My oldest daughter and I had a nice little rhythm in our life.
When my second daughter was about to be born, I figured this new addition was going to shake things up a little bit.
Everyone told me that having a toddler and a newborn is no joke. They warned that I should say goodbye to my schedule because our routine was going to get rocked in a big way.
They would give me those “aren’t you adorable” and “you’ll find out soon” looks when I would say that I wasn’t too worried and I knew we would find our rhythm again.
So when my younger daughter was born, I braced myself for the worst. Expecting our life to be turned upside down.
Only… it wasn’t.
Sure, there was a lot more nursing, changing, and napping going on in our house, but our basic rourtine stayed the same.
How is that even possible??
Block scheduling is the best friend of productive minimalist moms. Why?
Because it’s simple.
It provides you with the predictability and structure that you and your children crave, while simultaneously giving you the freedom and flexibility to live a stress-free life. Block Scheduling will make your life easier in the good times… and in the tough times!
Do you feel like there are never enough hours in a day? Like you’re always trying to keep up with the clock?
There’s a Block for that!
Feel like you are always running but never get anything done… while your never-ending to-do list just keeps getting bigger?
There’s a Block for that!
Do you never know when to schedule appointments and your kids end up napping at different times every day?
There’s a Block for that, too!
Do you want to spend more quality time with your family instead of feeling like a bystander watching them enjoy life while you clean up after dinner?
There’s even a Block for that!
Every curve ball that life can throw at you, you can tuck neatly into one of your blocks.
This system has worked for us when I was working outside the home, when I was a stay-at-home mom with a newborn, when I was a stay-at-home mom with a toddler, when I was a stay-at-home mom with a toddler and a newborn, and now that I am a work-at-home/homeschool mom with a toddler and a preschooler.
And it’s even working for us currently with my husband working at home full-time as well (Coronavirus, anyone?).
So let’s get into how you can create your own block schedule!
And if you prefer to watch instead of read, you can check out this video:
What is Block Scheduling?
Block Scheduling is where you take your day and divide it into neat little sections.
It isn’t too different from any other daily schedule, except for one major thing:
Instead of focusing on individual hours, you focus on blocks of time.
Why does this change everything?
- Because blocks give you enough time to get things done without feeling rushed.
- They provide breathing room between activities instead of making you feel like you are scurrying from one task to another.
- And the blocks provide predictability. When you need to schedule something, you already know where it goes.
Here’s an illustration about the difference.
Picture Christmas Morning. Your children have a pile of gifts to unwrap and they are excited. You are excited too and you want them to enjoy them all as much as possible.
So you decide to let them open them all right away. One right after the other until they are finished.
They are, of course, elated about this and proceed to open each gift as quickly as possible!
Only, they can barely be excited about the one before it is time to open another. And when they are all opened, they aren’t sure which one to play with first, yet they are reluctant to share until they have finished their “job” of playing with everything until they are “done.”
No picture that same Christmas again. The same presents and people are there. But there is one small change.
Instead of opening all the presents at once, they are spaced out to allow each gift to be fully enjoyed before moving on to the next one.
They receive on gift first thing in the morning on Christmas Eve and play with it all day. Before supper on Christmas Eve they get to open another.
On Christmas Day they open their stockings in the morning, then wait until after breakfast for another present. All through the day, they receive one gift at a time until they have enjoyed them all.
Which scenario sounds less stressful?
The one where there is time to be in the moment instead of rushing from task to task.
The occasion was the same, the gifts were the same, and the people were the same, but the feeling was different.
How to Create a Block Schedule
Ready to dig in? Get a notebook and a pen, or you can grab my Autopilot Workbook if you want to use my block schedule template and get your entire house running on autopilot!
1) Divide Your Day Into Blocks
The first thing to do when you are building your block schedule is to… wait for it… divide your day into blocks!
Do you prefer to have fewer, longer blocks in your day? Or shorter, more frequent blocks?
Do you work outside the home? Then you may need a couple of long blocks with some shorter ones sprinkled in.
Do you want all of your blocks to be the same length?
You can divide your day into as many blocks as you think would work for your routine and life. But I recommend that you try 4-7 blocks to start with. (I personally use 5 in my day.)
2) Decide on the Length of Your Blocks
The blocks can be any size that fit your life.
I recommend having your blocks be anywhere from 2-4 hours long, but I wouldn’t go any shorter or longer than that.
As a general rule, If your blocks are too short you won’t get everything done that you need to in that block without feeling rushed. If the blocks are too long, you will feel like you have so much time that you procrastinate… and won’t get anything done!
The only exception to that rule is that if you work outside the home or are a student, you typically have a one-hour block for lunch and errands.
If you aren’t sure what size of blocks to have, start with equal three-hour blocks throughout the day.
You can always adjust them if you need to. 🙂
3) Name Your Blocks
Next, give each block a name or a label.
Don’t overthink this, just use whatever makes sense to you.
For example, my first block of the day is named “Morning Block”…shocking and creative, I know.
The reason that I name my blocks is so that it’s easy to remember which activities belong in each block.
4) Divide Your Daily Responsibilities
Now decide what types of activities will go into each block.
For example, our second block of the day is our Out and About Block and goes from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm.
Here are the activities that would go into this category: Grocery Shopping, Trips to the Park, Doctor’s Appointments, Music Lessons, Dentist Appointments, Play Dates, Trips to the Museum, Going on Hikes, Going on Walks, and anything else that involves us…. you guessed it!… getting out of the house.
Beneath each block, write down every activity that will fit into that block.
My Block Schedule
Want to see an example of a block schedule?
I’ll show you mine!
Keep in mind that our schedule works well for us, but your blocks/activities/needs may be completely different.
That’s the beauty of the blocks! They can be tailored for every situation.
And by every situation, I mean every situation!
Alright here is my block schedule:
Block One: Morning Block 6:00-10:00
Our morning block is one of our longer blocks of the day because I get up before the girls do to get started on my Morning Routine.
After the girls wake up, usually between 7:00-7:30, and my oldest daughter completes her morning checklist (if you have the Autopilot Workbook, be sure to use the Morning Checklist for Kids.)
Then we do the first step in our Laundry Routine.
After we start the laundry, we eat breakfast (check out these quick, healthy breakfast ideas). As the girls are eating, I read a Bible story to them, work on their memory verses, and listen to a hymn.
After breakfast, we clean the kitchen and do our morning chores.
(Check out My Minimalist Weekly Cleaning Routine, if you want to see how I only spend 15-30 minutes a day cleaning. And look at the Five Steps To Creating a Weekly Cleaning Routine if you want to set up your own cleaning schedule.)
If your kids are home from school right now, this is an excellent time for them to get more involved in household duties. You can check out my post How to Teach Your Children to Enjoy Doing Chores if you need some ideas to get them started.
2023 Update: If you want to see my girls’ checklists a 8 and 5, watch this video!
Block Two: Out and About Block 10:00-1:00
Our second block of the day is when we do things that require us to leave the house or see people.
With the Coronavirus quarantines and social isolation going on, this block is currently changed to the Get Outside | Learning Block.
Here are the things that went into this block Pre-Coronavirus:
Grocery Shopping, Trips to the Park, Doctor’s Appointments, Music Lessons, Dentist Appointments, Play Dates, Trips to the Museum, Going on Hikes, Going on Walks, and anything else that involved us getting out of the house.
Now that this block looks a little different, ith as the following things in it:
I still do my best to get the girls to spend some time outside every single day, even if it is just in the backyard. If you want to get your kids outside every day too, I highly recommend getting some good rain jackets and rain suits which make playing outside in all weather more fun!
Currently in this block are also things like piano practicing, learning games (you can look on YouTube or Google for “fun ways to learn _________” if your children are home from school or if you are homeschooling and want to mix things up.)
Another great activity to do with your kids inside is to make bread! Your house will smell great, you will keep the kids busy for a while, and of course, you’ll have homemade bread!
And there are some things that we do in this block whether we are in quarantine or not.
If you want to see an example of a block schedule from a post I made after COVID 19, check out this post.
Block Three: Nap Block 1:00-3:30
Basically, the Queen of England would have to be coming over for me to schedule something during this block.
It might be my favorite block of the day… but don’t tell the other blocks I said that!
This is the shortest block of the day because kids only sleep so long, amiright?
This block is really basic. The first thing that we do is get ready for a nap. Everyone uses the potty, brushes teeth, and then we do some solid storytime!
With the Quarantines in effect and the girls not getting a lot of social interaction, we now try to finish up our previous block a little early so we can get to the stories sooner!
If you are getting sick of reading the same books over and over while being stuck at home, here are a few suggestions for you:
If you have toddlers, you can check out my favorite Toddler Books That Will Keep Your Toddler’s Attention.
I try to let each girl pick at least one book before their nap. Usually, my younger daughter will listen to her story then play on the floor while I read the longer stories.
After we read, the girls go down for naps.
My oldest daughter has been on an A-B nap schedule since she turned four. She now alternates nap days and quiet time days.
She gets too tired and cranky if she skips naps for two days in a row (which happens from time to time) but yet if she naps every day she is too awake for bedtime.
During quiet time, she has to play quietly in her room until I come to get her so that I can still get my work done.
Block Four: Evening Block 3:30-7:30
The Evening Block is our second four-hour block in the day.
This block encompasses everything that happens between when the girls wake up and when they go to bed.
The first thing we do when the girls wake up is fold and put away the laundry.
I fold Ross’s and my clothes, while my oldest daughter folds the girls’ clothes, then my younger daughter helps her put everything away.
Before the quarantine, we would also do any lessons that we can’t do in our Out and About Block.
The place that we did our swimming lessons didn’t offer lessons during the day. So we took the earliest session that they offered in the evenings.
During this block, Ross and I also workout. When the weather is nice, we load the girls into our double bike trailer that converts into a jogging stroller and go on a family run or bike ride together.
Then we will eat dinner, clean up the dinner dishes, and have family worship time.
We also give the girls baths if needed (we don’t do baths every day… it saves water (which saves $$). And they don’t get so dirty every day that washing their faces and hands can’t take care of it.
Block 5: Work Block 7:30-10:30
Once the kids are in bed for the night, we usually get back to work!
We finish up cleaning the kitchen if we didn’t get it done in the previous block, then we grab our laptops and work for a couple of hours.
What to keep in mind as you build your schedule:
1) Give yourself enough time to accomplish your tasks.
2) But don’t make the blocks too long or you will procrastinate!
3) Allow for flexibility: Since no two days are exactly alike, make sure your schedule will work on your busiest day as well as your least busy day.
4) Schedule in Down Time: If you feel like you are always running and never have time to enjoy life, schedule in some downtime. That might be part of your morning routine before everyone else wakes up, it could be at nap time, or it could be in the evening when everyone is in bed.
Ready to Start Easily Managing Your Home?
Then Check out Put Your Home on Autopilot!
In Put Your Home on Autopilot, you will learn how to set up
- A Daily Block Schedule
- A Laundry Routine
- A Kitchen Cleaning Routine
- A Morning Routine for Mom
- A Morning Routine for Each Kid
- An Evening Routine for Each Kid
- An Evening Routine for Mom
- A Weekly Cleaning Routine
- A Chore Routine for Each Kid
- And More!
In just 8 weeks or less you will go from feeling overwhelmed to in control. And if you have any questions along the way, I’m only an email away!
I hope to see you inside the course!
(Or if you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of gal, you can check out my DIY Resources for Creating Your Routines.)
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I hope to see you inside the program!
(Or if you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of gal, you can check out my DIY Streamlining Resources!)
You May Also Enjoy…
If you want to add a minimalist cleaning routine to your daily schedule, check out My Simple Weekly Cleaning Schedule.
Check out How to Create a Morning Routine to start your day right…even if you aren’t a morning person!
And head over to How to Create a Bedtime Routine and Get Your Kids to Bed On Time if you need some predictability in your evenings!