This particular season of life is about as busy as it gets for our family. As my friend, Chris Conlee says, "Busyness is the enemy of intimacy." As this fall season began, my wife and I wanted to be sure that we were diligent to create the disciplines in our schedules to protect the most important things. Those "things" include, a priority time, exercise, time with our kids and time together. This means we have a fairly rigorous schedule. This is what it looks like..
4:45am Wake up
5:00am Andy has priority time // Amanda leaves to go exercise
6:00am Andy starts the breakfast routine...kids begin to emerge...
6:30am Amanda arrives back home // Andy leaves to go exercise then to work. From here we go about our day. Amanda has her priority time, sometime mid-morning (around the nap schedule of our youngest). Andy is in a variety of meetings, planning sessions or study time for the next sermon series, radio show or speaking engagement.
5:30pm Andy arrives home for dinner and a standing ovation from my kids :) We love to protect dinner time so we require our kids to stay seated until everyone has eaten. We talk and laugh and usually spill a drink or make some other mess.
6:30pm We, meaning all able bodied persons, clean the kitchen. Usually Andy ends up taking the kids to the playroom, leaving Amanda to complete the task in peace.
7:00pm Bathtime! This is one of Andy's key times with the kids. We splash and have a great time. Meanwhile, Amanda takes our youngest to bed (occasionally we switch off so I get a little time with my youngest).
7:30pm Stories, prayers and bedtime for the middle two boys. Andy usually spends time with our oldest to read, play a video game or Legos.
8:15pm Prayers and bedtime for our oldest.
8:30pm Our first moment together as a couple, which is usually an exhausted look at each other as we collapse on the couch. We try to allow at least a half-hour to check our social media and emails, this is particularly refreshing for Amanda, who likes to check in with the outside world. Sometimes we read.
9:00pm We prep for tomorrow. We are believers in the principle, "the key to tomorrow is today." Lunches are made, bags are packed and clothes are selected.
9:30pm We are ready for bed or that other thing married people like to do, but that's for another blog post. :)
As you can see, this is a very intense schedule. This allows for us to manage what we feel are the priorities of our lives. There are many exceptions not listed here like, lazy Saturday mornings, the Sunday routine, church on Wednesday nights, Amanda's Bible study group she leads, ball practices and games, weekend conferences or weddings I'm involved in, Amanda's Bunco group, etc. This schedule is not perfect, and NO, we don't execute it perfectly each day. We have the same interruptions you do: sick kids, the early riser, late meetings, dinner guests, stress from work, family obligations, etc. However, we have determined to create and maintain a baseline for our lives so when things get hairy, we know what to come back to.
I provide this inside look at our lives to give you an example. If you like what you see, steal our ideas. If you dont, make up your own. The one thing I hope you take away is the need to develop a schedule that protects your values. This weekend is Labor Day; it's a great opportunity to take a deep breath and recalibrate your schedule. Take the extra time this weekend to discuss what needs to change and improve about how you use your time. Remember, everything happens in a timeslot. Be diligent and make sure your values live in a predictable timeslot. Good intentions will NOT protect your values.
If your life is anything like ours, you have to decide what you can and cannot do right now. For us, this means a lot less TV and a little less sleep. I hope this makes sense. Please add your ideas on managing the busyness of family life.
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