Hey! This is the second post in the homeschool blog hop I'm doing with six other wonderful ladies. Today's topic is about how one organizes one's day. This is an exciting subject for me because I like the idea of being organized.

I looooove new planners. Sticking to the schedules past a week or two? Not so good. Getting better!

I'm looking forward to looking into new curricula as my kids grow, but we're already pretty familiar with Sonlight. One of the reasons I enjoy it is that it uses lots of non-textbooks but it also tells you what to read from those books each day. It comes with a pretty detailed schedule already put together for you.

For now, though, my unit studies are sort of dictated by what's available at the library and what we already have on our shelves. School-wise, for preschool, I don't really write much down. I'm going to need to start keeping better track of stuff as we introduce more alphabet and number worksheets and projects, but for now we're just doing a lot of reading.

As for taking care of school, other needs that kids have, plus running a household, I've gone through several different systems. I've tried managing stuff with Google Calendar, printed pages in a binder, a spiral notebook, and what's finally ended up working for me is a nifty little Mac and iPod app called OmniFocus. We splurged on it a while ago when it was both (a) on sale and (b) helpful for my husband's graduate school work. But I've been using it too, with a separate account so we can keep our lists from being confused.

I also tried cleaning the entire house on one day, once a week, for a while, but that seemed to only work for a season. Right now, I'm cleaning one room a day (we have a small, five room apartment, so that works out well, ha). That includes straightening, dusting, vacuuming, and mopping (okay, technically, wet-swiffering). Other projects also get put on the list.

OmniFocus utilizes David Allen's GTD method from his book Getting Things Done (I haven't read this yet). One of the ideas is that you're more likely to tackle projects if you break them down into every single step and then work through that checklist rather than just having "clean out bedroom closet" on your to-do list. The "clean out bedroom closet" task would show up on your overview, but navigate to it and you'd have a sublist that might include:

  • pull all boxes out of closet
  • lay all hanging clothes on bed
  • take shoes out of closet
  • fill box with "homeless" items
  • pack away past-season clothes
  • fill bag with giveaway items
  • throw out any clothes past salvaging
  • scrub closet shelves

and so on. This system has been really helpful for me, because I tend to start projects with enough enthusiasm, but give up halfway through because they suddenly feel "too big." Writing down even the obvious stuff has given me a way to check stuff off my list and now exactly what to work on next without having to think about it or make excuses. The system is only as useful as my discipline, though, and that's a personal thing I've been working on recently.

Another thing that helps is menu-planning. I plan out even lunches and breakfasts. Even if I don't assign meals to particular days when I write it out at first, I've been making sure to decide before I go to bed at night what all three of the next day's meals will be so I'm not blindsided by: 4pm time to start dinner, last meal of week, happens to be a crockpot meal and meat is still frozen (!!!). (As a side note, if you're just getting into meal-planning, save yourself some trouble and learn from me: write down at least two easy meals. The enthusiasm of starting to menu-plan can lead to feeling super-adventurous and prepared and then you end up with seven meals that each require two hours of work and your toddler NEEDS YOU ALL THE TIME RIGHT NOW that week. Don't give up! Just go easy on yourself.)

School, right now, fits into my "to-do" list for the day because it doesn't take much time. I'm sure that things will change and shift as school requires a bit more time, but we'll deal with that when we get there.

So, that's how I'm managing stuff right now. What about you?

Don't forget to check out the other blogs posting about this today!

Clockwise, from top left:
Lorrie @ Life and Lessons LearnedSelena at Campbell ClanKathleen @ Positive Adoption,
Audrey (me!) @ Everything BeautifulCharli @ WV Urban HippiesTracey @ Building My House, and Maria @ The Joyfully Frugal Home