Time Management

By kate on May 31st, 2007

Jumping into stay-at-home parenthood has given me the opportunity to set things up from a fresh perspective. I took the time to think about the kinds of things I want to do with my/our time, and figured out some main priorities that I want to make sure get done during the week.
There are two main categories of time: With Ruby and Without Ruby. Ruby naps (or hangs out in her crib) from about 9-10am and from about 3:30-5:30pm, give or take. That gives me a couple hours of free time every day to get my own things done. Also, my mom watches her every Thursday after her morning nap, giving me one full day to myself. The big chunk of Ruby time every day is from about 10am-3pm.
The categories of things I’d like to do with Ruby each week are:

  • Physical play (playgrounds, indoor play centers, etc)
  • Socializing (visits with other SAHPs I know, maybe a playgroup)
  • Field trips (a bigger outing: explore the city, hike, etc.)
  • Art time (at least once a week I want to do this)
  • Errands (a necessity that she can join me on)

The categories of things I’d like to do on my own each week are:

  • Computer time (once or twice a day to keep up, and a longer session once a week where I can do things like edit and post pictures of Ruby, blog, geek out, administer our servers, etc.)
  • To-do list (smaller tasks that need to get done, on and off the computer)
  • Housekeeping (cleaning, straightening, laundry, etc.)
  • Big project (one large chunk of time to spend on a larger project; top of the list right now are house-related organization projects)
  • Exercise (I play racquetball, soccer, and ultimate frisbee)

Plus, there are the ordinary things like meals, changing diapers, etc. Suddenly what looked like a ton of free time feels kind of packed. I needed a way to lay it all out and make sure there was time for everything. I spent some time looking for a good calendar app that could help me plan my weekly schedule. I tried finding something on Simple Spark, which is a great resource, but wasn’t able to find what I was looking for – not a date-driven calendar, but a single-week schedule applicable to every week. (Hey fellow geeks! Anyone know of a good tool for this? Anyone want to write me one?)
Eventually I gave up and used Excel, the old standby. It was kind of a pain in the ass, because I had to keep merging and un-merging cells and re-drawing borders, but eventually I got it all set up.

click for full-size

Looking at this in grid form may give the wrong impression that it’s a rigid schedule. That’s not at all my intention; it’s more of a guideline. I’ll certainly swap around days if a social visit is planned for a Wednesday (like one is next week). I don’t plan to be keeping a close eye on the clock all day, either. I just wanted to have a general time frame designated for all the things I want to do so that nothing is left out.
I also want to make the point that I am definitely against overscheduling kids. I think unstructured time is very important Even though this schedule appears full, there’s lots of wiggle room (I have an hour and a half open for relaxing, for starters). Ruby is not currently signed up for any kind of class or program so we can be flexible. I never want her to have to rush from class to lesson to event with no time to just hang out and play. That’s not to say I won’t ever sign her up for something, of course. I just plan to be mindful of her free time.

Filed under: life, parenting, technology
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One Response to “Time Management”

  1. joe Says:

    1. thanks for the toothpaste tube! i’ll let you know what it’s for soon…

    2. Most kids really thrive with a schedule, so I think Ruby will thank you.

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