stay at home mom

Creating a Daily Schedule

We’ve been doing a lot of adjusting around here lately. Evelyn started pre-school earlier this month and though I’ve really enjoyed the little bit of break that only having to care for one child has brought it has really thrown a wrench into my daily schedule. Surprise! I keep a schedule! Okay, not a surprise.


Being a stay-at-home-mom and a hater of waste, a daily schedule is very natural for me. The kids are already on a schedule – they wake up at the same time, eat at the same time, nap at the same time and go to bed at the same time – everyday. It only makes sense that I integrate my own schedule into theirs.

Even if you’re not doing it intentionally you’re running on a schedule too. You wake up, go to work, eat meals and go to bed at the same time – everyday. All you have to do is expand on it a little. Is there a goal you’re working toward? A project you’d like to complete? A closet you’d like to clean out? Can’t seem to find them time? Schedule it into your day.

For me, I know that if I don’t do something to structure my day by the time I go to bed I’ll have nothing to show for an entire day of life. That’s not cool.

I’ve been keeping the same general schedule for the past year. It worked well for me. Unfortunately, taking Evie to school, having her gone most of the day and picking her up has upended my routine and now I’m not exactly sure how to most efficiently use the time she’s gone. I’m ashamed to say that instead of spending it productively, I’ve spent it at Target. Bad for productivity – worse for my wallet.

Since I found myself thinking a lot about my use of time, I thought it’d take this opportunity to walk you through the process of creating a daily schedule.

The easiest way to plan is to see everything laid out on paper. I always block my hours off using a worksheet that looks like this (for a printable PDF version click here).
Joni's Planner-long day.xlsx

Step 1: Non-Negotiables – Start filling in the things that must get done at very specific times. For example, Alvy’s nap is a non-negotiable so it’s the first thing that gets put on the schedule. Evelyn’s pre-school drop off and pick up are next to go on the schedule. Alvy’s weekly visit with his teacher of the deaf goes on there. Meals are next, then my workouts. These things are priorities. Yes, my workouts are non-negotiable (yours should be too).

Step 2: Flexible Deliverables – Figure out the things that must get done but aren’t on a strict timetable. Chores, for example must be completed but can be done at any time. Blogging, MOMS Club and work for the cemetery all fall in this category for me.  Decide how much time you need to dedicate to these activities during any given week and start blocking them off on your schedule.

Step 3: Flexible Time – See what time is left. Having every minute planned isn’t going to set you up for success. If you have a non-structured day, like me, try to schedule 30 minute breaks if possible to give yourself some time to relax, read a book, etc. These little breaks will help renew your energy for the assigned block of time.

When I’m done laying everything out, it ends up looking like this.


{Please note: This isn’t my actual schedule. It’s an illustration of how I prioritize my time and lay out my day. However, this is a very good representation of what my real schedule looks like. In the interest of privacy I’m going to keep my real schedule to myself.}

I color coded it because my calendar is color coded and it only makes sense to make the daily schedule match up with my calendar.

Pink – Personal/House Stuff
Red – School Stuff (either child)
Dark Blue – Blog Stuff
Light Blue – Alvy’s Nap
Yellow – Workouts
Purple – MOMS Club Stuff
Green – Cemetery Stuff

If I need to schedule something like doctor’s appointment, play date, etc I will schedule it in the time when allotted for laundry or chores.

The most important take away here is not to stick to your schedule religiously. Much like the meal rotation, use it as a guideline. For example in the few months leading up to the cemetery annual meeting and fundraiser I will do almost nothing but work for the cemetery and only the most important things for my other responsibilities will get done but as soon as that is over I will revert back to my normal routine.

If you find yourself with a lot of unstructured time and your to do list never seems to get any shorter try creating a daily schedule. It can help structure your day and make it more productive. It’s something easy you can do in just a few minutes to start adding some organization to your life – all you have to do is stick to it.

What does your day look like? How do you structure your day?

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A Day in the Life {September 23, 2015}

I’ve always loved reading other people’s day in the life posts and I thought it would be a great way to share with you what my typical day looks like.

I have two kids. My daughter, Evelyn is 4 years, 4 months old and my son Alvy is 2 years 3 months old. Though Evie goes to preschool two days a week, this is not one of those days so I have both kids home with me today. I wrote this post on Wednesday, September 23, 2015.  Here’s a day in the life of me.


5:00 AM – The alarm on my watch goes off. It’s my goal in the mornings to wake up before my kids do and lately Alvy has been waking around 5:30, so I roll out of bed and make some coffee. The second my legs hit the floor I can feel them screaming at me.

I started training for the Houston Marathon this week. On Monday I lifted weights for the first time in a month (ouch) and yesterday I did speed work so this morning my legs are mad. Very, very, very mad.

5:11 AM – As the coffee is brewing I hear, “MOMMMMMMMY,” yelled from upstairs so I walk upstairs to Alvy’s room fully expecting him to be awake and ready to get up. When I get up there I find him still laying down with his back to me. He hasn’t seen me so I walk back out and stand at the top of the stairs just out of sight.

{For the record Alvy has a 35 db hearing loss, which means his entire world is much quieter than yours. Anything quieter than 35 db – like birds chirping, a clock ticking, and his mommy walking around in his room – he can’t hear at all. Occasionally, I discover an advantage to his hearing loss – this is one of them…I don’t have to tip toe.}

After 5 minutes of standing by his door and listening to him roll around in his crib he finally gets still and I walk back downstairs to pour my coffee. I dig out my planner and start thinking about my day. Luckily, there only one thing that has to get done which means I’ve got the rest of the day to catch up on little stuff I’ve been putting off. I dig out my bullet journal and start looking at the list of stuff I’ve been working on that needs completing.

5:39 – I hear Alvy again. This time he’s singing, “Mommy, oh Mommy, yere yar yooooou?” I go back upstairs to find him jumping up and down in his crib. I pick him, get him a little snack and spend 15 minutes sitting on the couch cuddling him and watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Once I can tell he’s fully awake and satisfied with the state of his morning I go back to planning my day.

I spend 30 glorious uninterrupted minutes writing.

6:30 – I hear Jason get out of bed and Evelyn follows. She has been sick the last several days and has been sleeping with us. When we went grocery shopping yesterday she saw all the Halloween stuff out and is now excited about trick-or-treating. She immediately asks if she can put her princess dress on so we can pretend to trick-or-treat outside (it’s still dark out). After five minutes, I’m finally able to convince her that now isn’t the best time and maybe we should wait to do that tonight.

Instead we update her calendar and fight with Alvy who keeps stealing her magnets.


6:45 – Jason leaves for work. I continue to work while the kids play.

7:05 – I start breakfast. As breakfast is cooking I unload the dishwasher and move my laptop into the kitchen so I can continue writing. I cook an entire package of bacon, some of which we will eat this morning and the rest will go in a jar for later.

7:45 – We sit down to breakfast. Neither of the kids eat. Both their plates of food go completely untouched. Despite asking for a banana just two minutes earlier Alvy declares, “No. No eat. No. Nooooo!”




8:00 – I clean up the kitchen, make the bed, get myself dressed and get the kids dressed. I feed the cat and the dog. I also put in a load of laundry. Morning routine complete.


8:25 – The kids finally ate some of their breakfast and Evie signs, “May I be excused?” from across the room. I sign, “Yes,” back to her and both kids begin to run crazy around the house.

9:12 – I herd the kids into the car and we drive to the BMW dealership. On Sunday night the car told us it needed more oil and this is the first chance I’ve had to get it refilled. It’s an easy service offered by the dealership. I pull up, tell them I need oil, turn off the engine, pop the hood and they pour in a quart of oil. The service guy gives me a big thumbs up and we’re on our way. I didn’t even have to get out of the car. In total it took 2 minutes. Unfortunately, it’s a 30 minute drive each way so this whole trip took an hour.



Mission accomplished.

10:15 – We get back home. Alvy plays outside (I can see him through the kitchen window), Evie plays upstairs and I do a little housework. I put the laundry in the dryer, fold some clothes that never got folded yesterday (shame on me!), put another load of laundry in and reassemble my charging station which I had to take apart over the weekend while we were out of town.



For the record, my legs are still excruciatingly sore.

11:25 – I start making lunch. I make myself a BLT salad (mayo thinned with water for the dressing, lettuce, cherry tomatoes and some of that bacon left over from breakfast). I decide it needs a little extra protein so I boil some eggs (one for today’s salad, one for tomorrow) and I make the kids grilled cheese.


11:50 – Lunch time. I let the kids eat lunch in the den in front of the TV so they can watch Signing Time. I eat my salad standing up in the kitchen while I make homemade jello. I also work on this post a little.


12:15 PM – My lunch is gone so I work a little more on folding clothes while the kids finish up lunch.

12:40 – The kids are done with lunch, I carry Alvy upstairs and we read two books – both different versions of Goldilocks (homework from Alvy’s teacher of the deaf) and put him in his crib for a nap.

1:05 – Alvy is down, not asleep but at least in his crib. I had promised Evelyn earlier in the day that’d we play while Alvy was sleeping so I set the timer on my watch for a half hour and she and I go upstairs to play in her room. She dresses up as a princess. We dance, play with her stuffed animals and play hide-n-go-seek.




1:40 – Playtime is over. We both go downstairs and I finally finish up the last of the laundry, clean up the kitchen from lunch and change into my running clothes.

2:30 – We get the jello out of the fridge and cut it into squares for a snack. Evie paints with watercolors and I work on the blog a little bit.




My legs still hurt.

3:00 – I prep dinner. We’re having Pork Fried Cauliflower, a paleo take on Chicken Fried Rice but instead of chicken I use ground pork and instead of rice I use chopped cauliflower. I dice onions, garlic, carrots and pulse the cauliflower in the food processor and put it on a sheet tray for roasting when we get home. I also marinate the pork in a combination of soy sauce, mirin and sambal chili paste and put it in the fridge.


I also clean up the mess I just made prepping dinner.

3:25 – I get Evelyn in her leotard, put my running shoes on and pack my gym bag.

3:35 – Alvy wakes up and we all sit down on the couch for a few minutes. For the first time all day I actually sit down. I’m already tired (and I haven’t even been to the gym yet) and my brain needs the downtime. I browse Facebook and read mindless articles on the internet, like this one. I also give the kids a snack.

4:10 – Jason gets home. We chat for a few minutes while he changes clothes and eats a little snack.

4:25 – We part ways. He takes Evelyn to gymnastics and I take Alvy to the YMCA so I can workout. Even though my legs are still super sore I know I need to spend that time moving my body. Marathon training is as much about training your mind as it is your body. If I can’t exercise through pain now there’s no way I can do it on race day. I spend 35 minutes spinning and then get on the treadmill and run three miles (8:34 pace).


The workout was hard but it did a good job of flushing some of that lactic acid out of my muscles. When I get home my legs are feeling a little less stiff.

5:45 – Alvy and I get home. I take a quick shower then cook dinner.

6:45. Evie is exhausted from the day and as she’s sitting at the table declares that she’s too tired to eat. She asks if she can go to lay down and we let her. This is the first full days she’s felt well enough to do anything and I can only assume her little body is still a bit under the weather. She goes upstairs and lays down in bed and falls asleep – still wearing her gymnastics leotard.

7:15 – Dinner is over. Jason and I both clean the kitchen together while Alvy plays with some shapes in the floor. We make the coffee, turn on the dishwasher and I make Evie’s lunch for tomorrow.

After the kitchen is clean we both sit down in the den and do our own things. I work on this post, Jason plays video games and Alvy continues to play with his shapes. I check on Evelyn…she is snoring. Poor thing.

Alvy starts climbing all over Jason who is still attempting to pay video games.

8:15 – I try to pick Alvy up to take him upstairs for bed but I’m informed by my little two year old that “Daddy playing race cars. Go away. Turn around. Go away.”





I guess they were having fun bonding. Instead I pick up the toys in the, den, brush my teeth and get myself ready for bed. Evening routine complete.

8:45 – I take Alvy upstairs to bed. Jason and I alternate putting the kids to bed every night and tonight is my night with Alvy – he got lucky that Evie fell asleep on her own. It’s not a bath night so I’m off easy. I change him into pajamas, read him two books, cuddle him for five minutes then lay him down. I sit down in the glider in his room for a few minutes while I wait for him to settle down.

9:30 – I come back downstairs to find Jason still playing video games, which is okay with me. I get a little hunger pang so eat a very small bowl of cereal.

9:45 – We both head to bed. I consider reading for a bit but I fall asleep before I can grab my tablet off the nightstand.


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