I am not sure who originally coined the phrase make a plan, then work your plan, but that thought combined with, 'You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit' is a recipe for a productive day.
I am not a natural born organizer, nor a naturally good steward of my time. It's work, effort on my part. I do not like schedules. Usually within days (sometimes minutes) of making one a chronic medical condition will rear its ugly head, someone will get sick, a water heater will quit....something, somewhere will happen to blow that schedule off its hinges. What then? How do I steer a ship that seems destined to pull us off course constantly?
Routine and rhythm. My two new favorite words. I have three main areas that I need to get stuff done in daily, six days a week. Hello Mornings Routine, homeschool/housekeeping, and exercise. I will start with homeschool/housekeeping and address the other two at the end,
So how do I begin building our rhythm? We start with something that happens everyday....we wake up. That's my first hook. On that I hang a routine. Get up, get dressed, brush hair & teeth, make bed spot etc; We practice the tasks in the same order, over and over until the habit is formed. One day it takes twenty minutes, the next an hour. It doesn't matter the amount of time, just that we get them done each day in the same order so that a habit is formed. Next we eat breakfast. That's another hook. On that I hang feed/care for pets & chore. After breakfast each kid needs to check their pets' food&water, and each day complete their chore. I have five main things that need to get done daily. Laundry, floors, pickup, dishes & counter tops. I took five index cards and titled each from above, on the back I listed the specifics associated with that task. For example laundry includes : sorting, start/maintain the load, switch to dryer, then fold and place in the person's basket or hang up in closet, and finally clear the dryer lint. The laundry cannot be completed if all tasks are not done. On each card I color coded each kid's name and beside it wrote the day of the week. So on Monday kid number one has laundry chore, Tuesday floor chore, Wednesday pickup chore, Thursday dish chore, and Friday counter tops chore. Since I only have three kids I won't have help everyday (for me this wasn't an end goal) but they will be practicing one aspect of keeping house daily (this was my end goal).
Next we gather at the table. This is another hook. We have table time. If you aren't familiar with table time, might I suggest the blog Morning Time Moms as a place to begin? Then take her awesome ideas and bend them to work for you and your kids. This is our Bible time, memory time, and any extras. Next I block off my three kids and work one on one with each of them in the same order. We tackle math and language arts. Two go before lunch, one after lunch.
After the last block of one on one, we are ready for a break.
We hang another hook here and have DEAR (drop everything and read -audiobooks count too!) and then exercise. After this we have tea time & poetry (aka snack), I hang on this peg poetry, read aloud, subject of the day. Then it's time to breathe. Free time for them, dinner prep for me. Dinner time at the table, baths and showers as needed, read aloud or quietly and then my favorite moment....bed time!!!!
Some days we don't get it all done, that's ok, we begin again the next day and try again.