Simplify For Fall: Routines & Schedules


I’m following along with the Life Your Way Simplify for Fall Challenge. Six days, six areas of the home to simplify. Here’s what I’ve already tackled: clothing & laundry room, toys, kitchen and meal planning, bedrooms and bathrooms and paper clutter and budgets.

Before having a baby I loved making elaborate schedules.

Workouts, meals, hours for writing, household tasks, all of it was listed on a packed Excel spreadsheet that I printed out and posted on the refrigerator. I set the bar high. The goal was to be super-productive for 16 hours a day.

I always failed at these schedules. I’d last the first half of the week and then slowly do fewer thing until I was eating takeout and watching “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant” at 10:30 pm – well past the scheduled bed time for a 5:30am wake-up.

Having a baby kicked the scheduling bug out of me.

Simplifying our life made it so that it wasn’t necessary to have a detailed list of all that we need to do.

Things get done. We make it to appointments.

Sometimes we skip our morning activity if Henry was up late and slept in. Sometimes I let the recycling go a bit too long. Sometimes the laundry is in a big pile on the kitchen floor on a Friday afternoon and I just scoop it up and decide to deal with it on Monday.

Life happens. Sometimes we don’t check everything off our list for the week. It’s okay. The world keeps spinning.

I like our lack of schedule. But I feel that with some life events and some new recurring writing deadlines I need a bit of the scheduling bug back.

Work Schedule & Routine

My work days are numbered and my list of projects is long. Henry will start going to extra daycare in September so I can put more time into a book I’m writing and keep up with freelance work.

I’m earmarking Mondays for freelance and book, Tuesday for blogging and book and Thursdays just for the book.

Is there such a thing as maternity leave for a self-employed writer? Sort of.

In early December I’ll wind down my freelance writing and either publish my book if it’s ready or put it on hold for a few months. I have an idea for a series I would like to run on this blog and hope to get a bunch of posts/interviews completed before December. While this blog won’t be offline there will be fewer posts for a few months as we get to know our new addition.

We’re extremely fortunate that my writing income isn’t needed to pay bills. Right now my income doesn’t factor into our monthly budget – it’s sent back home for extra mortgage payments.

I hope to take a few quiet months and then start back at work when the new baby sleeps. Please send me a good sleeper this time!

Blogger friends beware: I’ll be hitting a lot of you up for guest posts and interviews for my maternity leave. Happy to do post swaps too.

Home Schedule & Routine

Chalkboard, weekly print out or shared Google Calendar? What do you use to keep track of family routines and schedules?

So far we haven’t really needed a family schedule. We’re not that busy. I put appointments in my calendar on my iPod and the rest are so routine I don’t need a reminder.

I’d like a better visual for Chris and I to reference. Something in the home that we can tweak each week as things come up. Something Chris and my mom can reference in the weeks after the new baby arrives. Something that shows the days and times Henry goes to nursery, the drop-in we go to on Wednesdays and the class we go to on Fridays.

I’m testing out using this weekly printable calendar from Life Your Way and looking at chalkboards. Any ideas for me on simple weekly calendars you like and use?

Simplifying has created more work for me.

I’d like to say I’m done but, really, I’ve created more work for myself. My clutter eyes are open and I want to tackle our living room next. And I have lots of fall out tasks from simplifying. A trip to donate clothes and toys is in order.

Anyone else prepped their home and selves for fall and back to school?

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  • I don’t have a set routine at this point (we are doing a small remodel in my son’s bedroom, so routines have flown out the window while he is bedroomless). But we have son #2 coming in November, so as soon as we have #1’s room finished (2 wks, hopefully) routines are coming back into play. Hard core :)

    In addition to being pregnant, I am also diabetic (type 2, not gestational), so I have had a gazillion prenatal appointments to make sure we have no complications from that. I have used Cozi off and on for a couple of years, just for myself, but it has really come in handy to keep Hubby aware of my Dr appts during this pregnancy…b/c diabetic Dr also deals with other high risk patients, so I can’t bring #1 with me to appts, not even in the waiting room (they don’t want to take the chance that someone’s kid will pass illness onto a high-risk mom), so hubs has to be with him during those appts.

    • I’m pretty sure baby #2 will blow up some of our routines but I feel like the easily accessibly schedule is a must before this baby arrives. I’m terrible about asking for help and it would be easier to just tell my husband/mom to look at the schedule so they can chip in.

      Already feeling the ‘appointment overwhelm’ here and I’m two months behind you with no complications. I feel for you. Glad you’ve been able to make it work for your husband to watch #1. I’ve been using my scarce child-free work hours to go to appointments. Having Henry with me raises my BP and they seem to be running 30-60 min behind most of the time.

  • We like to keep things simple. Although, that doesn’t mean I don’t try complicating them here and there with a futile attempt at making it more creative, fun, or chic. Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this!?! Anyway, our current system is a Monday-Sunday Microsoft Word table with our daily routine listed from wake-up to bedtime. This hangs on the fridge. I have my Erin Condren Life Planner which holds meal plan, appts., etc. Hubby uses Google Calendar. I recently discovered that my two year old really enjoys lists herself– I guess the apple doesn’t fall far. So we’ve been using dry erase markers on our bedroom mirrors or an 8×10 glass frame sitting on the dining room table to outline (and cross off) daily routine for her. This schedule is the only one that I daily write out. It’s also a whole bunch of fun to simply erase and rewrite when the day needs some whimsy or redirection.

  • I swear by Google calendar. I have it colour coded – one per person and one for ‘income’ and one for ‘bills’. If it’s a joint activity with me and the husband, we have a shared calendar – put in the appointment and it automatically loads into his calendar and flags on his phone. It’s simple to edit, I can view it on my computer, phone, etc. Even on someone else’s computer if I need to!
    I love it for the ease of use but also because it makes life simple. If a day has multiple colours on it, I start to plan some down time afterwards. With two kids, two hectic work schedules, daycare, activities, holidays, etc., I don’t think I could live without it. I was also tired of having to remind my husband of things as he never thought to check a paper calendar at home. Works great!

  • Thanks for all your great ideas. I have 8 month old triplets and people were shocked that we have less things for the trio than they have for the one baby. Constantly trying to clean and eliminate items makes caring for trio a little easier. I am amazed at how many people think we need to upsize our house. No thanks

  • I’ve never been one for schedules at home, probably due to all the scheduling I had to do at work… however I’ve realised it’s something that needs looking at going forward in a more formalised way. Some days I am literally the ‘support vehicle’ that keeps the family running smoothly and for my own sanity I need to have something on paper!

    • Yep, I think this ‘support vehicle’ needs to offload the details somewhere central so others can pick-up the slack when I am spending most of my days nursing a newborn.

  • We use Google calendar for appointments or to put in when I need to do stuff for my sister’s kids who we are helping with as she finishes her education this year.

  • My husband are going through this right now. School has started up and we have 5 kids/4 at home. We are both self employed so summer is pretty free and easy- we worked out or did household shopping and chores whenever we wanted when my husband didn’t have appointments with clients. It is hard to get back into a rigid schedule. Two of our kids are already in school and the bed times have been much earlier now by quite a bit. So my husband and I have already missed workouts and feel pushed for time in the evening for dinner when 2 children start the bedtime march (hygiene, stories, and the routine) at 8pm as opposed to whenever. In the summer we might have been leaving the gym at 8pm.

    Over the Labor Day weekend- we need to sit down and be able to talk and compromise about child care and working- household duties, and when we can workout… the whole thing has to be mapped out and that is kind of hard to move into. I have been a minimalist for about 3 years now and have completely overhauled our house (clutter and consumption of things) and that aspect is great- but still struggle with the simplifying the use of time. Going to a rigid written schedule seems like going backwards, but I have realized that without it there are a lot of miscommunications and unnecessary fights about expectations and who was supposed to do what when we don’t have things written down and in our calendars online.

  • We have 2 calendar systems. The one on the kitchen wall is the Flylady calendar. It is big with HUGE squares for each day to write down appts/meals/egg count (I have chickens)/due dates for bills/whatever. I highly recommend it for the family to refer to.

    We also use the cozi calendar system. It’s an online calendar system that I can easily update while sitting at the computer with either individual appts (doctor) or on-going schedules (swimming lessons). It is linked to both my and my husband’s email accts for reminders to be sent to. AND with both of us having smart phones, we can access the calendar on our phones.

    Because I’m the stay-home, it’s my job to make sure everything that gets jotted on the wall calendar also gets input onto the cozi calendar. Since implementing this system, we haven’t missed any appts OR double-scheduled.

  • We did a major schedule overhaul this summer. We’ve been practicing for two weeks now but the real deal is necessary starting next week. Sure hope we accomplished at least 75% of our goals with it…although hoping for 100%, of course. :)

  • My SIL had a system I loved. They had a big whiteboard in their kitchen with a blank calendar page printed on it. They filled in the dates themselves. Each family member had a different color marker. So a quick glance at the board could tell you who had had something coming up. A notes section allowed you to add necessary details but it wasn’t unusual to see Post-It notes stuck on it, too. Recurring events stayed on the board from one month to the next but things like doctor appointments were erased as they happened. I was not part of that family but even I could glance at that board and see what needed to happen when.

  • I’ve always used a montly wall calendar as a master schedual. It was fun to find the one for the next year that would be our kitchen decoration for that year. If our appointments did’t fit in the 1×1 square—we were TOO busy. Then other than the laundry and dishes, I had one goal a day such as ironing, or vacuuming or toilets or mopping or grocery store. That is all I ever planned. The house wasn’t perfect but there was time for other things and at least I got 365 things a year done. We also chose to do one or two activities “deeply” rather than three or four or five superficially. That way school and violin and dance were mastered. It was simple parenting 90’s style.

  • Oh I used to be a schedule queen too. That is until kids, of course. The first three years were quite unscheduled. I used to keep a day planner in my purse/diaper bag and had a yearly calendar (usually one of those free ones) up. Now I just print out a monthly calendar that goes on the fridge and is generally color coded in different ink colors depending on the person. It works for us with one kiddo now in preschool, my side gig pet-sitting, and The Hub’s abnormal work schedule. We’ll see how/if this method changes as the boys grow older and get involved in more. Good luck!

  • We also don’t have a very busy schedule. I use google calendar for appointments and weekly commitments. I use notes in my phone for my cleaning schedule. We have a daily “schedule” based off naps and meal times. So we have what I call two blocks for the day, morning and afternoon (basically before and after nap) which I schedule everything into (I.e. appointments, story times, classes, running,etc.). Like you, I use to make crazy schedules… Now I have lots of flexibility in it.

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