getting back at it {thriving not surviving back to school}

Can you believe that summer is over?

If it's not over where you are it is certainly drawing to a close soon, yes?  A couple of days from now we are heading back to school.  Back to schedules and early mornings.  I'm pretty ready for it.  I love the slower paced days of summer, they remind me of when my boys were little and the only thing that ruled our schedule was nap-time but I also love stability and predictability in my days.  There is a certain level of productivity that can only be achieved with planning and purposefulness.  Though I did come to find a nice rhythm to our summer days, it's the school days that have come to produce the most fruit.   

One of the questions most asked of me throughout the year is "HOW do you get so much done in the day?!".  Being productive is my favorite game.  There is little I love more than a day where I can look at a list full of check marks and feel like I really made a dent in things.  I often think through the day "Hands to work and hearts to God".  It's hard to get in trouble when you're busy. :)

I thought I'd share a little of what our days look like just in case you could use a little nudge in the right direction.  Choosing to be purposeful with my time doesn't come accidentally.  I have to KNOW that the fruit of my efforts will lead to things like: a happier mom, a NICER mom, a more harmonious family, happy kids, happy husband, a clean house, caught up laundry, etc.  There is tangible fruit to my sacrifice.  Here is a typical day:

5:30-6:00am wake up! I have the coffee set to go off and be ready when I come down or Doug will turn it on for me as he leaves for the day.   I have found that waking up an hour or more before my kids somehow feels like I add three to four hours to my day!

I spend the next hour or so reading my Bible (a MUST for every morning), reading my devotionals, replying to emails and getting mentally ready for what the day has in store for me.

6:40am Shower and be ready by the time the boys get up at 7am! Our boys are not allowed out of their rooms until 7am.

7am the boys get dressed, make beds, etc while I throw in a load of laundry (doing one full load a day ensures that I am never behind!).

7:15-7:45 breakfast.  Often on Mondays I will make a large batch of pancakes that will last the week.  There is time for breakfast when you are up earlier than your kids. :) We also use this time to read a Bible story from one of the boys many devotionals.

8:10-9:00 is school drop off.

9:00-12 Aaron is at school.  I usually spend this time running around like a crazy person.  I try to run as many errands ALONE at this time as I can.  Not only do they go faster but I don't have to drag along kids that don't want to go in the first place.  If I don't have errands, I sew like a mad woman.  I bring Aaron's lunch for pick up so he can eat it on the way home.  I usually eat something on the run. 

Noon is pick up for Aaron.  I usually spend the afternoons while we wait for Moses cleaning something.  Meaning I pick a little project to conquer each day...a drawer, a closet, a counter.  I make sure to tackle one thing each day.  I will also spend 15-20 minutes each day putting things away, de-cluttering, etc.  Basically I'll do "touch-up" work to the house to make sure it doesn't fall apart between the all out cleanings we do each Saturday!

Aaron and I will also play or go on walks or bike rides.  The afternoons are still productive and purposeful even if they are more "go with the flow" than the rest of the day.

Moses get home around 3:30-4 and he does homework right away.  We spend 4-5 getting dinner ready and eating.  The boys usually play while this is going on.

After dinner we make lunches for the next day (keeps us from having to rush around to do this in the morning).

Doug will often spend the time after dinner playing with the boys.  Sometimes I join them and sometimes I catch up on Little Bit Funky work. 

Then showers and bedtime routines for the boys.  This is when we read, pray and have devotional time with the boys.  The boys are in bed by 7:30pm.  

THEN the TV goes on.  This usually the first time it is on for the day.  I think that is the biggest time-suck in the house.  If you can avoid turning it on for the day, you gain a lot of time.

Doug and I are usually in bed by 10-10:30pm to get ready to do it all again the next day. 

Some other things we do to save time:

--On Sundays we pick clothes for the week for the boys.  They each have seven bins and they choose an outfit to go in each one, that way in the morning they just pick a bin and get dressed!

--We make the boys put away their own clean clothes once they are sorted and folded.

--The boys do chores that are actually helpful -moving laundry from one machine to the next, taking out trash, cleaning the playroom, etc.  

--We treat Monday through Friday like WORK days and the weekends are for FUN!  We are a family that believes you HAVE to work hard BEFORE you play hard.  We don't think we are entitled to fun but would much rather EARN that fun!  

--Doug and I take turns sleeping in each weekend.  That way we both get caught up and feel rested. 

I'm not sure if that helps anyone.  The basic idea is that we make the most of each of the 24 hours we are given each day.  Doug is a great help to me and is 100% supportive of me and my business each day.  He serves wholeheartedly and without complaint.  He is probably the biggest key to my productivity.    

I'd love to hear how you have a productive day? I'm always looking for ways to improve! :)

**Don't forget to enter the Disney giveaway with Winnie the Pooh!

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