One of the most frequently asked questions that I get is what my daily schedule looks like. I will answer that today, but I don’t think it will answer the real question, which is, “How do you get so much stuff done?” The answer to that is a lot deeper than just telling you my schedule, so this post will be the first in a series on accomplishing more in your day.
This schedule is of course the ideal day. No day is ideal. I do my best to keep to this plan, but it never works perfectly. I have found, however, that since I decided on a schedule several years ago that I accomplish much more than I did without a schedule.
I have also found that I accomplish more if I am up before my children. That’s not always possible; I have early risers and sometimes they will be up before I am, or before I would like them to be. I used to have children who would be up at 5:20 every morning, and I found it really hard to get much done until I started getting up before them (which meant 4 am!) Those children have stopped waking so early now, though I do have 2 children who still seem to wake rather early most days.
I’m sure as you read, you’re going to be thinking, “Why doesn’t she do it this way?” or, “Why isn’t x, y, z on there?” This is an honest schedule. My house is far from perfectly clean at the end of the day. I could spend all day cleaning, but then I’d never get anything else done, and that’s not the way I want to live, either. So here it is!
4:45 Wake and prayer
4:50 Start a load of laundry to wash; if there is one washed from the night before, put that one in the dryer.
5:00 Drink a glass of water and read scriptures
5:10 Work online on blog
5:30 Shower and get ready for the day
6:00 Wake children who are still sleeping
6:05 Move laundry to dryer and put another load in the washer. Move laundry that is dry to couches for children to fold.
6:10 Put away large pots and pans. Encourage children with chores. Make bed and tidy bedroom and bathroom.
6:30 Brush girls’ hair. Start breakfast.
6:50 Move laundry from dryer that is dry to couches for children to fold. Move second load of laundry to dryer and put third load in the washer.
7:10 Plate breakfast
7:30 Encourage children with after-breakfast chores
7:45 Move laundry to dryer and put fourth load in the washer
8:00 Start school with children. Wash pots and pans
9:00 Move fourth load to dryer. Continue school with children
10:00 Take fourth load from dryer. Continue school with children.
11:00 Start making lunch
12:00 Encourage children with after-lunch chores
12:30 Continue school with children
1:30 Garden, make bread, sew, photograph, blog (usually one or two of these). Children’s nap time/quiet time in their rooms.
3:30 Snack time
4:00 Clean kitchen/wash pots and pans from lunch. Start dinner. Have Liberty start piano practice. Children’s playtime.
5:00 Work on dinner. Have children do before-dinner chores
5:30 Have Winter do piano practice. Continue dinner
7:00 Family Scriptures, songs, and family prayer
7:10 Have older children do after-dinner chores. Put pajamas on youngest child. If I have one that day, start a fifth load of laundry, or put the load in and program it to wash in the morning to be done before I get up. Tidy/clean bedroom.
7:30 Tuck children in bed
7:45 Work on blog and website
8:30 Spend time with my husband (talking, playing a game, watching a show on the computer together, etc.)
Bedtime sometime after that, but usually before 10:00
There are lots of things that aren’t on here. If I’m cooking a pot of beans, I’ll usually start that either while I’m making breakfast, or sometime between then and before lunch. Sometimes I’ll start caramelizing onions mid-morning during school time to have them ready for a soup for lunch, since they take 40 minutes to caramelize.
My husband and I will often (almost daily) talk about finances between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. while I’m making the bed and tidying the bedroom (he often helps me make the bed). He usually gets up and starts working at his desk in the bedroom right away. Later he’ll shower and go in to the office. We have family prayer with him right before he leaves. If decides to work from home, we’ll have it around 9:00 a.m.
If we are having leftovers for dinner (which is usually once or twice a week) I have more time to work on a project, such as sewing or gardening. It gives me 2 extra hours in my day if I have leftovers for dinner. If I’m working in the garden and the weather is nice, the children are usually playing in the garden near me. It’s harder to sew after naptime than garden, but I will occasionally be able to sew a bit then.
Summer is different, in that I’ll usually take a day or two a week and work in the garden in the morning (when it’s only 100º out!) while my husband makes sure the children do chores. He makes breakfast on those days.
We have school year-round. We take off extra days at Christmas, and on really beautiful spring and fall days. I’ll usually take off some pretty spring days to work in the garden and the children will have a picnic lunch on the grass in the garden on those days.
Saturdays are similar, but I don’t get the children up early as there is no school. I do still expect them to do chores.
On Sundays we go to church and chores are limited. I do not do laundry or major chores on Sunday. I also do not garden, sew, or make bread on Sundays. Sunday is a day of rest for us. I try to prepare as much of the day’s meals as possible on Saturday.
I know some of you are surprised that I use a dryer. Our dryer is natural gas. Our water heater, stove, oven, and central heat are also gas. My bill most months is around $33. The only loads I hang up are things that cannot be put in the dryer, which are usually 2 loads of delicates per week. Using the dryer saves me a lot of time as well.
My house is a one-story house. The laundry room is right off the kitchen, which I love. We set up the dining area right next to the kitchen. During school time, their schoolwork is done at the table. If they don’t need help for a few minutes, I can work in the kitchen. If they do need help, I am just a few steps away.
I don’t leave the house most days. When I do run errands it is usually at night after the children are asleep. Other times I will go in the early morning (while my husband stays home with the children and makes sure they do chores) or occasionally on Saturdays. If I have more than one place to go, I try to get them on the same trip, so I’ll do two or three stores on one trip out of the house.
When I am pregnant or I have a new baby (so every other year!) the schedule is a bit different, as I am sleeping more/nursing/changing more diapers.
That afternoon quiet time to work on projects is pretty important to me. If it happens and I get things done during that time, I feel good about myself and my day. If it doesn’t happen, I find that I feel a lot less satisfied. How well it goes depends on how well the children decide to nap/read/play without fighting or coming out of their rooms. If I don’t get planned projects done, you can be assured that that is what happened several days that week!
In a few upcoming posts, I’ll be talking about some ways that I try to maximize my time so that I can use it well. We all get 24 hours in a day, and I like to make the most of them.
Thanks for sharing! You continue to be a huge inspiration to respect and value all of our resources, including our time. I look forward to your next post, Brandy!
Like you I have always had a schedule, altho somewhat looser when the kids were home. Now I have a cleaning schedule, a gardening schedule and a weekly meal plan based on the protein of the day. Being retired makes it just too easy to procrastinate because “there’s always tomorrow”. My only question for you is do you do 4 loads of laundry every day except Sunday?
I am so excited about this series! Thank you for writing it!
You can also make caramelized onions in a crock-pot…http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-caramelize-onions-in-the-slow-cooker-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-193413I have done it many times and it works very well! I freeze them as well 🙂
I love leftovers too, not because they are always fabulous to eat, but because they save so much time. It is so much easier to double or triple a recipe and have it last for a couple days than to prep a new dinner everyday. Leftovers are our version of fast food!Isn’t Sunday wonderful? Keeping the Sabbath day holy is my favorite commandment. When I was in school (or when my husband was in law school) it was so great to have a day where you don’t even think about school or work. It really keeps your grounded and I think it’s healthy too.
I also get up at least an hour before the rest of my family during the week, which means I am up at five every morning. I shower, dress, prepare breakfasts and lunches, straighten the house, and start a load of laundry before I get my husband and teenage son up. It makes my morning and day go a whole lot smoother, especially since I am a morning person anyway. I tend to sleep in a little on Saturdays. I love my morning and evening routine. I want to focus on getting a weekly cleaning and gardening schedule in place so that I am not stuck deep cleaning the house all at one time! That is my goal this year. Thanks for the series. I am looking forward to it as always.
Thank you for these great tips! I didn’t realize carmelized onions could be made in the crockpot nor had I ever thought about freezing rice to save time. I’m going to try both of these ideas. Thanks again and God Bless! Andrea
Thank you for sharing your schedule. One of the most important parts of my day is also the time I get up before the kids to pray and reflect. I have a funny story about how I got into that groove as it did not come easily at first. I thought I knew my kids’ schedules and decided that I would get up at 6 and wake them at 7…then my littlest one decided she was going to wake up at 5:45 so I backed up my alarm to 5:30…then she started waking up at 5:15! I thought, “I guess I should stop backing up my wake-up time or I’ll get no sleep at all!” I felt so defeated because I was really hoping to “book-end” some time to myself and with my husband by utilizing the time in the evenings after they had gone to bed along with time in the morning before they got up. We’ve since gotten into a better groove and I get up at 5:30 now, but it was a little frustrating there for a while! I also homeschooled for 4 years until we had two deaths of loved ones within a month of each other. The second death was my son’s godfather who passed away the day before I was going to start school with them. Needless to say, that was a very rough year! I didn’t want their education to suffer because each day was different depending on how I was feeling so we limped through that year and enrolled them into our church’s school to start there the following year. This is their third year there and I’ve been grateful for the chance to heal and to spend some precious time with my littlest one. I’m starting to come around now and my son has asked to be homeschooled again. I will likely have my oldest daughter stay at the school one more year because it goes through 8th grade and then she can graduate from there and possibly come home for high school. The baby just turned 5 on the 11th so she could start Kindergarten next year, but I’ve loved having her home with me so much! It’s all in God’s Plan which I cannot pretend to know, but those moments in the morning are helpful to ponder all these things as well as get things off on the right foot (hopefully!). Some of your schedule looks similar to mine because I try to fit my housework and baking in before the “peak” hours start at 2 p.m. Our peak hours are from 2-5 p.m. and since I have a gas stove and dryer as well, I could technically start cooking dinner or finish drying a load of laundry since I’m not using electricity, but in the summer it’s hard to get motivated to do any of those things that will add heat to the house before I can turn the a/c back on! I try to get the house cool enough before 2 p.m. so it doesn’t run at all during the peak time, but sometimes it’s hard to wait that long! It’s definitely worth it to get some of this done before the heat of the day sets in, though. Thanks again for sharing! I look forward to the rest of the series. God Bless!
Hi, I thought I’d share a little something that I started doing since my kids went off to school. I still have one at home, but I’m able to get more done now that I’m not homeschooling right now. There are obviously things that need to get done each day as you pointed out. My list of “dailies” is like yours, “dinner, dishes, packing lunches, and laundry” with the additional responsibility of taking care of cat litter boxes (ugh!). Knowing that these had to get done everyday, I then made a list of the other things that should get done around the house for the exact same reason you mentioned—I didn’t want one day to be devoted to deep cleaning the entire house all at once. So, instead of reserving my household cleaning for one day, which seemed overwhelming to me and didn’t give me much time to enjoy my youngest being home with me, I do one “big” chore each day. On Mondays, I mop the hardwood floors after vacuuming (I found a great steam mop that is safe for them; a back-and-knee-saver!)—vacuuming is one that I do about three times a week because we live in a dusty desert!, Tuesdays is cleaning the kitchen (basically wiping down all the appliances, wiping out the microwave, shining up the sink and cleaning the stove), Wednesdays I dust and Windex in our formal area and our bedroom, Thursdays I clean the bathrooms (just 2, so not too bad), and Fridays I catch up on anything that needs touching up—and more vacuuming, Ha! The kids get out at 1:15 on Fridays so I try to make sure there isn’t too much else to do then. My husband does more of the outdoor chores, but I will water the garden if he needs me to or take care of things he didn’t get to. My son just started taking out the big garbage cans for curbside pick up and the kids are responsible for their rooms. They also help with some of the chores around the house if they are able. For example, they are big enough to help unload the dishwasher or put away dishes I’ve washed. Some things are too high for them to reach, but they do pretty good. My youngest daughter pulls the garbage liners (read: grocery bags!) from the smaller garbage cans around the house while her brother goes behind her to help put new liners in (he’s happy with this part, I think because the entire job used to be his!). My oldest daughter does her own laundry so that helps a little with my laundry duties. They are all responsible for putting their things away, of course. As Brandy had posted earlier this week, their chores need to be updated from time to time as they grow and are capable of handling more, but my schedule sometimes needs some freshening up, too, if only to keep me from getting into a rut, so I hope this helps you, too! God Bless
I think the concept of getting up earlier is great and am a little jealous it works so well for so many. My baby is a 2 year old firecracker and doesn’t sleep or nap well. Many nights I still get up between 2 and 4 times because children are up for one reason or another. That leads to insomnia after I get the child back to bed. Maybe as my children age I can do this. I love early mornings and the peace and quiet and sunrise. I know our family dynamics make for differences, but I try to work through them. I need to make changes in the house according to our college daughters schedules, since they help out, like my oldest giving violin lessons to the younger ones. Has to fit with her class schedule. And one of my favorite things to do is drop a load of laundry before anything else happens. Just feels so much more accomplished in the day.
This blog is such a blessing! I am in the first six months of being a full time homemaker and mom. I really enjoyed reading this post, as I have wondered how you get so much done! If you aren’t already planning to write about your modified schedule for those seasons with a small baby, I would really love to read about it!
Congratulations on your new job and your new baby!If you can shower in the morning (perhaps while your husband holds the baby) it sure makes the rest of the day go better. I also have a desk chair with arms; I nurse there and can read and print coupons while I nurse.My schedule is otherwise the same, as far as I can do it, but I have to start dinner an hour earlier because the baby usually wants to nurse right in the middle of my preparations.
I have different challenges than many but I am going to work on a schedule that “plans” for my problem with arthritis flare ups and migraines, helping both of my children, who have mild special needs and getting everything else done. I have definite windows of time during the day that are more likely to allow me to work alone and are more physically comfortable. I am going to really think about my goals. And write a schedule out by Saturday.
Dear Miss Brandy and readers,I am delighted by this series look forward to it with great enthusiasm. I am working on more home management myself for the New Year. Thank you for sharing.Anna
Thank you both! I love carmelized onions and I sometimes try to make them while I work and end up burning them. I’ll definitely be making a big batch in the crock pot and freezing them!
Your comment about showering made me smile because ending my day with a shower was the best thing for me when my babies were little! 🙂 It still is now that they are 8! I get to unwind from the day and can begin the day without having to worry about drying my hair so it doesn’t freeze in our MN winter weather (high of -3F today – brrr!).I guess the best thing is finding a routine that works for mother, baby and the rest of the family and do that! Lea
Extended family in one household can be very rewarding.
I’d love to hear more about how you manage when you have a baby on your hands. I am a first time mom to a 3 month old, who squawks every time she is put down. Needless to say, it’s hard to get things done at home! Also, I would love to hear about ways you save money with your babies. You mentioned nursing, do you cloth diaper? We nurse, cloth diaper, and shop at thrift stores for baby items, but I am finding that we spend more money on convenience foods because of my little Velcro baby making it difficult to get the cooking done.
When you have a baby so every other year . . . Um, are you making an announcement? 🙂
No announcement! But I have 7 children ages 11-1 and most are 18 months apart.
…and challenging, ha ha. Thank you for making this comment, Robert. It reminds me to try to be more appreciative and patient with my parents who live with us.
I always put the baby in a front pack, like a snugli…it worked for all of them if they were needing me to hold them, but I still needed to get work done. Swings can be very soothing too, if you have a swing.
I wondered too if you were expecting! 😉 Thank you for sharing this post… We have two new members coming into our household very soon. They are 9 and 7.5 year old boys. They have had several over nights with us and a whole week at Christmas…and they are up WAY earlier than I am used to. Our first three kids are 13,13 and 11…and because we homeschool we rarely get up before 8am! LOL… Well, the boys are up between 4:45 and 5:30 most mornings. They are medicated for ADD, Hyperactivity and both were born with fetal alcohol syndrome. There really is not a lot to be ‘done’ about them getting up early except to do the very best we can with their schedule every day. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself…but now I can see that it is just something that needs to be done. If you can get up early every day and not complain about it…so can I. I have enjoyed many years of ‘leisure’ and now it is time to put my nose to the grind stone. 😀 Thank you for your example Brandy. It means bunches to me. Really.
My mom says I used to get up at 4 am every morning and jump out of my crib when I was one! So I figure if they make it to 5:20 I’m doing much better 🙂 You can do this. When I started rising at 4 am before, I was pregnant with my 5th and my oldest was 5 1/2. Amazingly, I started feeling so much better, because I was up and showered before them (my husband was leaving that year for volunteer work at 5:20). I kept that schedule even after that baby was born because he was leaving that early, and that is when I finally had a good schedule (before I had none). It was so eye-opening for me and I am very grateful for it. You just have to go to bed earlier! I was going to bed between 8:00 and 8:30.
There is volumes of work, chores and just relaxation that can be achieved when everyone else is sleeping! I love my time in the morning before I wake the girls up for school. I shower at night which shaves off 25 minutes of getting ready between shower time, drying and styling my hair. It’s nice to be able to knock out laundry, read, quiet time for prayer, have some coffee or workout.
Thank you for this post! The link to the list of chores is no longer working. Is it somewhere else on the website?
I’m a little late posting but I just found your page. We’ve had a pretty basic schedule since my oldest was small. I like structure and I don’t do so well with major unexpected changes.
My youngest, who is a boy and 7 yrs old now, started Kindergarten in August 2013. Everyday for a month, his teacher would call, email, or send home a note saying he was in trouble. I had had enough and requested a meeting with the teacher and principal. My husband and I had sent 2 pages of questions for the teacher to answer before the meeting. What it boiled down to was he was misbehaving in the afternoon. He’d lay down on the carpet during reading time or get frustrated with another child. I had to laugh because for the first 5.5 yrs of his life he was on a schedule and he napped daily! He was having a hard time adjusting to going to school all day and without a nap. Even though I had tried to cut naps out the Summer before, it wasn’t working for him. The principal actually told me that having a child on a schedule can be detrimental because they don’t do well with change. There were days when we didn’t or couldn’t stick to it and my children were okay with it. It just floored me that she said that. We moved after that to a small community and he is doing fantastic as are my 2 older girls. We still have a pretty tight schedule and it works for us.
Good morning Brandy,
Your daily schedule is a blessing to me! I am on the other side of life now that I have just retired from nursing…2 years earlier than I had planned. I spent the last 2 weeks worrying about what I am supposed to do now. Emotions fluctuate from happiness and freedom to crashing with worry and self evaluation as “what I am I to do now?” But, staying close to the Lord’s word and praying has helped me to push through these emotions and God’s Peace has made His presence within me. I just read a wonderful devotional this morning Job 8:19-21. This was perfect! Behold the joy of His way….He is still in control. This devotional couldn’t have come at a better time. I am at peace knowing that my loving Lord and God is in control..I will be ok 🙂
Last evening I came to the realization that nursing does not define me. I had given such love and compassion to my job and worked hard in my profession for over 24 years. It has been difficult to come to a complete stop. There is so much more to my life than a job…God, husband, family, home. This is exactly where I belong now. I have so many opportunities to volunteer, new blessings of time. Then I thought, “what will I do with ALL of this new time?” Your wonderful website has been a blessing to help answer my questions..you have no idea on thankful I am to read your blogs and website. I decided to look into how you process your day~~ your schedule. Even though I do not have children living at home anymore, I found your schedule such a blessing on how to structure my day. To not waste it, to not over sleep, but use this day for the Lord and my home. So, I wanted to thank you soooo much Brandy~~ God has taken your experiences with your family and home to share, and have brought many blessings to me and so many other’s. 🙂
Have a wonderful day~~ and a very Happy Easter~~
Patty from the NW
I really admire how fastidious you are! We don’t have children yet, but I’ve started waking up an hour early every day to exercise, cook, and do morning chores. There’s nothing like coming home from work to a clean house! Making that extra time has really done wonders.