Step 1: Prioritize Your Commitments
Prioritize your duties and create a rule of life for yourself then your family—a rule just like the religious orders have. Your household is like a little monastery. If yours is going to be peaceful it needs structure and discipline.
First think of your duty to God. Besides the family rosary, pencil in some time for private prayer, meditation, and spiritual reading. Your next duty is that of your state in life. That of wife comes next. Think about your relationship with your husband and make sure he is getting the attention he needs.
After that comes the duty of mother. Gentleness, consistency in discipline...a focus on child training...this and handing on the faith is a mother' basic duty. The next duty on the list is housekeeping. Are meals being prepared on a regular basis? Is the house a relatively clean and comfortable place? Is laundry being kept up with? Errands being done? Bills? Are the children sharing in these duties?
Finally and actually lastly is the duty as teacher. If all these things are not in order then having a homeschool schedule will be difficult to maintain.
The commitments of most women should look like this:
- Household chores and obligations
- Spiritual reading
- Homeschooling (or other career obligations)
- Good works (visiting the sick, volunteering)
Note: Teaching children to help out around the house is important. Besides keeping an orderly home, chores for children teach responsibility and self discipline. Following a schedule will allow you to nag less and will make chores more fun for all! Lean how to set up a chore schedule for children here...
Step 2: Sketch Out A Daily Schedule
The most important step to getting your life in order is writing down a rule. Start by grabbing a pencil and paper. Make a sketch of your day. Write down your usual waking time as well as your bedtime. Try to wake up at the same time each day and try to go to bed at the same time each night.
From there, pencil in your daily commitments and chores--your duties.
Now think food. Block out the times you will be eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pencil in snacks if you eat them or coffee breaks, whatever it may be. Pencil in hygiene, exercise and chore time for children. Before and after meal chores works really well. I like to keep in mind the motto: We'll work for food. This is a huge motivator for children. You can't eat until blah, blah, blah. It has not failed me yet.
At this point you have a skeleton outline of your day. Now for the fun...
Write in prayer time, time for spiritual reading, and meditation for yourself and a time for family devotions like the Rosary.
The basic outline of your day is now jotted down. Look at all your free time! Now block in your school hours or work hours. You can and will get whatever is important to you accomplished if you write it into your rule. Children's sports, music, time in the fresh air, time for yourself. You name it. It will fit if you prioritize then pencil it in.
Step 3: Try It On For Size
You may need to adjust your rule a little bit before you get a good fit. Try it for about two weeks before you adjust it however, because it takes about two weeks to develop a habit or change a behavior.
During that time, write down the things that you are slipping through the cracks or you find are keeping you from hitting your schedule goals. Evaluate those things and decide if they can be eliminated from your routine or delegated to some other member of the family. You may need to take a little time and go back to the first step of prioritizing.
As your life changes, your rule will change so make sure you continue to work through these three steps of getting your life in order as frequently as you need to. At first you may need timers and charts but it will become very natural to make adjustments. You will quickly get a feel for what works for you and your family.
A Beautiful Method For Getting Your Life In Order
You must be disciplined to stick to a rule of life. There are two things that really keep me sticking to my rule. First, it is a form of penance. Doing our duties is penance, I prefer this to more austere penancing. Second, I think to myself, "Sleeping in won't feel as good as having a smooth, peaceful morning," or something to that effect. Whatever the temptation may be, it won't feel as good as having a structured day.
This method really does get your life in order. The idea was developed by great saints who founded and restored religious orders. Catholics call it living by a rule of life. Protestants call it ordering your day. Secularists call it getting your act together. So now you can:
Order your day with a rule of life so you can finally get your act together!