A typical day at home

I‘ve had a number of people write me from this blog lately, asking me how I get things done. I’m guessing the subtle message to their questions is that it seems like I get a lot done.


Photo from Wikimedia Commons

I’m happy to say that being very intentional about how I manage time has increased my productivity ten-fold. However, life is life, and I still don’t get everything done on my list. I’ve got two very small children, and as you all know, no two days are the same with preschoolers! I also live in a very event-oriented culture (as opposed to time-oriented, like the U.S.), so in some ways, that makes getting things done an uphill battle.

However, just to ease some curiosity, I’ll explain a typical day for me. Keep in mind, though, that I very rarely have typical days, and this seems to change month-by-month, since there’s a baby in the house.

• 6:00-6:30 – Wake up (if I get to bed on time the night before)

• 6:30-8:00ish – Alone time. This is when I have my coffee, read my Bible, pray, check e-mail, moderate blog comments, and possibly write posts for my blogs. I’m also trying to incorporate working out here, as this really is my best time of day for it.

• 8:00-9:00 – Kids and hubby wake up, I make breakfast, we get ready for the day.

• 9:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. – I’m on the full-time Mommy and homemaker clock. I clean, cook, take kids to the park, make lunch, read stories, put the baby down for a nap, go to the grocery store, put out fires. Much like most of you, I assume. A few days a week, a university student comes to the house and helps me learn language. (At this time, my husband takes the kids, and I get house stuff done in the afternoon or evening.)

• 2:00ish – Both kids are down for naps or quiet times (please Lord!). I get on the computer and e-mail, blog, manage accounts, work on graphic design projects, study language using Rosetta Stone – whatever I need to do on the computer. I also might start working out here, if it just isn’t happening in the morning.

• 5:00 – I start dinner.

• 6:00 – Dinner time, family time, down time. We try to make this relaxing and leisurely – these days we’ve been eating outside on our balcony to enjoy the spring weather.

• 7:00-8:30ish – Get the kids bathed and in bed.

• 8:30-10:30 – Clean, sew, e-mail, watch a movie with my hubby, whatever needs to get done.

• 10:30 – bed!

Keep in mind that this is ideal for me, and this doesn’t explain those days where we have appointments, meetings, or get-togethers with friends. And more often than not, the baby doesn’t exactly take a nap at 2, or the 3-year-old isn’t cooperating for her bed time. A neighbor knocks on the door at 4 p.m. Life happens, in other words.

And because this is such a people and event-oriented culture, it’s customary to throw your to-do list out the window for the sake of relationships. That means you stay up until midnight with your neighbors, or you plan to stay three hours for tea at your friend’s house. Believe you me, that’s taken a lot of dying to self and practice for us Americans.

It’s also a late-night culture, so it’s a struggle for me as an Early Bird to flow with this. I do, though. It’s typical to go to someone’s house for tea at 9 p.m. When we visit with our neighbors over dinner, we can sometimes be there for five hours.

However, I still plan my day around getting most of my energy-spending tasks done in the morning, because that’s when I have most of my energy. I purposely spend time on the computer in the afternoons, when my energy is lowest. I’d rather sit than move around the house. Then my energy picks up a bit around dinner time, and stays higher until bedtime (hence my struggle with going to bed on time!). My best time of day, however, is the morning.

I’m blessed that my husband works from home. This means that while he’s working on the computer, I can have him hold the baby when the three-year-old is flooding the bath. I do my best to leave him to his work, but he’s flexible and willing when I need another set of hands for a few minutes. What a blessing is that, huh?

So there you have it. Right now I’m truly enjoying finding new, practical ways to maximize time and figuring out how the whole Getting Things Done concept could apply to a home manager. I’ll try an idea out, and if it’s working for the better in my life, I’ll share it here.

Does this look at all like your day?
I’m curious.

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. Do your kiddos sleep from 2-5? If so, I am sooo jealous! I am new to this blog (having found you from beingfrugal just a couple of days ago) and am in serious need of some organization/advice for time management. I have 15 month old twin girls, work 2-3 days a week and just can’t figure out how to be a mom, wife, home manager etc all at the same time. I think my biggest problem is knowing when I can leave the girls alone for a minute. They only sleep 1 1/2 hrs a day (in the AM) and other than that I feel as if I am constantly with them and therefore I get nothing done. I look forward to reading your blog for daily inspiration!!!

  2. @Lynn – Oh heavens, no! In fact, I’m typing one-handed at the moment because my 4-month-old is in my arms. When I say I work at 2 p.m. and then start dinner at 5 p.m., that doesn’t mean I work those entire 3 hours. I wish. 🙂

    I understand having kiddos that don’t sleep. Mine aren’t big fans, either. One thought – maybe don’t necessarily leave the girls do to the work. If they like to be around you, give them something to “help” with. A dry sponge or cloth might entertain them, and they can copy you. Or give them wooden spoons and Tupperware while you cook. Though I have to say – their age is a challenging one. Give yourself lots of grace. I know, easier said than done.

    Welcome, and I hope you find encouragement here!

  3. Well we are reversed in the am as my son is up at 6, daughter at 7 if I am lucky, and I roll out of bed between 7 and 8 depending on the day. Aaron leaves around 7:30am. But no two days in our home are alike, and lately we’ve had extra kids/company so often that I couldn’t even guess on a schedule. This am I was up at 6 making crepes for five kids. And school schedules now dictate most of our day, too. When Car is in school, I catch up on email, do chores and piddle around the house. Sometimes I meet a friend or go for a walk. Often I have a two year old running around the house. Afternoon is Car-Car time, running errands occasionally, depends on if we have a baby napping here or not. After Ash gets home we do the park or ride bikes or just hang out at home. Then dinner. Then hang out as a fam then bed. That is a rough estimate. I am usually in bed between 10:30 and 11. I had more of a schedule like yours with kids at home. I think you have to plan more then, especially with naps and trying to get things done with children constantly. I use my alone time to do nothing and do my errands with the girl because it is easy with her and fun, too. I have one set morning a week where I do all my deep cleaning and then touch up throughout the day as needed.

    Thanks for the post! Great to have more of an idea of your day!

  4. The timings are about right, except I don’t often get stuff done in the morning because I am always out – I have a running group 4 times a week, take Nate to childminding one morning while I do errands and swim on Fridays…which only leaves two mornings at home. I try to get things tidied before I leave the house and then do what really needs to get done while he naps in the afternoon. I have been inspired by your home management system and am trying out the daily dockets…so far they are helping me stay on track a little better (when I remember to do them the night before!!) Also enjoyed your series on Financial Management. I’m curious though – what does the book say about having Credit Cards if you pay them off immediately? We use credit cards frequently because they are easier than cash and I feel almost necessary sometimes – but we’ve never paid a cent in interest. Just wondering!

    Jens last blog post..Yummy Mummy’s

  5. I love these kinds of posts. My hubs is making plans to work at home soon, I can’t wait so I can take advantage asap. I”m going to bookmark this to read all later. My 3 yr. old is in the frig. ah!

    Monicas last blog post..Popping the bubble: a thought from Great Wolf Lodge

  6. @Jodi – You’re welcome! Thanks for inspiring it. 😉

    @Jen – I’ll write a whole other post soon about what DR says about credit cards. Check out his site if you’re interested in reading up…

    @Monica – I love hearing about other mom’s days, too. Makes me feel normal. Hope your 3-yr-old didn’t do anything too damaging in the fridge. I found mine starting the washing machine today…

  7. Wow! That is amazingly like my day with two slight variations – my girls go to bed when your children do but my kids get up at 7:00 and never sleep in. And I start supper in the morning – I find it is the best time for me personally to think about food and so I am a master at pre-making meals.

    That nap window is the most helpful time, isn’t it?

    Melissas Howards last blog post..mother’s day bouquet

  8. Your day sounds a lot like mine except I have one 3 year old who hates to sleep. That 8:30 to 10 spot I spend putting her back in bed. I was getting up in the am to workout but then I got so exhausted fighting with her bed time… (and my hubby is exhausted from work period so he is fast asleep by this time). Anyway I like reading other’s schedules. People ask me how I get so much done. I don’t have tv number one. I think that helps a lot.

    Nice blog.

    It’s nap time here so I have to get back to work .

  9. Dawn Meisch says:

    I see you use Rosetta Stone. I was leery of it because I don’t trust commercials. Do you like it? Does it really work?

  10. I love this post! I like your “full-time mommy mode”. I need to be much better at that!
    .-= BeccaJane´s last blog ..Trying So Hard =-.

  11. Looks similar to my day, except that I am on the computer sporadically through the entire day. I’m finding, though, that blocks of time work better, except when I have a block of time, I want to just take a nap!

    6:00am- boys wake up; hubby gets up with them while I am still unconscious in bed from my traumatic day (taking care of our 2 boys, ages 2 & 4) the day before.
    8:00am-I emerge from the bedroom, barely awake, to start the day. Check email.
    9:00am-12:00pm- hubby goes to work, and I play with kids, run errands with kids, have occasional playdates, with a few cartoons thrown in there for good measure.
    12:00-1:00pm- lunch time
    1:00-3:00pm- nap time for boys, and about 4 days out of the week I take one too, or use this time for computer work.
    3:00-5:00pm- boys wake up, prepare dinner, run quick errands when hubby gets home.
    5:00-8:00pm- family time/ dinner/etc.
    8:00pm- boys go to bed, I work until 11pm (my photography business).

    This schedule does not work for me all the time because sometimes by 8pm I just want to veg and watch TV. No time for exercise with this schedule and I was doing daily devotions before 8am but it is so hard to get up! I need help!!! Thanks for the great article, though – I do see many areas I could improve.
    .-= Jaimie´s last blog ..The Winners!! =-.

  12. that culture seems familiar to me, let me guess, Egypt? i’ve been going through the same transition challenges after i left the States, and yep, the shift was and still is really difficult. especially when you have family living here too and in-laws, in addition to the other many social circles created everywhere. it’s a great thing, and makes you feel you’re not alone in this world. but i’m with you that it makes it so hard to put some order into one’s life. it needs guts and flexibility at the same time. enjoy your life, and thanks for the advice.

  13. Recently started reading your blogs and came across this old one…. Wish I could stay at home with my 2 year old! I work fulltime and unfortunately i am not gettin much help from my hubby (he leaves at 6.30 am and arrives at 8.30 pm). Now trying to set up my own companyy in order for me to have more time at home with my daughter, especially when she will be going to preschool (as they finish at 2 pm). Will be following your blog on organizing tips, could definitely use some!

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