Monday, September 26, 2011

Shortcuts to Make Life Easier

As Steve and I begin to feel our way through this new life, we have come to realize there are some changes that are necessary for us. I have already discussed our role changes, but we need more than that.

We have always kind of lived by the seat of our pants. We went to work, ate dinner and then did what we felt like. There was really no structure or rhythm to our days. We both had our personal schedules but, more often than not, they did not sync with the other person's. So, whoever was more adamant about his or her schedule won.

With Steve not driving and not being able to do a lot of the "heavy lifting" around the house, a more structured day is necessary. At first, we attempted to just switch schedules. I gave Steve my chore schedule and told him when laundry needed to be done. For my part, I tried to fit my work day in his 9-5 schedule. That bombed almost immediately, and we went back to relatively unstructured days. Everything suffered.

Yesterday, Steve planned a two hour trip without really consulting me. Oh, he told me about it, but it was more a "I may plan this trip" kind of conversation and it was never brought up again. Imagine my surprise when, on the way home from church, he said. "So, if we leave at 3, we should be home at a reasonable time." My day was completely shot.

One good thing came out of the trip -- we had two hours of uninterrupted (well, as uninterrupted as you can get with two kids in the car) time to talk. And, we were both in the mood to talk, not argue. As we talked, I brought up some of the time management skills I have learned by reading sites like Life As Mom and Money Saving Mom.

I mentioned the idea of running our household like a business. This is something I try to do anyway, with my budget and household "notebook", but I've never included Steve in the "business". He laughed initially, but then he thought about it and we decided to try it out.

We decided that we would sit down on Sunday nights or Monday mornings, at the latest and have a meeting. We would discuss what appointments we had personal goals for the coming week. That way we could determine how to get the time to fit everything in. We also quickly decided that there would be no more "unplanned" adventures. Little things could get added here or there through the week, but large trips, purchases and time sucks would have to wait until the following week.

We also decided to implement a morning and night routine. We already had one in place, somewhat, when it came to getting the kids ready for school in the morning and bed at night, but it was still slightly chaotic.  In the evening, all of the dishes are done, the kids get baths and all morning necessities including clothing, lunches and any money needed are assembled. In the mornings, Steve and I wake up in time to have a cup of coffee without the kids and then the kids are dressed and taken to school.

We put most of it into practice today, and things went well. I got a little upset because I couldn't find some stuff this morning, but that's another aspect of "Operation Household". Tonight, the house is neat, everyone is calm and things are ready for the morning. Steve is even sound asleep. Something that doesn't usually happen to the wee hours of the morning.

I'll let you know how we hold up. How do you manage your time? Any special tips?

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