Through the years we had gotten better. Once we had our daughter Aizlynn, we almost didn't have a choice. I would say that by Aizlynn's preschool year we had developed a sort of "system" (if you can call it that) but it still needed tweaking. We would keep the house just "OK" during the week but then we'd spend almost two full days exhausting ourselves playing catch up. Sound familiar? We've gotten a little better then that in the past two years but, I still couldn't help but feel like we were not where we needed to be. Some days would be super productive and some weren't. Although Jeff has gotten much better at helping (and creating less messes) truthfully, I was still handling a little more of the work load and would feel overwhelmed. Another big part of me feeling overwhelmed was that I was still picking up after my six year old WAY too much when she's clearly old enough to start helping out. It just felt some days like we were going in different directions. I decided recently that things NEEDED to change around here. We HAD to make a family schedule and stick to it!
I want my home to run like a well oiled machine and I'm determined to make that happen! I did some research on ways to run my home efficiently, that way I could ensure that all responsibilities are handled without consuming every waking moment of my day and ensure that the workload was even between all of us. I sat down with Jeff one day and together we made our family schedule. We also agreed that sticking to it would be key and really committed ourselves to following it. We are now almost a full week into it and it's been working fantastically!
* Start with a to-do list- One of the best methods for keeping a family organized is lists. Each day you're going to face several household tasks, such as cleaning, cooking, paying bills, organizing incoming mail etc. so make sure to list these things and include ALL OF IT into your schedule.
* Analyze your priorities- Think of the tasks that you can eliminate or reduce so you can focus on your priorities and essential tasks. Prioritize your to-do list to ensure that those important tasks you've been putting off are taken care of.
* Keep weekly tasks consistent- For example, on our schedule, every Friday the stairs must be vacuumed and every Monday and Friday laundry must be done. That won't change from week to week.
* Delegate!- Written into the family schedule, each person is to be assigned their own specific task that they must stick too. Delegating eases your work load, helps tasks become predictable for everyone (no more need to nag!) and prevents tasks from becoming overwhelming.
* Get the kids involved- Delegate age-appropriate tasks to your kids. When you involve kids in the housework, chores, cooking, cleaning etc. In my opinion it helps to provide a sense of family unity and also teaches kids to develop good work ethics. We've written out a separate, kid-friendly to-do list for Aizlynn and put it on our refrigerator where she can easily see it. She's done a great job in sticking to it!
* Don't forget about free time- Sometimes we get so consumed in just getting things done that we forget about simply relaxing and enjoying eachother. Don't be afraid to include "family time" in your schedule like movie nights, game nights etc.
* Make the commitment!- There's no point in taking the time to create a great family schedule if nobody's going to stick to it! Once the schedule is made have a family meeting and discuss why it's important for everyone to abide by the new schedule. Make a deal with your family that everyone is to be kept accountable. There's nothing wrong with friendly reminders ;)
I'm not an expert on these things but, I do know that so far this has been working out great for us. I hope that what I've shared here will be helpful and I'd love to hear suggestions and tips from you too!