Scheduling My Large Family!

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I am a scheduling fanatic! I LOVE schedules! Don't believe me? I have an ENTIRE 1 inch notebook full to the brim of schedules for every possible scenario that could happen on a day to day basis. I have cleaning and home maintenance schedules, divided by daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly. I have school schedules and lesson plans in the same notebook that are divided up into daily to-dos, weekly to-dos, and monthly to-dos.

I also have medication schedules, visiting schedules (who I promised to see or who we haven't seen in a while and needs a visit), traveling schedules, holiday schedules (everything from simple BBQ plans for Memorial Day to birthday celebrations to to Christmas gift and decorating ideas for next Christmas!). My control journal includes the animals feeding and vacination schedules, gardening plans, and home improvement projects that need to be finished by the end of next

It's not as complicated as it sounds- I put my control journal together 15 minutes at a time over several months, and maintain it 15 minutes at a time as it's needed (about once a week).

If I took a 6 month vacation next year, providing someone would read my Control Journal, my house would still run smoothly and they wouldn't be able to forget anything!!

OK, I admit I am slightly OCD. But that is not what makes my schedules work so well. That gives me a driving need to make lists and have everything organized, but it also causes me to become overwhelmed and NOT get anything accomplished when everything is not perfect, which ends up being ALWAYS in a house with six little ones and a husband who works at the whims of the weather. My natural inclinations were working against me! I couldn't be perfect!! :(

I used to be beyond frustrated all the time. I would snap at my husband, I would yell at my kids, I wouldn't sleep because I would be up scrubbing the house (or worrying about what needed to be scrubbed) only to collapse and have everything get messy again while I slept. It was an awful way to live.

Then two things happened:
#1- I spent three hours cleaning my daughters bedroom and woke up the next morning to ketchup all over their bedroom.

#2- I found the FlyLady.

The FlyLady is absolutely awesome. She tells you that you don't have to get everything done in one day. One Day? HA! You don't have to get everything finished in one YEAR! She breaks your home down into FlyZones and you work in that one area, as you can, for one week. Then if you're not finished, SO WHAT? You move onto the next zone! The area you were working in is better than it started in, and if you get some free time you can go back to it.

It was her idea for my control journal. You can see what she says here and here about the control journals. Now, I've read many other places where you create a journal or folder to organize your house cleaning, but her's is the first that really allows you to make a space for everything, however inconsequential. The whole idea is to get it out of your head so you can breathe!

I don't schedule our time by the hour, or half hour, etc. I schedule our time by our routines. We all have a routine that we do when we get up in the morning that takes 15-30 minutes everyday for the kids and about 45 minutes for me.
I make it my goal EVERYDAY to be up at least an hour before the rest of my family so that I can get started right and have a chance to get my head on straight before the chaos ensues! I have one, and each of the children have one. I start at my bedroom, and work my way into the rest of the house.

Mine looks like this:
My Bedroom
Get up (Hit the Ground FLYing! -or Finally Loving Yourself)
Make my Bed
Get Dressed to Shoes

Windex Desk and Dust Computer

Check calendar for school and appointments
Check Control Journal for Daily and Weekly To-dos.
Check Email, Facebook, and Blogger (I set my timer for 15 minutes!)

Wash Face and Morning Toiletries
Swish and Swipe (a quick cleaning of the bathroom: swish the toilet and swipe the sink, cabinets, and mirror)

Empty Trash Can

Laundry Area and Hall
Reboot Laundry
Dust tops of washer and dryer
Swiffer Hallway

Coffee and Devotion
Disinfect Counters and Table (
We live in the Boonies, who knows what's been crawling on there all night?!? LOL)
Feed the cats
Start Breakfast

It looks like a LOT of stuff to do when you have just rolled out of bed, doesn't it? It didn't start out nearly that complicated: when I started, my entire morning routine was to make my bed, swish and swipe, and have my coffee and devotion and I would add one thing every few weeks! The rest has just evolved and now I don't even have to think about it: it's become an ingrained routine!!!

We have several routines to get us through the day. One for after breakfast, for schooling, for lunch, for before we go anywhere (even just outside to play), and one for before Daddy gets home. None of them take more than about 15 minutes to get accomplished so we have plenty of time for actual living and the unpredictability that is part of life in a large family.

The other MAIN routine that I have is called by the FLYlady the
Before Bed Routine. It is the absolutely most important routine of my day, because it prepares us to get the next day started calmly. Again, the children all have theirs, which takes about 45 minutes (including a bath) and I have mine, which is a little more involved and takes about 1.5 hours (not including my bath... but I am working through mine as the children do theirs).

My Before Bed Routine is kind of my morning routine in reverse. It starts right after supper and looks like this (My husband gives the children their baths, Bless him!) :

Wash Dishes and Put Away
Swipe Counters
Take out Trash
Swiffer Floors
Put dish towels in dirty clothes and set out fresh ones.

Living Area
kids pick up toys
Fold afghans
Spray Febreze on furniture and curtains
Swiffer Floors

Laundry and Hallway

Put Laundry to Bed (Fold and Put away last load from the dryer, empty lint trap)

Gather up dirty clothes/put in washer/ measure detergent (so I just have to press a button in the morning!)
Hang up Kids Clothes for tomorrow
Swiffer Floor

Evening toiletries
Put out fresh towels
Check toilet paper and replace if necessary

Clear off desk
Lay Out tomorrow school supplies
Check email, Facebook, and Blogger (another 15 minutes


Lay out tomorrows clothes and shoes
Light a candle or put out fresh Smelly-goods
Read or Watch a Movie with Josh

Obviously, I don't get to do my Before Bed Routine straight through most nights, but I know when I enter a room, what has to be finished before I leave it again! Again, it's all become habit at this point!

It works pretty well for us! I love being able to keep the house cleaned "15 minutes" at a time! I love being able to sleep at night knowing that I already know what I have to get accomplished the next day and knowing that I am already off at a good start, regardless of whether I get woken up at 2 in the morning with a child and his achy ear, or whether my SIL calls at 9 in the morning, 5 minutes from our house. I love being prepared for whoever shows up or whatever life throws at us!

It's great!

Wanna check out more scheduling ideas? I know I love reading them! Go here and add your two cents worth!


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