Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Rhythm Method

No, this is not a post about birth control. Though I did consider adding the tagline, "Scheduling Hippies," but I resisted and desisted.

Have I said recently that our school year is looming? We start next Tuesday, bright and early. Full speed ahead. Jumping in with both feet.

As we go from the fluid summer to scheduled fall, I think am reminded how the Barefoot Hippies are really not scheduled. We are more rhythm people.

My philosophy is that if you have a schedule, and it is rather rigid-if life throws you a curve ball, you are up a creek without a paddle. What is something is supposed to go from this time to that time, but you don't get started until that time? What happens? Some people throw in the towel, and the day is done before it starts.

The Barefoot Hippie Rhythm Method is a bit less stringent. More flexible. More realistic. (everything I am not, actually)

It is based on two ideas:

Parts of the day-morning, afternoon, evening.

Weekly rhythm-your days may look different from Monday to Tuesday, but your weeks tend to be very similar-the same things scheduled most Mondays and Tuesdays. (this is actually one of the ideas behind Laura Vanderkam's book 168 Hours, that I keep referring to. This thought resonated with me, because it is how I already live.)

My daily rhythm with the start up school will look like this
6:00 (at the latest) me up, coffee, exercising, devotions, shower
7:30-start breakfast prep
7:45-kids up, get dressed, beds, teeth, small chores
8:00-breakfast, finish chores
9:00-reading (me showering or studying)
9:30-12:30-school work, studying(me), some cooking, etc
12:30-lunch, and literary lunch hour
1:00-quiet time-reading, blogging
3:00-my chores, cooking, outside time for kids
6:30-8:30-clean up, reading, scheduled evening activities
8:30-kids to bed,
me in bed by 10:00

So, that looks rather structured, huh?! But, the thing is, I know it isn't going to go exactly like that everyday. Some days dinner will be earlier or later depending on what we have to do. Some days devotions might start earlier or later. We always do 1/2 hour of morning reading-but it may start at 8:55, it may start at 9:15. We just go with it. This is a framework. Not the 10 commandments.

Now, weekly rhythm. I have chores and activities that I do on certain days of the week. These things fit into the framework, and sometimes alter it. For me, Wednesdays I do my chores early because I have to leave for Bible club at 3:00. No qt for mom that day.

Mondays-paperwork, whip the house in shape from the weekend, grocery shopping-every other week, laundry, BSF in the evenings, swim, run

Tuesdays-vacuum/dust, dinner with the BFF, study for Bible club, run

Wednesdays-laundry, clean bathrooms and floors, dinner at church, Bible club, swim

Thursdays-baking, reading, long run

Fridays-fun school, baking, laundry, swim

We also try to have someone for dinner either Thursday, Friday or Saturday, each week.

These activities don't vary much from week to week. It is helpful to me to know what I need to accomplish say on Mondays. Then, if I have time, I can fit in the paperwork during the kids' breakfast, or whatever.

I think a key to a schedule or rhythm, is that you have leave flexibility in case you miss a time slot. Just pick up and start where you are at. For me it is not helpful to have things planned out in any smaller chunks (like 15 minute segments). There is too much room for error, and discouragement if you keep getting off schedule.

I need a framework in order to get done everything that needs done. In order to be everywhere I need to be. Every week on Monday morning I write out a list of my week, and what needs to happen everyday-the "always"things and things unique to that week. It is clarifying to me. It gives me goals.

As I make my list every week, I pray over it. And I pray over it each day. "Lord, order my day. Help me to get done what needs to be done. Multiply my time, and my efforts. Help me let go of what needs to be let go."

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unit thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy path. Proverbs 3:5,6

What about you? Do you have every minute of your day planned out, or is your day more sectioned out for different things? What is most helpful to you if you get off track? Do schedules make you feel more or less stressed?

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