First off, we are not "natural schedulers", but rather, we NEED a schedule!
We were blessed many years ago by the Lord bringing a book into our lives, Managers of Their Homes. It provided the practical, SPIRITUAL information we needed to convince us of the need to budget our time. Really, time is more valuable than money, and may of the same principles apply to budgeting time as money. In fact, many years ago, Dave was in a Christian men's group where a brother suggested that everybody bring their checkbooks and lay them open so they could be accountable for how they spend their money! It is by looking at this record that our real priorities are seen. Same thing goes for how we spend our time; it shows our priorities.
So, one of the biggest benefits of scheduling for us was not the schedule in itself. It was the benefit of prayerfully setting our priorities before creating a schedule. It was not a mom thing either. Both of us parents were involved (though one did more pencil pushing than the other), and that was also a huge blessing and help in being on the same page, so to speak. When we look at our schedule, we recognize that we have reasons for everything on it. So the exercise of putting our schedule together has been by far one of our most profitable accomplishments, because it forced us to compare what was on the paper with what is in God's Word.
Our schedule, and our adherence to it, is far from perfect. In our early years, we would detect deficiencies in the schedule, and lapse for weeks at a time intending to revise it. Then in desperation, we'd go back to the original schedule and find it wasn't that bad after all.
Of course, every day is different and we want to keep in mind each day that the interruptions God allows are for our good. Discipline issues, illness, visitors, special or seasonal projects, plumbing emergencies, ministry...these are things that we want to be available for! We are trying to remember they are real life opportunities! They do frequently cause interruptions to the schedule, but as we learn to see them as God's tools in our lives, we don't get so stressed out by them. (Some of these interruptions can be plugged into the schedule, however, in the same way that you can combine errands instead of go out every time you need an item.)
The real problem with our schedule is when we get distracted by things that are not really contributing to doing what God wants us to be doing! In reality, it's the time wasting distractions, the bunny trails, and our lack of discipline that really mess things up! But God is merciful and we can always just repent, refocus and get back on track! When you have a schedule, its a lot easier to get back on track, because you have a track to get back on!
Anyway, our current schedule (which we will include in the next post, Lord willing) has been overhauled quite a bit since our first one 12 years ago. Things that bring about changes in our schedule include: having more children, having different aged children, shifts in priorities, our increasing ability to realize our goal of having the older children working with the younger (and vice versa!), a desire to teach our children as much as possible using real life tasks and events rather than those which are contrived and even the size and configuration of our house.
So next we will work on posting our current schedule, with some explanatory notes. (It takes a while for me to be concise in writing!) We hope that by posting this information, it will be an encouragement to someone.