SCHEDULING + TIME MANAGEMENT METHODS
I think the biggest struggle as a business owner AND a Homeschool mom is scheduling and time management. The reason this is the hardest element to tackle is because EVERYONE is different. Every family is different. As a result, everyone has a different idea or method that they follow or attempt to implement. Key factors to consider when it comes to scheduling are the natural rhythms of your family, the type of business you own and whether it requires you to be “available” during standard business hours, the ages of your kids and level of independence, as well as when you are at your best! Today, I’ll be looking at each of these factors and sharing my scheduling + time management methods to help you conquer your schedule and increase productivity!
There are plenty of other methods, like block scheduling, that sound great in theory; however, when it comes to actually applying that method, it gets tricky because of all these factors mentioned above. The method of batch scheduling can be applied to any scenario though! Whether your kids are preschool age or high schoolers. It easily blends with you and your family's natural rhythms.
Your Natural Daily Rhythms
First, before I dive into the method of batch scheduling, I want to encourage you to embrace your family’s natural rhythm. For the longest time, I fought against my own natural rhythm and our family's regular ebb and flow. As a result, everything suffered, or at least wasn’t functioning properly. Today, I want you to give yourself permission to work in whatever way and time works best for you. If you are a night owl, and your brain just functions better when the world is dark and quiet, then do it!
I think as moms there are some things that are just assumed to be the right way. It’s almost like we have to “de-school” ourselves when it comes to schedules. In the same way, school doesn’t need to be completed between 8 am - 3 pm, work can happen outside of the typical 8 am - 5 pm. For example, it is common for moms to get up before their kids to work or have quiet time. But, what if mornings are NOT your thing and you know you’ll just end up hitting snooze 8 times? It is simple; don’t do it.
Just because other moms wake up before their kids doesn’t mean you have to. The key is finding your method, when you are most energized and productive. Pay attention to those moments in your day, when you are really feeling motivated to tackle a work project or task. That may be an indicator of your top productivity zone.
Your Kids' Natural Rhythms
The same scenario can be applied to your kids and homeschool. Don’t fight them on their natural rhythms. The beauty of homeschooling is the flexibility we have. We are in control! While you might want to get the school work done in the morning, if your kids aren’t morning people and need time to wake up, two hours to eat their breakfast, or require activity to burn off energy before settling down and focusing, then don’t fight them on it. After much experience, when you fight your kids' natural rhythms, it typically ends in tears, at least in my experience. While it seems weird, or almost taboo at first, you can absolutely do school work in the evening. Remember, there are no rules except for the ones you set!
Batch Scheduling + TIME MANAGEMENT: What it is and how to implement it
Now for incorporating the batch scheduling method! Once you have thought about your work schedule, your family's natural rhythms, and all the other things factored into it, you then want to write down and divide your work tasks up into groups based on the amount of brain power and attention required to any given task.
Divide your tasks
The first group are tasks that require your full attention. Whether it is zoom calls with clients or sitting down to write, whatever the task is, it requires 80-100% brain power and full attention. Next, break out the tasks that require 50-80% focus and attention and are also productive. These are highly important tasks, but they also would allow for minor interruptions without frustration. Next are productive tasks that require less focused attention, in the 25-50% range. The final category are tasks that you can do with little to no brain power, and allow for frequent interruptions.
Schedule tasks based around your daily rhythms
Once you have those tasks divided, you start looking at your schedule and see when you have time in your day to have focused and intentional time to knock out those work tasks that require your full attention and are highly productive. For example, if after lunch your kids have some quiet time, or you have an hour to kill sitting in your car while one of your kids is at a sport practice, use that time intentionally to complete those tasks requiring your full presence and high brain power.
Next, look at those other tasks that require attention, but allow for interruptions. I know when I am trying to work on an intense project and am constantly interrupted, I am not my best self, HA! In order to limit the frustration, rework your day, so you are working on those less intense tasks during those time periods where interruptions are frequent.
The final group of tasks are those that require little brain power. These are tasks that you can complete in between helping kids with assignments, or when you are winding down watching tv at the end of the day. In the alternative, maybe your brain isn’t firing on all cylinders first thing in the morning, then save those tasks for the morning hours.
Batch Scheduling and Homeschooling
Whatever your situation and family looks like, you can batch your tasks to fit into your day and schedule. The same method applies with your kids and homeschooling. Fill in your schedule with times during the day that are 100% attention focused on your kids. Even if it is only 15 min chunks throughout the day. During those times give your kids your 100% full attention. Then once you have poured into your kids fully for those 15 minutes, they are more likely to allow you time to transition into work stuff easily. You can adapt this method for your day by changing up your tasks to match the energy and flow of your day.
Batch Scheduling and Time management for every season
Batching your work tasks also helps on those days or weeks when your schedule is a little out of whack. We all have seasons of life where it feels like all we do is drive to doctor’s appointments, specialists, or extracurricular events. Batch scheduling can still help on those days, but it requires planning and being intentional! During those weeks, it might be more helpful to look at the big picture for the week. In the same way there are natural daily rhythms, there are weekly rhythms as well. We have certain days of the week that are more crazy and busy than others! Take that into consideration when you are batching your tasks too. I know sitting down to plan out how this will look may seem overwhelming, but once you start applying this method, productivity will increase naturally.
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way to schedule your day. As I mentioned earlier you are in control of both your business and your homeschool. Some days math gets done at 7p.m. and that is okay because it works for our family and our daily rhythms. Whatever works best for you is what you should do! Don’t compare yourself to other homeschool moms or homeschool CEOs, and don’t fall into the belief that there is only one “right way''! Give yourself grace, and know that eventually you will find what works best for your family!
I’d love to hear from you if you are currently using this method and how it is working for you and your business! Leave a comment on the blog or comment in our Free Facebook community!