COVID-19 is here and you’ve found yourself suddenly trying to work from home, homeschool, and take care of the daily household tasks. I can 100% empathize. Honestly, working from home is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done as a mom. Trying to make a daily schedule that includes taking care of little people, home, homeschool, and work? It really seems there isn’t enough time in the day to do that. And kids never like to comply with what “needs to be done”.
As hard as it seems, it can be done. And it can be fulfilling. It’s pretty much all I’ve “known” the last 10 years. Given the current situation with the COVID-19 and many finding themselves suddenly quarantined I thought I would share some of my favorite methods to make a new daily schedule for working from home, homeschooling, and keeping that house clean in the weeks to come.
While these haven’t always worked perfectly for us with our specific needs (the Little Lady couldn’t ever really be left alone and currently our toddler is a push every envelope possible toddler) they have still helped me get a better grip on things.
And that’s what matters.
Getting right into it
My hands down favorite way to make a daily schedule is using the Block Scheduling System
I admittedly (kind of) cram all the other methods “into” this one.
This is my “foundation” schedule for the day.
I found block scheduling on Jordan Paige’s youtube.
Doesn’t everyone learn their most amazing life saving hacks on youtube?
No, just me?
Basically, rather than trying to fill every 15 minute or hour block of your day with specific tasks you take larger 2-4 hour “blocks” to group certain kinds of tasks.
Many of you have probably seen this schedule come through your facebook
Jessica (the photographer that made the schedule for her own family), did an amazing job with this.
This routine is clear and has space for school and chores. There isn’t work time listed specifically on this but I would assume one would try to work during quiet time… That’s when I would try to work, along with during creative time. (given your littles can be left a bit unattended).
For some, this kind of schedule will work great.
For others though,*cough cough* me, it could be a bit rigorous and gives little room for the normal everyday fires that happen when you have a whole family at home every day….
Especially when trying to work yourself.
At least for me and my monkeys.
I tried a schedule like this once…. I experienced a lot of frustration and feelings of defeat. Things always took me longer than my allotted time (they still do) and before I knew it I spent most of the day just trying to survive vs. actually getting anything done.
This is definitely something you don’t want in a time that’s already difficult.
In full transparency: we’ve been in putting out fires, survival mode, since moving. It’s not fun and I’m ready to get back to some order in the day myself.
For Block Scheduling
You block out longer time frames, at minimum 2 hours but more like 3 or 4, and in that you list tasks you want to get done in that block. No worry about the order. Just grouping the same type of tasks together.
I have a:
Morning routine, simple activity for the kids, outside time. I want my morning block to have my attention on family. Slow. Relaxed. (please note the slow and relaxed part rarely happens as our toddler is currently very toddlerish… he’s crazy y’all).
Prep, cook , eat, clean up. Since The Little Lady has a restricted diet and daily supplements she takes, lunch isn’t usually a quick/no cook option. Sometimes we do have leftovers so I’ll warm those up. Either way, I want adequate time for this block. No rushing.
Here is where I work and the kiddos do school or play independently. Most of the time when homeschooling you can make pretty good headway in just an hour or two. With older kiddos, you don’t have to do as many “teacher led” assignments either. With our littles, I might have them color at the table while I do computer work beside them. (This is actually how I’m writing this post today).
During this time I focus on house chores. This allows me to get the house ready for me making dinner and things not being a total wreck when The Husband and Oldest get home. This is my shortest block.
This one is pretty self explanatory. I try to allow myself enough time to prep-cook-eat and get some family time.
It’s during this time that we get the kids ready for & in bed. We also take care of any of my “night time chores” that don’t work as well when the kiddos are up. Our biggest nighttime chore is stuffing diapers…. (They wash through the day and aren’t usually done until mid-dinner).
Each block has it’s “like kinded” types of tasks.
The idea is when you’re in a block that is where your focus is. You don’t worry about work in the lunch block and don’t worry about tidying things in the work block.
I know that the day has atleast a couple of hours to tend to each kind of task.
Because of this, I don’t have to fret if a specific task takes longer than expected.
Or if my toddler decides it’s time for a 20 minute melt down.
This also gives a lot of leeway if one morning the kiddos needs outside time ASAP vs after breakfast & beds made.
I posted quite a few stories recently about us going outside beds not made and barely having had breakfast.
Sometimes it’s simply diapers changed, here’s a banana (or other grab and go type food), and outside… still in jammies.
That’s alright y’all.
Nothing wrong with starting the day with fresh air and messy hair.
Because I fail so bad at simple structured scheduling (like Jessica uses) I’ve taken three other methods and combined them with my Block Schedule.
To get the worksheets for these be sure to sign up now for my newsletter!
The first of these scheduling methods is for my work
Batch Scheduling Method
For the last year I’ve done Virtual Assistant work for a local non-profit home for women (Restoration House Ministries) along with the blog.
I initially attempted having a daily to-do type list for both but I had a very hard time switching gears… Even if within the same “company” but different task types.
It was then that I learned about trello (which is amazing) and batch scheduling.
Batching out my “same like” tasks to be done on certain days vs company helped my brain be “all in” whatever that day’s task was.
To lay it out:
This is my “first day of the week” so this was my planning day. I would check my work calendars and note the tasks I wanted to get done for the week.
I have meetings and appointments. I do not schedule meetings or appointments outside of this day unless it can not be helped. No appointments on Tuesdays, Fridays, etc. This includes phone appointments. I also run household errands this day…. I will usually order groceries Sunday night and pick up on Monday.
Of course, right now this can be a bit more difficult. I still recommend a specific day you make any outings to find the items you need. This way, you aren’t worried about the work you “aren’t” getting done because you’ve had to go multiple places to find your items. This also helps social distancing.
I do graphic design. This includes Facebook graphics, Pinterest pins, prepping blog images, and any other online marketing that requires me make some kind of graphic.
This is my “content creation” day. I write the content for any and all postings FOR the graphics I made Tuesday.
Truth is, I write for my blog posts all the time regardless of day. I love google drive for this because I can write on my phone and it saves automatically across devices (as a busy mom I rarely get a lot of set “sit down” time to write).
I make my postings on Thursdays. Blog posts are posted (except the last 2 weeks I’ve gotten them up Friday) and social media posts are scheduled/posted.
It’s Shabbat prep day and Catch up.
Whatever type of work you do, think about the types of tasks you need to do for that job. Can you “batch” task types together for specific days?
If you can, try batch scheduling!
It can be difficult to not pinball, but it’s worth it to push through and stick to the batching.
It greatly helps me stay efficient and quickly get through tasks.
For school, I found another scheduling method that worked best for us.
Loop Scheduling Method
Over the years I tried so many homeschool methods. We even went to unschooling for a period because we were just so frustrated.
I’m still a fan of unschooling, especially if you’re having more frustration than learning going on or in a crazy period like many of us are right now. Give everyone a break and cultivate the love for learning vs the “learning” itself. I promise, kids will still use their brain & grow skills!
For loop scheduling you order your subjects in a “loop” and just start at the first subject.
Do the work for that subject, then move to the next.
It’s okay if you don’t do every subject every day and if a subject takes longer than usually, that’s okay too.
I opted to loop in an “easy/liked” subject, harder subject, liked subject pattern.
This way the kiddo didn’t feel too fried doing hard/unliked subjects back to back.
An example order would be:
First day, start with English.
Work down your subject list as you can in the time you have.
If all you do is English that day, that’s okay. Tomorrow, start with Science.
Finish Science, move to History, etc.
Some days you may get through multiple subjects, others may be fewer. And if something like illness happens in the bunch, you may do no school at all.
The great thing about looping is, even if things get “behind” or the day is crazy, you don’t find yourself going through the whole week and never getting to a subject… Which can easily happen when you assign subjects to specific days or try to do all the subjects in a day when that just doesn’t work for your kiddo.
Doing what works for you and your child is vital for success.
Work the loop and don’t stress about the next thing till you’re there.
Lastly, while we’re home we should probably get on taking care of the tidying…
Honestly, even being home all day, I struggle in this department.
What better time than now to start implementing a new cleaning schedule though?
Zone Cleaning is the cleaning schedule that’s worked best for my daily schedule.
If you haven’t heard of FlyLady you can head over to her site to see some of the cleaning schedule hacks she has.
I haven’t adhered to her baby steps or decluttering (we KonMari’d for that)
But I LOVE her idea of cleaning by zone for the whole week.
Focusing on one room aka zone a week allows days for breaking down the tasks of that room/zone and not worrying if you’re not able to do it “all” in one day.
I remember early in my wahm days finding cleaning schedules that assigned a room/area for each day.
It was so overwhelming and mostly just ended up days behind, then weeks, then the schedule was forgotten about.
I still deal with ptsd and some days are just hard to be motivated. For those who utilize the spoon theory this is a good kind of schedule too.
Breaking the room down into a list of tasks and then spreading them out in your daily schedule over the week can really help stay on top of the surface level and deeper cleaning tasks.
Even if I don’t finish the room in that week, I know in just a few weeks I’ll be back in that zone to focus on it again.
No matter what area of daily life you’re trying to learn to navigate, give yourself grace.
It’s okay if some things don’t go smoothly. If the next few weeks you get minimal done and decide to just enjoy the family, that’s okay too. And… it’s okay if you flow right into a new routine with ease.
Whether you fall on the super organized or totally disorganized end of the spectrum, I hope these methods can help you make the best daily schedule for your family!
You may also like