Today was the first day of school for my oldest son – the first official school day in seven years! He started high school today, and I definitely have mixed emotions about it. On one hand, I know he will do really well, but on the other hand, it feels like something is missing when he’s not around.
With his school day being so extremely long, it means that his personal schedule has to change to adapt to his new needs, and I’m now easing everyone else into his sleeping/waking schedule so that they can still see him when he’s around. If I don’t, he’ll leave before they wake up and get home when they are heading for bed.
I also need to change our family chore schedules since he won’t be around for the things he’s currently slotted for. I find that basic schedules for our daily routine really help keep us all on track and helps us have a more relaxed feeling about our time, since we all know that there’s time for everything and the important things will get done.
I was actually talking to a relative about this last night. She told me “I don’t know how you do all that you do.” I told her that I find Stephen Covey’s visual demonstration of filling a container with large rocks, small rocks, gravel, sand, and water very helpful. If you first put in the largest items, and then put in each additional item according to it’s size (ie, largest to smallest), you will get a lot more in than if you haphazardly put in whatever your hand happens to touch first, and you will ensure that the biggest things always fit in.
It’s the same thing with our time and priorities. All of us have the really important things that we need to do – our ‘big rocks’. And there are plenty of little things that we can fill our days with that don’t really matter much (that would be the sand and water) that could be fit around other things. What happens when we just do whatever we want to do without assigning priorities to our activities? Usually, the big rocks don’t get put in – we end up not doing the most important things that really matter the most, because we don’t have time for it – we’ve filled up our containers with the small stuff.
What I try to do is assess what my personal big rocks are – my husband, my children, their education, regular meals and chores to keep our home running smoothly – and schedule in time for those things. For example, I make sure to hit all the academics with my kids first thing in the day, because I know that if I take care of everything else first, the day would be over and I would never get around to working with them on the academic stuff! All the other things I need to do I schedule for later in the day.