Nothing is worse than coming up with the perfect schedule only to discover something keeps knocking you off balance.
If it’s not a dirty diaper, it’s a poorly timed phone call or a last-minute appointment. But you don’t have to live like that.
You can learn how to follow a schedule and save your sanity!
1. Talk to the Kids Ahead of Time
When you first begin to follow a schedule, it’s a huge change for your children. And they’re not going to know what you’re thinking and planning, so just jumping into the schedule and expecting them to go along with your changes won’t work.
Instead, you’ll need to talk to your children about the new schedule. What they’ll be doing. And what changes need to happen. Otherwise, your kids will rebel and accidentally sabotage your schedule from the get-go.
And as you talk to your children, let them know what perks will be in the schedule for them. Will it allow you to go see friends more often, give them more time for hobbies, or allow the family more field trips?
Give your kids concrete reasons to help you stay on schedule.
2. Turn Off the Phone to follow a schedule
Hopping on the phone or computer to check social media or email a friend will derail your schedule any day of the week! You know as well as I do that the one minute on social media will turn into an hour scrolling through your feed before you know it.
That email can wait.
So when you’re learning how to follow a schedule, stay off the phone and computers and stay focused on what your schedule has planned.
You’ll thank yourself for it later!
3. Set a Buzzer to Follow a Schedule
If you’re anything like me, it’s too easy to get bogged down by tasks and to-do lists. And you lose track of time. And the next thing you know. It’s two hours later and you’re totally off schedule.
Setting a buzzer helps you maintain your scheduling boundaries. The buzzer will go off when you need to move to your next scheduled event so you don’t need to worry about living with an eye on the time.
You put your entire mind to work on the current task.
4. Set Aside Time for Appointments, Calls, & Emails
I’ve found it helps tremendously to set aside time to call friends and to check my email. Otherwise, I’m constantly running to answer the phone or to check to see if anyone emailed me in the last five minutes.
Also, my family homeschools in the morning. A morning dentist appointment throws us so far off schedule for the day, that it’s hard to get back on track.
So one way I stick to my schedule is by making all appointments for the afternoon when I know they won’t derail my homeschool and household routine.
So schedule specific times into your day and week to deal with phone calls, emails, and appointments to keep them from derailing your schedule.
5. follow a schedule strictly
Another tip for staying on schedule is to be strict the first month. You’re learning a new habit and like any new habit, it takes time for it to actually become a habit!
So you’re going to have to be strict for a time. Follow the schedule. Give yourself grace when you make a mistake. But you’ll still need to be anal about staying on schedule so you can learn how to maintain those boundaries.
You will be able to relax as your family becomes used to the new routine.
6. Plan Fun After Work to stay on Schedule
Yesterday my kids begged to head down to the marina to look at the marine organisms again. But I had housework that needed to be completed. So they agreed to help me with my housework and then we’d head to the marina to check out the starfish, shrimp, and crabs for a time.
They worked amazingly for me!
The concept of work before play really does work. So if you’re having fun keeping your scheduling boundaries, try scheduling fun after work.
Head out on a field trip, spend time at the local park, or dance to music in the living room.
Everyone will enjoy spending some time playing after they’ve worked hard.
7. Allow No Exceptions And Follow the Schedule
Along with the idea that you need to be strict for the first few weeks, don’t allow any exceptions to your schedule. Don’t answer the phone when your sister calls to chat. Call back later.
And don’t sneak onto social media or send out a text when you know you should be focusing on phonics with your youngest child!
Because once you start giving yourself permission to make exceptions, you’ll lose the battle of maintaining scheduling boundaries.
8. Give Rewards for Following Your Schedule
Give yourself a treat at the end of each day you’ve maintained your schedule. It doesn’t have to be chocolate, although chocolate is awesome. It can be a walk, time watching your favorite show, or time to enjoy reading a good book.
You can also keep a success jar. Slowly fill a jar with a jelly bean or penny each day you stay on schedule. After a while, you’ll see the jar filling with your successes.
Another treat is to put an X on the calendar each day you’re successful and number your successful days. Track your streak of successes. When you have followed it for 100 days, you’re encouraged to keep the streak going.
It doesn’t matter what you use to give yourself a small streak for every success. The point is to reward yourself for your hard work.
9. Treat All Scheduled Events Like Appointments
Treat all scheduled events like appointments. We don’t intentionally skip doctor’s appointments or coffee dates with friends. So why are you skipping events in your life that are important just for you?
Instead, treat all scheduled events like appointments and expect yourself to be there and on the task at the appointed time.
You’ll find it much easier to follow a schedule strictly when you do so.
10. Give Yourself Grace
And most importantly, give yourself grace. It takes time to adjust to a new schedule or even to have one in the first place. Reward yourself for successes. Give yourself room to make mistakes.
Setting strong scheduling boundaries takes practice and time. You’ll find yourself setting an appointment at the wrong time or find yourself dealing with a crisis.
Eventually, you and your family will learn how to follow a schedule.
And your homeschool will flow smoothly as a result.