Part 3: The Actual Calendaring Part
1. Set aside a regular time each day (at least once) to update your calendar and your master list.
2. When updating your calendar, start with scheduled appointments and events because that’s straightforward.
3. Add already established routines, if any – like if you can get up before the kids and have a cup of coffee. I’m a hot mess so I don’t have any such thing.
4. Add in that one new habit you’re working on. It should be the same approximate time every day. Try tying it to something you already do, like brushing your teeth.
5. Next, add 1-3 most important tasks for the day: can be laundry, getting an oil change, or spending focused time with your kids – whatever thing you know needs to get done, but regularly gets postponed. Use your master list to come up with these tasks. Try not to overschedule yourself, but it’s okay if you need to push things to the next day. Just be honest.
6. This is your base calendar for the day. These are the only things you set actual reminders for. If you get all these things done, plus feeding and clothing yourself and your kids, then you’re a superstar.
7. Block a couple hours at least once a week for spontaneity, and use it to get out of the house and do something a little different. Treat this time the same as an appointment. Don’t let it get eaten up by general household tasks.
8. Block some time to yourself every week when you know you have help with the kids. Remember you need time for work, for your social life, and just for you.
There are a few things to keep in mind here
- There’s still a lot of open time, but that’s intentional, in case you need to move things around. When things go smoothly, use that time for cleaning, teaching, playing, or just relaxing because you can look right at the calendar and see you have nothing else to do.
- Give yourself more than enough time for transitions
- Use your ideal schedule from step 1 to fill in the blanks if you find some magic extra time and need ideas of what to do. Don’t waste energy trying to come up with ideas. What does your ideal you wish you were doing at that time?
- When you do something that’s not on the calendar… Put it on the calendar! You deserve credit!
- Drag and drop your calendar events to show when you actually did what and how long it took.
You can see here that the baby woke me up early so all the morning stuff moved earlier, and then his appointment took longer than expected which wrecked some of our evening plans. Also some of the colors are different because this is my actual real calendar…
- Don’t ignore reminders. Reschedule or delete the event. Take some action on the event even if it’s just 10 seconds to pick a different time to look at it. Thin out your list if you find you’re scheduling too much.
- Color code, if that’s your thing. I love my color coded calendar!
If you search for “time blocking for moms” you’ll find some other blogs addressing a similar idea as this series, but in a little bit of a different way. If you find this system not quite working for you, check out the post from the Simply Organized Home where she explains how she breaks up the day into chunks. I think I’d find myself trying to push everything back to the last minute, but for someone who needs the flexibility but doesn’t struggle so much with procrastination that could be great!
Most of the other blogs who address this talk about how to use a paper planner. And the thing is that I love writing things down to sort out my thoughts, but for keeping a flexible calendar, I strongly recommend using a digital calendar. I particularly recommend Google calendar just because that’s the one I know how to use. To keep things flexible, you need to be able to move things around, and if you’re using paper that’s going to take way too long. When I have to tend to the young Wolf, it takes me literally less than a second to reschedule a task for later in the day.
Whatever you do, don’t fight reality. Accept what is and work with it, not against it. I say this as I curse out loud about my baby waking up when I’m right in the middle of trying to work on blog stuff. It’s definitely easier said than done, but you have to surrender to reality. The first step is just to acknowledge this goal and remind yourself when you feel yourself fighting. Take some breaths and just be mindful.
Let me know if you’ve tried calendaring for stay-at-home parents the Nerdish way. How is it working for you? I’m still pulling my master list together (as you may have noticed from my screenshot) but I’m getting a lot more done this week so far!
Hit me up in the comments or on Discord!