One of the skills in the structure pillar of the Three Pillars of Thriving is automation – making a decision once and having it happen over and over again. We can apply this principle to our weekly schedule.
When we sit down and create a template of when we do things every day throughout the week, we can refer back to it with many decisions already made.
Every quarter, I like to sketch out our current weekly rhythm or schedule. For years, I’ve done this on a piece of paper, but now we’ve added a two-page spread every quarter into the Thriving in Motherhood Planner for easy reference!
In this week’s video, I’m going to walk through my process for setting up our weekly schedule. This exercise is called an “Ideal Week” – which I really struggled with as a stay-at-home mom with lots of young children. It seemed like there was nothing ideal in my life, starting with the lack of sleep! I’ve adapted the concept in an empowering way for me as a mom, and it doesn’t require me to have it all figured out yet.
How To Set Up Your Weekly Schedule
Step 1: Write down your anchors. For me that’s our three meals during the day and quiet time. These happen no matter what.
Step 2: Write down what’s on the schedule. Church activities, music lessons, sports practices, library story time – what are your recurring appointments for the next few months?
Step 3: Write down your essentials (there can’t be a lot of them) for you and your family. Pair these essentials with an anchor. For us, that is scripture study at breakfast and my morning routine before everyone wakes up.
Step 4: Write down what your days currently look like. Write down things as they are (in pencil). This isn’t supposed to be ideal but reality.
Step 5: What is working well? What isn’t working? Use this to make 1-2 tweaks that involve your kids and another 1-2 that involve you.
Step 6: Write down the essential things in the “puzzle pieces” section you want to have happen every night, but maybe not at the same time. For me, this is a time to record a podcast episode, have a date night, or have someone over for dinner.
This is something that is going to develop over a period of YEARS, but making a few tweaks every quarter adds up to big things! I started with just figuring out what our mornings look like with young kids. Each day had a different activity: library, grocery shopping, nature walk in the woods, meeting friends at the park, and home projects.
As we started homeschooling, we built morning routines to get to everyone’s schoolwork. We made bedtime routines for the kids to get the next element figured out. Then, I focused on developing a good morning routine for myself and the kids (the 6 am – 9 am window). This included getting the kitchen cleaned up after breakfast as well as getting us ready for the day.
We then added some structure to our afternoon hours, getting dinner ready ahead of time and resetting the house. Finally, I added some structure to the household management and cleaning and assigned certain tasks to certain days. Now, I’m working on creating a bedtime routine that gets me set up and even ahead for the next day.