Essential Family Life Habits – Part 1

Free printable - print it as a photo, and hang it on your fridge in a magnetic 4x6 frame!

Free printable – print it as a photo, and hang it on your fridge in a magnetic 4×6 frame!

I want to be better at doing the things that matter…better at intentionally living my life, and bringing glory to God in all I do.

I know the only way (at least for me) to have this  kind of intentionality is to plan it. SO, I’ve been working away…writing, and praying – for God to show me what’s important – what to plan. I wanted to make a list of the most important activities to do as a family each day, week, month, year…

As I started to write it out I realized that to be better for my family, I have to first take better care of myself. So I decided to break my list into two parts: habits for myself, and habits for my family.

This post is part 1 of these essential habits that I really believe God is leading me to focus on, and I’m starting with the things we should do for ourselves. Even Jesus made time to rest, be alone with God, and take care of Himself, and if we’re going to follow Him, we need to take care of ourselves too.

So here we go sweet sisters. Stick with me…I really believe all these things are important for us…

Essential Life Habits for Yourself

Daily

  • Bible/prayer time – start your day with a quiet time (alone) before your kids wake up. Study your Bible and pray – for your day, your family, and others. If you start the day with Jesus, it’s easier to stay focused on Him throughout the rest of your day.
  • Plan your day – after your quiet time, or the night before, plan your day. Use a daily docket or planner to write out your to do list, daily cleaning items, and a rough schedule for your day. This will keep you on task, so you don’t get lost in distractions. Here is the agenda I use.
  • Shower & get ready for the day – get dressed in something other than pajamas and fix your hair. When you get ready for the day, you will feel much more motivated to accomplish the tasks before you. Check out FlyLady for more helpful tips. She recommends dressing to shoes even when you’re staying home all day!
  • Feed yourself healthy food – it’s easy to spend so much time preparing healthy food for your kids, that you don’t take time to feed yourself well too. Don’t make this mistake…eat plenty of fruits and veggies, and drink plenty of water!
  • Daily cleaning/chores – schedule time everyday to do your daily cleaning tasks. If you run the dishwasher and do one load of laundry (wash, dry, fold & put away) everyday, you won’t get so behind that it feels impossible to catch up! If you missed it, check out my housekeeping post for a house cleaning list, and a schedule that breaks it down into manageable parts.
  • Reply to emails/messages – set a specific time or times each day that you will reply to e-mails, calls, texts, etc. Don’t let your inbox become an all day distraction, but don’t procrastinate it either. Like the laundry and dishes – if you keep up with it everyday, it won’t overwhelm you. Here is an awesome article on essential e-mail habits.
  • Free time – schedule time into your day to do the things that might otherwise be a never-ending distraction (social media, TV, etc.) It’s so easy to get sucked into these things, and lose countless minutes or hours doing nothing, but if you plan short times throughout your day, then you can still enjoy a little, without wasting your time away.
  • 8+ hours of sleep  – this is SO important. If you don’t get the sleep you need at night, you won’t be able to give your best to anything else. Go to bed early and without distractions – turn off your TV, and leave your computer and cell phone far from your bed. The radiation from your phone is harmful, and does not allow for a restful night of sleep. Also, try making your room as dark as possible – when you sleep in the dark, your body is able to produce melatonin, which works to prevent cancer and other diseases!

Weekly

  • Exercise – I don’t know about you, but I think exercising sucks. I really dread it, but once I’m done, I feel so much better. It’s crucial for your health, so make time for it – 3 times a week if you can.
  • Review your calendar – before you go grocery shopping, take time to go over your calendar for the upcoming week. This will prepare and organize you for what’s coming up, and help you plan your meals.
  • Plan your weekly menu – after you go over your calendar, plan your menu out. Here’s a weekly menu planner to print and fill-in each week.
  • Update your master to do list – each week, print a new master to do list. Move some of your long-term items to this month, and some of your items for this month to this week.
  • Weekly cleaning/chores – in addition to your daily chores, make time to do your weekly chores too. If you follow my cleaning schedule, you will only have to do about 2-4 weekly chores each day.
  • Run errands – make a list of the errands you need to run, try to pick one day to get them all done for the week, and don’t get distracted! Go into each store, get what you need, and get out! 🙂
  • Stay in touch with your friends – if you have kiddos, it can be so hard to make time for your other relationships, but it’s so important. Call, e-mail, text or Facebook, and connect in person. We weren’t meant to do life alone. If you study the Proverbs 31 woman, it clearly states that she had help! God made us to need each other, so take care of your friendships, and do life together!

Monthly

  • Prepare a monthly calendar – at the start of each month, fill out the plans you know you have, including regular activities like date night and time with friends (see below). Keep your calendar updated throughout the month as new plans are made. Here’s a monthly calendar and one for June if you prefer a paper calendar that you can hand write.
  • Prepare your monthly cleaning schedule – print a schedule for the month, fill in the dates, and add your semi-annual and annual chores. For the month of June, try to wash your curtains and windows, clean your oven, and launder all of your rugs, pillows and comforters.
  • Date night with your spouse – make it a priority. One of the best gifts you can give to your kids is a healthy marriage, so at least one night a month, get away alone. This could be a good opportunity for the kids to have a sleepover with their grandparents!
  • Spend time with friends – make a point to connect in person at least once a month. Get together for a family dinner, a night out without the kids, or even a weekend camping trip. Sometimes it can seem like a big effort, but investing in friendships is so worth the time you put in!
  • Finish a long-term to do item – each month, try to complete at least one task from your long-term to do list.
  • Enjoy a favorite hobby – don’t forget about the things you loved to do before you had kids. Make time at least once a month to do something you really enjoy.
  • Scrapbook/sort & print photos – set aside time each month to sort/file all the photos you’ve taken from the previous month. Print them, share them with family, and hang them up or get them in a scrapbook or album. By the way, my kids are 4 & almost 6 and neither of them have even one picture in their scrapbooks. If your kiddos are still babies, start now! 😉

Semi-Annually & Annually

  • Prepare a yearly calendar – at the end of each year, prepare a calendar for the coming year with dates that you already have planned (kid’s activities, birthdays, vacation, etc.) Also, begin to schedule in important activities that you want to make sure you have time for – like dates with your kids (check next week’s post).
  • Plan your budget – at the start of each year, make time to plan a budget. Check out Dave Ramsey’s website for tons of helpful forms, and all the info you need to get started. God shows us in the Bible that money is the root of many evils, so take the time to plan and be a good steward of all that God provides.
  • Weekend away with spouse – pick one weekend a year to get away with your husband. You don’t have to go anywhere expensive – you could even stay at home and just plan some fun activities together – as long as you’re spending quality time without your kiddos!
  • Join a Bible study – make an effort to attend at least one Bible study a year. You will learn new things from your group, and will benefit greatly from the fellowship time. If you have it in your area, I so highly recommend Community Bible Study – an interdenominational and national bible study that has an amazing children’s program, and the most awesome in-depth studies of the Bible that I have ever done.
  • Read a book – decide to read at least one book each year – it increases your knowledge, keeps your mind sharp, and helps you improve yourself!
  • Yearly doctor visit
  • Go to the dentist

That’s it for this week. If you’re ready to start working on your habits too, remember to take it one step at a time. If you try to do it all at once, you will set yourself up for failure. Pray and then prioritize what’s most important for you right now, start there, and then begin to work your way down your list.

Also remember that this is my list because these are many of the things I am not doing. I feed myself terribly, often stay up until 2:00 am, wear the same clothes I slept in, and go months without making time for my friends. Not to mention that I’ve only been to the dentist once since my oldest was born 6 years ago.

So know that I’m doing this right along with you…working on the things that I want to become habits, and eventually change who I am. I want to give my best to God in all I do, to ultimately bring Him glory and praise.

Here is a summary of today’s habits, and a peek at the family habits that will be in next week’s post.

Essential Family Life Habits

Hugs to you for the rest of your week ~ Sara

Complete Housekeeping Printable Set!

I am SO sorry this post is late. I’m not sure why I thought I could finish all of these in a week, but boy was I wrong! I have been eating, breathing and sleeping these darn printables, but I’m so excited to finally have them done (after 5 years on my to do list) and to share them with you!

I recommend putting all of these in a home management binder OR on a cute clipboard.
Here we go…

Weekly Menu: the day before you go grocery shopping, plan out your menu. This will save you considerable time and money. Plan breakfast, lunch and dinner for every day of the week. Note any plans/events you have for each day, so you know what meals to prepare (i.e. if your kids have a sport/activity until late one night, you may want to plan something quick and easy OR have take-out).

Weekly Menu

Shopping List: add to your home management binder or clipboard, and keep track of items as you think of them. Here is the Word file, so you can customize your store names: Shopping List

Shopping List

Master House Cleaning List: I included every chore I could think of, and divided them up by frequency. Note the colors at the top, as they coordinate with the next printable. 🙂

Master House Cleaning List

Monthly Cleaning Schedule: print each month and write in the dates/month. This took me the absolute longest to finish, but I’m so excited about it! Each chore is underlined in a color based on frequency (see above)…the yellow underline indicates a once-weekly chore, and the blue a once-monthly. There are also purple and pink blanks for you to fill in 3 semi-annual and/or annual chores. At the bottom, I listed the daily chores to complete every day, and the annual chores broken down by suggested months. I put a ton of thought into how to split everything up, and make it the most manageable – I hope you like it 🙂

Monthly-Cleaning-Schedule---Blank

My Daily Agenda: fill one out at the start of every day, OR the night before. Copy over your meals from your Weekly Menu, and your Daily Chores/Other Cleaning from your Cleaning Schedule. Make your to do list, set a schedule for your day, and get to work! Stay focused and work as well and quickly as you can on each chore, so you have more time to do the most important stuff (like spending time with your kiddos). “Wherever you are, be all there!” ~ Jim Elliot

My Daily Agenda

Master To Do List: this goes a long with your Daily Agenda. Print a new page each week, and try to move at least one item from your ‘Long Term’ list to ‘This Month,’ and a couple of items from ‘This Month’ to ‘This Week.’

Master To Do List

Responsibility Chart: this one’s for the kiddos! Instead of paying them, have them complete chores simply because they are part of the family! Then you can also give them an allowance just for being part of the family. For my 3 & 5-year-old we do $0.25 for tithe, $0.25 for give, $.025 for save and $1.75 for spend each week. You can indirectly attach the chores to their allowance by paying yourself (with their money) for any chores they don’t complete. This is a blank chart for you to print, and write in your child’s name and chores!

Responsibility Chart - Blank Write-In

Here is the Responsibility Chart we use for our girls. For age-appropriate chores for your kiddos, check-out this awesome list from Focus on the Family.

Responsibility Chart - Sample

I hope to eventually share more printables for a home management binder, but this is all I could muster up for this week…I need to go take a shower AND a nap! 😉

If you’d like more custom options for any of these printables, visit my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/GraceByFaith

And Happy Mother’s Day to all you mamas out there!!

*NEW UPDATE 9/12/15*
Monthly Cleaning Checklist: similar to my monthly cleaning schedule, but this checklist groups the chores by week instead of day, which allows for more flexibility in your routine! Pick which one works best for you and your home!

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Hugs ~ Sara

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