]

Quick Tips For the Perpetually Late, Disorganized, Stressed Out Mom! By Cindy Rushton

Cindy2015Does this SPEAK to you? Nothing is more frustrating than great intentions but failure with the time management, organization, and gentle spirit thing! So, what can REALLY help? Need a bit of hope? Practical ideas? Well, beloved, here are a few tips that have made a world of difference for me:

–> Be sure to slow down and have a quiet time EACH DAY! Take time for God to fill YOUR cup each day. Let Him give you HIS peace, order, and best of all, schedule! Take time to hear HIS plans for your day. Throughout the day, listen to His gentle direction. Be sure that you are willing to let go of the things that God wants to prune away. Without this, all else is only a band-aid!

–> Invest in a Planner! I am the world’s worst at trying to do it all while trying desperately to remember those incredible details that are doomed to slip my brain! I decided to take a long, honest look at the things that were creating chaos. Most often, the biggest culprit was overcommitment or an underestimate of time involved with commitments. Writing down ALL commitments, along with an honest look at the time commitment involved (even going and coming OR planning the details around that commitment!), has made an indescribable impact on my life! Not to mention, another breeder of chaos in my life was constantly looking for information that needed to be in a dependable place like phone numbers, ordering information, etc. Keeping ONE binder with my information included eliminates the chaos, but it does even more! It gives my brain a rest!

–> Evaluate to find the BEST that God has designed for YOU to do! Sure, there are many “little things” that must be done to manage our homes, but if you are really struggling with balance, discipline yourself to write down everything that you are doing for a little while. Pray over the importance of each and every thing. Time is so very precious. God gives us everything that we need to do all that He has designed for us to do, but He will not anoint those things that will choke out His best for our lives. So, really pray through…think through…weigh out everything. Listen to God for HIS goals for you. Prune those things that are not in line with His goals for you. Get rid of any time wasters. Prioritize every activity, every day! Combine activities that can be done together to make the most of time. Delegate those things that others can do to help you be a good steward of your time. Then, make the most of your time doing the very best things that God has designed for you to do!

–> Write IT down! Yep! Give your brain a break! This may seem to compound your problem, but trust me this will help more than you know! It is NOT another thing to do! Rather, once things are written down, the work is done FOR you! For example, keeping a calendar of events in your planner will help to alleviate conflicts in your schedule. Blocking off plenty of time for each entry will help you to give yourself enough margin left over for LIFE! I may live less than five miles from downtown, but if there is an appointment there, I KNOW to give myself 30 minutes to get there! Also, I cannot tell you how much my lists from years ago are beginning to really help me! I have lists for school lessons, shopping, traveling, producing the magazines, speaking, etc. I may have to add to my generic list, but I cannot tell you how many times my lists have helped me to be sure that NOTHING was left out or forgotten. Plus, now the planning process is simplified. I just pull out my list, go over the list, add anything that is missing, and get busy! Several of my lists are typed into my computer, ready to print. Talk about EASY planning! Find ways that you can simplify what you are doing—writing it down will probably be one of your first steps too!

–> Keep your STUFF ready to use! Whether your planner or your purse or even your Bible/journal for church, get things together and in their special spot, ready to go. I have a tote that includes all of the things that I need for Church. I keep it together, ready to go. Our school books stay in a milk crate (one for each child), ready to use at the table or to grab for our trips with the business. Everything that we need is ready at all times. My planner stays at my chair, ready to grab to leave the house. So on. Decide on what you need for planning, church, homeschooling, or your business. Get everything together. Find its very best spot for it to be easy to use, but not in the way or forgotten. You will be surprised at how much stress this will alleviate!

–> Put limits on your day! For years, I battled the different aspects of my day that tend to become monsters! Funny thing, I have never seen my family life ever become one of those monsters. My sweetheart and my children are so much more patient than my nasty kitchen! Memories will always wait for schoolwork to be completed. Laughter will always let the business monster rant and rage! The best (but most difficult) lesson of my life to date was that if I wanted the legacy that God had planned for me, then I had to diligently guard the different aspects of life. I had to consciously purpose to make memories and build relationships with those I love much, much more than a clean house or thriving business or successful homeschool. A whole day can zoom by just on the internet with the business…or working through our lessons…or even re-organizing a closet. Plus, those things wear me down till I am completely zapped! Oh, and then, I am not the nicest person on earth! (ouch—confessions hurt!) While these things are precious and wonderful in their boundaries, I have to CONSTANTLY place limits to insure that we have a balanced life that makes the most of each day AND builds a legacy.

Need MORE Help?

Check out Cindy’s New Organized Mom Super Set! It is full of great ebooks and audios that will help take you by the hand and plan the best homeschool year ever!

Quick Tips For the Perpetually Late, Disorganized, Stressed Out Mom! By Cindy Rushton

Cindy2015Does this SPEAK to you?  Nothing is more frustrating than great intentions but failure with the time management, organization, and gentle spirit thing!  So, what can REALLY help? Need a bit of hope?  Practical ideas? Well, beloved, here are a few tips that have made a world of difference for me:

–>    Be sure to slow down and have a quiet time EACH DAY! Take time for God to fill YOUR cup each day. Let Him give you HIS peace, order, and best of all, schedule!  Take time to hear HIS plans for your day.  Throughout the day, listen to His gentle direction.  Be sure that you are willing to let go of the things that God wants to prune away. Without this, all else is only a band-aid!

–>    Invest in a Planner! I am the world’s worst at trying to do it all while trying desperately to remember those incredible details that are doomed to slip my brain! I decided to take a long, honest look at the things that were creating chaos. Most often, the biggest culprit was overcommitment or an underestimate of time involved with commitments. Writing down ALL commitments, along with an honest look at the time commitment involved [Read more…]

Reach for Your Dreams THIS YEAR!

Cindy2015Hello Sweet Friends!

How is your Saturday going? It is STUNNING here in North Alabama. Elisabeth and I got away for a breakfast out this morning. Matthew called to let me know that he had finished his 10K first place in his age division. And, my hubby just called to let me know how well he did shooting with his buddies today. Now, I am covered up with napping puppies and snagging a few moments on the computer. I like it! [Read more…]