SummaryJennifer Tutwiler tried every kind of schedule there is. Her family couldn’t settle into a a successful schedule – until she broke free of 5 popular myths.
When it comes to schedules, I’ve tried them all: rigid timetables, daily rhythms, spreadsheets, charts, no schedule at all. But whatever I did, it failed.
While our family now has a successful schedule, it was not until I understood the truth about what a schedule actually is that I was able to build one that works.
To come to this truth however, I had to let go of several myths that pervade our society.
1. It’s All About Work
If you feel a schedule weighs you down or leads to monotony, this myth is the most likely cause. God has given us two, seemingly contradictory, duties.
On one side, we have a divinely-appointed responsibility to care for our husbands, children and homes and we must order our activities to ensure that all the associated tasks are done on a regular basis.
But we also have a responsibility to LIVE: to nourish our relationships with God, family and friends, to use well the gifts that God has given us, to build memories with those we love and share God’s love with those we meet along the way.
Just because these things are enjoyable does not mean that they are any less a God-given responsibility!
2. It’s All or Nothing
A schedule is a tool that fosters order, but it is not order itself. If we regard it as an infallible authority over our lives, we will not be open to God, our true authority and guide.
A schedule must be firm enough to provide stability, but flexible enough to bend with the challenges and gifts that may come our way.
This is one reason that I refer to our schedule as a routine; it is a guideline that keeps us on track but allows us to follow helpful trails along the way.
3. It Will Make Everything Perfect
The truth is that a schedule is not meant to reinvent your life. It is meant to order your life as it is now.
Some of the best advice I ever read was that, if you are not a morning person, do not make your schedule dependent on your rising at 6am! If God is calling you to make changes, then you should definitely get to work; but remember that it takes time to build new habits.
If a large portion of your schedule revolves around immediate success in changing a big habit, you are dooming yourself to failure.
4. So Now What?
Even after we set aside these misconceptions, the question remains: “How do I find a schedule that works?” First, there is no such thing as “finding” a schedule. Your family is a unique group of unique people; trying to follow someone else’s schedule is like trying to dance on someone else’s feet.
Instead, look within your own home. What milestones already exist within your days? Even in the most unscheduled family, there are things that remain the same day after day. Whether it’s the time the children wake up or the time everyone heads to the kitchen for meals and snacks, these are starting points for building your family’s unique schedule.
For our own routine, we began with mealtimes and then looked at what work and life events usually happened before or after each meal as well as what events would fit well in those times. In this way we were able to work with our family’s strengths, weaknesses and natural tendencies.
From there, we have been able to make adjustments as our family’s needs change or as we work to develop new or better habits. After all, a schedule is not a static list on a piece of paper. It is a living thing that will need to be adjusted — sometimes weekly — so it can truly serve your family’s needs.
5. Don’t be Supermom
Finally, the most important advice I can give about scheduling is this: a schedule must not be built on human pride and the desire to be supermom. It is a tool that enables us to fully live God’s call on our lives.
As such, the first thing on any schedule must be prayer. While the baby nurses, before you get up, right after breakfast if it’s impossible to do any earlier… simply make it a priority to spend at least 5 minutes in reading and prayer and your entire schedule will be blessed by the presence of God.