Unplanned Time Sounds Great But Usually Ends In Disappointment
I think floundering is one of my biggest challenges. When I have direction, when I know where I’m going, I’m like a moving train – I’m on a track there’s momentum. Watch out!
It’s when there is no structure that it’s hardest. Weekends and summer days – with so many possibilities but nothing mandatory – are the perfect recipe for indecision and wheel spinning.
I’m slowly chipping away at these places in my life. I’m so much happier when I have an idea of how my time will be spent, even if it’s relaxing, and that my people are onboard with that.
They’re happier, too.
Planning Isn’t Easy for Me
The tricky thing is that planning doesn’t come naturally to me. I have to plan time to plan if that makes any sense. Plus, planning usually needs to happen at night when I’m tired, so I don’t want to do it.
Usually, planning involves a convo with hubby about the week’s logistics, what we’re eating, and anything unusual that we need to squeeze in. We’re remodeling our basement right now, so there’s always something related to that that needs to be planned into our lives as well.
My kids do better with a plan, too, I’ve noticed.
I made up something we call Nightly Notebooks at our house (I like alliteration lol) for our kids, and it’s actually been helping me manage these unscripted long summer days. Basically, each kid has a notebook with a page for each day’s schedule.
While we eat dinner the kids fill out their plan for the next day. I consult my calendar and let them know of any scheduled things we need to squeeze in. My girls do allergy shots, so I’ll let them know if that’s happening the following day, etc.
We’ll put down a “ready time” – a time goal for them to have their morning routine completed (breakfast, dressed, teeth brushed, etc) followed by 20 minutes of reading, 10 minutes of room tidying, and a mom-job (vacuuming, dishwasher, window sill wipe-outs) that I give them specifics for at that time. After that, we fill in anything else we have planned for the day and discuss how our time will be spent. Especially when or if there will be screen time or if I need to work in my office or the babysitter will be coming.
Sometimes they do their mom-job the night before just to get it out of the way! We tried to use those cool “before you can have screens” printables floating around on Pinterest but they just weren’t flexible enough for our ever-changing summer lifestyle.
Could This Be the End of Nagging??
I’ll check in with them about their notebooks during the day occasionally but for the most part, they follow the list. Now I don’t have to bug them about packing a bag for the pool before they go out and play because they’ve already done it. They know we’re getting in the van at 1 pm and leaving the pool at 4:30 pm. I almost can’t believe the transformation that’s happened in our household. So smooth.
I’m claiming 95% success with our first week of doing the nightly notebooks. The kids like knowing what to expect and having a part in planning their next day. They like the autonomy of getting things done on their own, without me micromanaging or nagging them along the way. I like that, too! And I’m hoping this instills a forward-thinking mindset in them as they get older, and a skill they can use for the rest of their lives.