190. Planning the day: my weekly routines and rhythms for work, home and family

This is part two of a two-part series about planning your day. If you haven’t listened to part one (episode 189), I highly recommend you do so and then come right back to listen to this one. Join me as I guide you through a typical day in my life as a work-from-home mom. I discuss how I use time-blocking, rhythms and answer your questions .


In this episode I discuss: 

  • My typical weekday 
    • My weekly rhythms for work, home and family
    • Time-blocking 
  • How the changing seasons also change my days
    • Family life, priorities and routines
  • Answering some questions I’ve been asked about planning my days
    • Exercise, laundry, meal prep, groceries, planning the week
    • Derailed plans 


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Full transcript (with timestamps)

Hey friends, it’s Shawna, your nerdy girlfriend and counselor from simple on purpose.ca. Welcome to the simple and purpose podcast.

This episode is part two, actually. So I would encourage you to go back to the previous episode and listen to that first. These episodes are on planning my day planning my week and the first episode I talked about applying that concept of if everything matters, nothing matters. And I think that’s just really a good foundation to have in the back of your mind when you’re thinking about filling your day, and how you’re going to fill your day. So I encourage you to go back and listen to that.

Let’s talk about my typical day, which is a question you guys have asked me. I kind of like hearing on other people’s days, I don’t know, I they used to do that Instagram challenge, like a day in the life or I forget what it’s called, like one hour every? I don’t know. Anyways, I thought it was really interesting. I like to peek in on how other people were spending their time. So I’m going to talk about my day and then answer a bunch of questions that you guys have sent in.

So my typical day, week day, I’m going to wake up around 720. And I have a timer for the Internet and like the Internet app on my phone. So the kids can’t turn the TV or iPad on until seven because they were waking up really early just to watch TV. So they are watching a little bit of TV by the time I’m up. And I get up, we all kind of get ready, the kids leave. Generally, they’re all over the door by 830. And then I can eat breakfast, make a coffee and get started on my workday.

So I spend my day working, I break for lunch in lunchtime. I like to like go out in the kitchen, listen to a podcast, maybe go outside, if the weather’s nice, maybe go for a 10 minute walk, go back to work. And you know, because I’m working from home, I can do things like throw the laundry through, get the meat out of the freezer, because we’re always forgetting to build a meat out army, do a quick living room tidy when the kids are heading out the door. And I head back to work.

So the kids come home between three and 330. Actually, my oldest usually comes on first. So we actually get about like 10 or 15 minutes to just catch up and talk. And that’s actually a really special time of my day.

When they get home, I aim to be in the kitchen because they’re unpacking their bags or eating a snack. They do a chore in that area. And then they’re gonna head out and probably play their screen time, their further time limit for the day.

So when they’re coming home, I just want to hang out in the kitchen, I will tidy up the kitchen, usually one of them has to do dishes. So I’ll reload the dishwasher. I eat a snack too, because I need a break I need to eat. And I also just want to be available. You know how kids when they come home, they just held it together all day they’re exhausted and sometimes just being there that presents whether or not they come to you for anything, it’s just I think it’s comforting.

So they’re heading out after about half an hour and they’re hanging out with their friends going to meet up with their friends, whatever, or they’re doing their screen time. And suddenly, I’m alone in the kitchen again. So I try not to go on Instagram, I really try not to go on Instagram, whenever I find myself alone in the kitchen, which is usually from the hours of 330 to I don’t know, they’re in bed. If I have a little bit of work left to do like session notes or drafting up a podcast, I’m just going to pull up the computer in the kitchen, like bring the laptop into the kitchen and just to be around them if they need me. But you know they have screens they don’t need me. So that’s that anyways, and then we get ready for whoever has activities that night.

We’re going to get packed up and get a bunch of snacks and water and all those things together. I was asked recently on Instagram, how I simplify our family life. And that’s one thing that has helped us is limiting each kid to one extracurricular activity because times three kids that’s just a lot of activities right? So two of them were in hockey actually which hockey’s a lifestyle guys like hockey’s a lifestyle commitment. You have to be all in as a family it takes over everything weekends. So we limit it one extracurricular each person.

The afternoon like four o’clock on I’m shuttling people to the places. I start making dinner depending on what it is I just couldn’t like let it simmer on the stove or whatever. In generally I start dinner early, regardless of activities happening in the evening. Because foods just a priority for me, especially being gluten free. It’s hard to get excited about food. So it’s something I have spent a lot more effort on, especially in the recent years. We get the farm box for some of the years so that is something that I try to enjoy and use well and I’m googling recipes and trying different things. So Dinner, dinner is a big deal to me and probably my husband the kids generally are disappointed in whatever I make but I’m enjoying So, in this is recent, right? I think I shared in the last episode that some seasons it was toast on eggs and I would look on Instagram and wonder how are these moms roasting chickens and making biscuits with toddlers? Cue the episode I just did on Instagram culture because I definitely had warped expectations, thinking I could do all of the things all of the time that other moms with toddlers, were making these beautiful, elaborate homemade meals. Geez, no way it was toast on eggs or I don’t even remember waffles, right? We talked about the waffles.

Anyways, so dinner now I’ve got time about space got energy for it. And sometimes I will put in an air pod and just listen to a show or a podcast while I’m making dinner, enjoying that process. And I’ll be in the kitchen doing dishes you guys are asking me when I get cleaning done. Kitchen is just like as we go along through the evening. And then we aim to eat dinner together between six and 630. When everyone’s home from all the places eat dinner, someone has to have a shower, people are making lunches. And then we will aim to get the kids into their beds by eight.

One thing that we do in our house is we spend time with each of our kids at night, we’ll play a card game generally with them. Or sometimes we were doing like hurdles or wordles or spot the difference on the iPad. So we’re spending that time and it’s like 845. By the time we’ve gone through all three kids between the two of us. And it is a lot of time. But it’s a ritual for us. And I think that our kids really rely on that. And maybe I rely on that to that touch base in that connect, to have that consistent time where no matter what the day was like, I know that my parents are gonna show up here and they’re gonna ask me how I’m feeling and what I need help with. And you know, whether they want to just like pop quiz us on all the Space Jam characters, or ask us why the rules seem different for boys and girls, both of those questions. My kids have asked me at nighttime, it’s just a really meaningful thing for me to just be there as a parent for any of that.

So bedtimes 845. And then, if my husband’s working in the morning, we’re both going to head to bed. I mentioned in the last episode that over the recent years, I’ve come to priorities, prioritize sleep in a big way, and my life feels so much better for it.

So that’s my typical week day. Doesn’t really sound exciting. My weekdays are seasonal when it’s not hockey season. I generally have a weekend. And our routines are Friday night treat. And movie Saturday is for church chores. And then an outing and Sunday is church and chill.

I was asked how often I spend time planning out my week. And this was something that used to be a very intentional thing to sit and plan the week, when all of the kids were at home, Connor and I would have weekly calendar meetings together when he had his set off. And that was when we would plan, look at the calendar, who’s doing what who was to go where and making sure that we could put in time for the things we wanted to get done that week.

Nowadays, I do look at my calendar often. And I think about what’s happening and what I want to happen. And maybe I’ll schedule things in. But as the seasons have changed, my life is very predictable. It has a rhythm and things just like slot themselves into my day, so to speak.

So you might know that I work on environmental health job, I work that Monday, and then Wednesday mornings. And then I’m counseling on Tuesdays and Thursdays, clients can book themselves online. So I just know what to show up for. That leaves Fridays, like today’s a Friday for emails and podcasts. And if I have time left, I’m gonna go do other things or things that need to get done.

So I have a little bit of Fridays and somewhat Wednesday afternoons that are definitely time for just me, being a human going to the dentist, seeing a friend getting the mail fitting in a client if they needed some extra availability.

And to me, this is kind of a large scale time blocking and I mentioned time blocking in a recent group coaching call. That’s where you block time in your calendar for a type of task like exercise, draft emails, meal prep, and so on. If you google search time blocking, you’ll see a lot of Google Calendars beautifully color coded with time blocking. And to me, this is just large scale. So I know what work happens on this day. And they show up for it. I like the name rhythms. So I think it flows. We have a rhythm to our life rhythm to our week.

And this is the flow of my week. I can keep it the same. I can adjust it as things come up and they do. We got sick kids, we got appointments we got husband’s going away on on teen trips, and then we know that the routine is going to even itself out eventually again. So I can have that sense of like not scarcity, not urgency, but I can have that assurance that the routine is going to come back online. Once we’re over this little hurdle And because the days are predictable, I know where I can move things to, in order to shift things around.

I want to answer some specific questions I’ve had on this topic, I was asked when I exercise, this is seasonal too, in a way, as in the monthly seasons, I approach exercise differently depending on my cycle. So it looks different from week to week. But I do prioritize it, I will look in my schedule in the week and think about where it’s gonna go, I want it to happen about three times in a week for will be great. I want to do it for about 30 minutes. And you know, maybe have time for a quick shower after. So if I don’t get it done, if there’s not kind of a chunk of time within my work day where I have time between sessions or just in that extra time on the Wednesday or Friday, I will do it. Once the kids go on to their screentime like after we’ve had that post school routine and check in and they go to their friends or to whatever, I will do it then and probably just shower like later that night, I’ll just be dirty. I’m gonna link to an episode I did on exercise for wellbeing. On the meet your needs series.

I was also asked how to do laundry. And if you’ve noticed my Instagram stories are mostly therapy points, Mom memes and just photos of my laundry basket on the couch, you know, in sunbeam or something.

My only good laundry advice is some seasons you don’t have to fold everything. There were seasons of my life where I only folded kids pants and shirts, big towels and our own adult laundry. Everything else was thrown into the drawer, socks, PJs, tea towels, just throw it in. For me, I will have laundry going through most every day because I’m at home, I’ll put it in the morning and then put it into the dryer later on. And what’s happening is all of these baskets of clean laundry are laid out in the basement. I stack them to create kind of like a train like a double decker train. And then once a week, I’m gonna bring it all upstairs, put on a good show, have an old fashioned didn’t get it all folded. And that basket you see on my coach is the towels. I separate the towels as I’m folding the laundry, and I leave that basket there. I don’t know how the system was developed in our lives. But I’m folding everyone’s laundry and putting it in their little baskets. And it’s all like folded all nice. And then I leave all the big towels and someone else can fold those. Usually it’s a kid who wants to earn money or Connor who’s like just being kind and helpful. And that’s he’s got that he’s got that.

I had another question on meal planning. When to get groceries. When do you do the meal prep groceries are simply for us in the summer, we get that farm box delivered each week. And we generally have a lot of farm meat from my wonderful in laws who are stocking up our freezer. So I can just kind of look through the house. There’s meat in the freezer there’s produce from the farm box. And then we all go to Costco and stock up like on those extra things pasta noodles and peanut butter and those kinds of things. So we don’t have to go grocery shopping a ton my husband can do it on his week off. But I will also do it on a Friday evening. I combined my grocery shop with our Friday night treats.

So this is another rhythm we have as in our family every other Friday when cars at work and I’m with the kids. I take the kids to the store after school and they pick out a Friday night treat. And I will take this time to grab the extra groceries I need. meal planning is something that I rely heavily on and I spent a lot of time and energy really interesting. Pinning, meal planning all of the ideas and I feel like it’s a really crucial part of making my life easier. I can save money I can save time I have a plan. Even if you make that plan in the morning even if you go to your freezer and you see what’s in there and go to your pantry Susan there go to your fridge and then you’ve done this like inventory of everything in the places and you Black Box Challenge yourself. These are my ingredients. What will I make it might not be awesome. You might have like frozen peas and scones, whatever, that’s fine eat it for dinner.

Another strategy I like with meal planning is to have a template. This has helped me a lot during the busy hockey seasons. So I’ll write it out on the fridge a template like Sunday is soup and sandwich. Monday is past Tuesday’s tacos, of course, and so on and I find that template can be helpful.

I had a question on when I do cleaning. And I have counterintuitive advice about cleaning I clean when the kids are home when they’re at school or at activities. I am probably not cleaning, especially when they’re at school I want to fill my time with stuff that I prefer to do without them around like work or exercise or just zoning out on the couch.

I will say that decluttering my home has made cleaning less of a big deal. But our home still gets messy. I share these pictures all the time on Instagram with the house Should we live here, because we might have done decluttering all this, but we still live here. The house is messy, especially during the day, generally, I’ll go into the kitchen and there’s dishes in the sink great. Like it’s not spotless, I am a clean as you go kind of person.

I think though that having some routines like Saturday chores, the daily chores the kids help out with and, you know, doing the kitchen, when, right after dinner, we tidy up the kitchen. I think that keeps things tidy enough. All that being said, cleaning used to be this whole big brain drama for me and I actually wrote a book on it, you might not know, I made a book called homemaker on purpose. And I put in everything I’ve learned about challenging my concepts of time, and tidying and stacking habits and all of the strategies that I use to help me just create simple routines that I can stick to that’s in the homemaker on purpose book. And I’ll link that in the show notes.

Finally, I had a few people ask about what to do when plans are derailed. I’ve had this question in a few different formats, actually. And what I think this question is actually getting to is derailed plans challenge our sense of control. We think that if we planned it, we can control it, we and we want control. That’s why we’re planning things, we want the control. And the lack of control feels scary, it makes us scramble, we’re going to look for control anywhere we can, I want to link to Episode 115 on being a controlling mom, or capable mom. Because this is where we have the work to do and this is what we can fall back on is when we don’t have control, we can still fall back on our sense of capability. We can develop a sense of capability that we can handle things when they don’t go according to plan. You’ve proven it to yourself, probably you have handled things and you can handle things again.

When we lose control, the plan is derailed, we might hyper focus on regaining a sense of control, we can buy into our own sense of urgency. Or we can shift into building our sense of capability that we can handle things we can let go of the urgency just for a moment, just long enough to ask what’s important here, what is actually urgent. These are two questions that Stephen Covey gave us in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

And he’s using the Eisenhower matrix that’s distinguishing between what’s urgent versus non urgent, what’s important versus non important. Remember, this is going to take us back to the last episode, when everything matters, and nothing matters. If you were trying to do it all, everything feels urgent, everything feels important, you lose your ability to prioritize, and put things to the side. So you can focus on the things that actually need to get done right now.

When our plans don’t work, this is also an area where all or nothing thinking can be very apparent. So it’s really important to remember here, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It doesn’t have to be either this gets done or nothing. There are smaller steps. There’s alternatives, you have other options that you’re not thinking about. Because you’re buying into your own sense of urgency and your own need for control. So just slow it down for a minute, maybe and write these questions down on a piece of paper, plan it ahead of time, even what’s urgent versus not urgent, what’s important versus not important. Set that framework for yourself. So in the moment, you can refer to that.

I hope that I’ve answered your questions. I hope I’ve given you some ideas that will help you feel more empowered, in planning your day, your week, your season of life. And if you want more, if you’re feeling stuck, you want support, you want strategizing, I have some options for you. The first one is to go to the shownotes. Dig in. I’ve got a lot of content on this over the years about a lot of related posts and episodes.

The second option is to come to a group coaching call with me. I’ve got one on October 13. That’s open to any kind of topic we talk about here. common topics our mindsets, simplifying motherhood, and actually this episode was prompted by a conversation from a recent group coaching call.

I also have the motivation workshop coming up on October 27. I want to talk about why motivation matters. How we motivate ourselves in helpful ways and unhelpful ways and how to change the unhelpful ways into helpful ways. How the brain motivates us or doesn’t motivation and willpower and generating our own motivation on purpose.

Everything is there for you in the show notes. If you can’t find them in your podcast player. Go to simple on purpose.ca Click listen from the menu and you’ll find all the episodes. The transcripts to the episodes are at the bottom of the post and you’ll find all of the links and you can always email me I always write back you can always email me Shawna with a W. Shawna at simple on purpose.ca. You can also find me on Instagram at simple on purpose.ca or just drop a post in the Facebook group and share it there. Alright friends, have a great week.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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