Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Little Changes, Big Payoff

And now for a much lighter, much more practical, much less angst filled post than yesterday...

Have you ever noticed that small changes can pay big dividends? Things like going to bed 5 minutes earlier, or getting up 5 minutes earlier, or flossing your teeth, or saving a dollar a day.

Well, our family has made 3 changes that have smoothed some troubled waters in our day to day life.

1. Leaving for grocery shopping at 2:30 rather than 3:00. It's a small change. A difference of only 30 minutes. But, it adds up to more than 30 minutes saved on the other end, plus a whole lot less stress.

By leaving for my bi-weekly shopping trip at 2:30, I miss after school/work commuting traffic. Roads are clearer-which saves time.

By leaving at 2:30, I also miss the last minute dinner shoppers. And I am maximizing the sweet spot of school pick up. Most moms are in the school pick up lane, not at the grocery store, for the hour and a half it takes me to get my shopping done.

Also, by leaving at 2:30, I am back right after 4:00. This gives me 1 hour and 45 minutes to get my groceries put away and dinner made, rather than just an hour (or less). Dinner is earlier on Monday nights in order to get us to Bible study on time. But, this leaves a nice window of time to get everything done and not be rushed.

I used to enjoy grocery shopping and then I started not liking it. I realized that that it was stressing me out because I don't like busy stores or waiting in line or shopping with all my kids. By changing my shopping time by 30 minutes I eliminated to of these stress factors. And, I also leave 3 of my 4 kids at home. It is their quiet time, and then they watch a movie. And it works way better. So, if you are facing these challenges too, maybe changing your shopping time or day would help you out too.

To summarize-the big payoff is less busy stores and roads, and back in plenty of time to leisurely prepare dinner and put away groceries. No more running around like a deranged crazy woman.

2. Traditional school 4 days a week (5 lessons in 4 days) and fun school on Fridays.
This has been a great change for our family. By Friday, everyone is done with the concept of school. We are all ready for a break. It was hard to pound the textbooks.

Plus, we were facing the challenge of working in history, science and art Mondays through Thursdays. They were getting far more licks and promises than completed lessons.

This is the 3rd year we have followed this format, and we all love it. We do spelling tests, history lectures, history reading, art and science on Fridays. We are usually done by 1:00, which gives us the remainder of the day to relax and do other things. Like baking.

I have found that I do way better when I can schedule some down time in my schedule while still accomplishing what I need to accomplish. No guilt plus time to recoup.

Big payoff-strong finish each week, plus covering all the extra subjects that we need to cover.

3. Continental breakfast on Sunday mornings. So, this one wouldn't seem as life changing, but it really has been. We used to serve a streamlined breakfast of oatmeal on Sundays. But the oatmeal still needed cooked. And it just made the Sunday mornings busier. Not as busy as making pancakes or eggs, but still busier. And, getting 6 people out the door by 9:00 in the morning does not need to be any more complicated than it already is.

Plus, Meres hardly wakes up until the 11th hour on Sunday mornings (figuratively, not really), and oatmeal is not the most car friendly, portable breakfast.

Now we do toast or muffins or coffee cake and fruit and cheese. It is simple. Everyone can help themselves. The mess is at a minimum. And it is a special breakfast. Muffins and cheese?! Oh Yeah!

Big payoff-less stress on an already often stressful morning. And Meres gets to eat.

Have you made any changes in your day to day life that have made a major difference?