UNBUSYING and Schedules vs. Routines – What’s the Difference?

One of the most common questions I get from my community is “How do you get it all done?”┬áPeople assume that I’m insanely busy, never sleep, and live on coffee. I mean, as a mama of two, homeschooling, running a business, keeping up with my home, and constantly planning the next family adventure, sure…. I’m a busy person. But the secret to getting everything done is that I actually try NOT to be busy. In fact, you might say, I “unbusy” my family’s life as much as possible.

If you’re feeling completely overwhelmed with everything that you’re doing – planning healthy meals for your family, keeping track of bills and birthdays, planning learning activities for your kids, making sure you get to appointments and meetings on time, balancing a job, or any of the other thousands of things that parents do… well then you’re right where you need to be!

Here are my tips and tricks for unbusying and getting control of your family’s schedules and routines:

#1 Schedules vs Routines – Let’s get clear on this first. A schedule and a routine are NOT the same thing, so we shouldn’t use those words interchangeably. A schedule is something that is rigid, not flexible, and needs to be adhered to for any success. A schedule is time-strict, meaning you do X at this time, and Y at this time.

Many families who are feeling overwhelmed try to “fix” things by setting a strict schedule, and while they might stick with it for a day or so, it often falls off and they end up right back where they were – overwhelmed, frustrated, and even more hopeless since that didn’t work.

A routine on the other hand, is flexible, changeable, and follows a natural flow and rhythm to your family’s lives. It allows everyone to know what is happening next while still allowing for those random changes and moments that are key to a happy, healthy, and exciting life!

Now, some families will set up a solid routine and attempt to ditch a schedule all together. Unfortunately, this won’t work in the longterm either, as often things like paying bills late or missing important appointments might happen!

To be truly successful, you need BOTH a schedule and a routine. The key is how you balance the two.

Your schedule should be quick and easy to manage and look at, and should involve very little portions of your calendar. The things you schedule are the immovable/unflexible things in your life like doctor’s appointments, important meetings, schedule phone calls or dinner dates, etc. It may even be things that you tend to put off that you need to make a priority like self-care, planning time, and the like.

Your routine then fills all of the gaps in your day. It’s the natural rhythm of your family’s life that, when you pay close attention to it, will be very easy to spot and map out. Things like meals, nap times, play times, reading and activity times, etc. When you are following your family’s natural flow, everything easily falls into place! Trust me.

#2 Unbusying – Ok this part is important so pay attention! If your schedule takes up most of your day, you need to do some serious unbusying. You can’t expect to say “yes” to a thousand things and also be able to pay attention to your family’s rhythms and flow. It just won’t happen.

The first thing you need to do is get clear on your priorities – what are the things that are most important to you and your family to be truly happy and healthy? Write these things down – you really shouldn’t have more than 3-5 of them. Now look at your schedule again. How many of the things you have on your schedule are reflecting your family’s priorities? How many can you get rid of?

The average family has far too many things they are saying “yes” to that hinders them from truly connecting and following their natural rhythm as a family. Don’t let this happen to you! Get clear on your priorities and cut out anything that doesn’t align. Clear your schedule so you can focus on your routine and rhythm!

#3 Flexibility and Patience – If you’re deep in the mire of overwhelm and frustration with everything going on in your life right now, you need to understand that it may take some time and adjustment to sort things out. Getting unbusy and focusing on balancing your schedule and routine will help tremendously, but there will be some trial and error and commitment to the process. Be flexible and patient with yourself and your kids/family as you adjust to this new normal.

You may even find that as you cut out commitments, your family doesn’t quite know HOW to just “be” with each other. Find time to connect and love and enjoy spending your newly calm times together. <3

#4 Planning – Keeping everything organized in one place is super important for consistency in scheduling and keeping your routine! If you have a planner that you love, fantastic! If you don’t, check out the planner that I created and use myself!

Good luck!