Routines and Schedules

I am a routine person. I also like schedules. I would define a routine as a plan and method for doing something. A schedule is the timing for doing that something. From how I organize my day to how I put on makeup. I like to study out the task, find what I think is the best way to accomplish it both in timing and method and then repeat it in the same way every time I do that task. Some family and friends tease me about being a bit OCD and when under stress I wouldn’t argue with that label. But the majority of the time I’m pretty even-keeled. However, I do prefer routines and schedules for several reasons:

  1. Efficiency and Effectiveness: when you need to do something, having a plan for your timing and method makes it easier and generally you will do it better and in less time.
  2. Memory: I just do not remember things as well as I used to, but for my routines and schedules they become habits so I can do them with little or no thought.
  3. Stress: when you have a plan, especially ones that have become habitual, it lessons worry and anxiety because you know that thing will be taken care of and most likely in the best way possible.

I’ve seen the benefit of having routines and schedules especially after becoming a wife, then mother, and now a homeschooling mother. When I was just taking care of myself I did have many routines and schedules because I liked to be efficient. Once I married, I saw how melding myself and my life with another person would create new but even more important routines and schedules so that we could accomplish our goals as a team. Then when children started joining our family routines and schedules became not only a source of accomplishment but I began to see them as more of a necessity.

Kids sleep, eat, learn, and interact better when they have people and things that they can count on. Routines and Schedules create security and free up their minds for learning and growing rather than anxiety and worry.

After several years of homeschooling I’ve seen routines and schedules as even more of a necessity. Now they help me fit in the many tasks and responsibilities that are necessary to keep our family progressing towards our goals. While preparing for a new school year I always try to create a list of the things I feel need to be accomplished and how I feel is the best way to accomplish it, both in regards to schooling and family life. I also create a schedule of what I think will work best. Then I try to plan things out even more detailed on a monthly and weekly and daily basis, in that order.

Do we always follow these plans and routines and schedules? No, of course not. There are bumps in everyone’s lives and also sometimes things/changes or needs will come up that I had not thought of, or anticipated. In our family I have seen a pattern of about every three months needing to revamp a few things or sometimes completely some of our routines and schedules. But if you begin with a plan outlined it is much easier to revamp than if your coming from ground zero/clueless.

Are there any downfalls to routines and schedules? I think so. Here are the ones that I’ve found I need to watch out for:

  1. Flexibility: if you are so concentrated on accomplishing things in a certain way and in a certain amount of time that you cannot stop to smell the roses, listen to your spouse/child, take an opportunity that is even better for you and/or your family in the long run, then you have become the slave rather than the master.
  2. Needs: if you are too set on doing things in a certain way at a certain time then you may miss signals in yourself and others that perhaps this isn’t the best way or best time to do that thing. For instance, one thing I do not do on a “schedule” is feed my babies. We do have routines and they usually find their own “schedule” but I do not time feedings, I feed them when they are hungry.

Despite the possible drawbacks I am still very much an advocate of having a plan. Routines and schedules help you accomplish what you need and want to in (usually) the best way possible and help you avoid worry. Also, in terms of family life they provide a calmer and more secure environment so that families can flourish rather than just survive.

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2 thoughts on “Routines and Schedules

  1. I also thrive with structure and routine in my life. Unfortunately we live overseas in a culture that has challenged me to be more flexible as plans often (dare I say always?) change last minute and nothing (and I’m not exaggerating) ever starts on time. One might think that I have lived long enough here to have gotten used to it or not be bothered/frustrated by these cultural differences, but one would be wrong. I am a planner at heart and still get frustrated when my plans cannot be executed the way I envisioned. But I’m trying to be more flexible and I think I have maybe come a little way (a very very little way).

    1. Hang in there! I’m with you! We also live abroad, and in the various cultures we’ve encountered “structure” definitely takes on a different picture. Also, my husband comes from a culture with a more laid-back perspective on schedules and structure, but between the two of us I think it helps strike a good balance for our family. I think it has been good, for me especially, because I tend to be too routine at times. Also, it helps my children be more tolerant and learn to lead, as many of their friends do not live with limits.

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