A lot of people have told me how they’ve struggled with a lack of structure in their day while stuck at home during this quarantine. While I certainly don’t have all the answers, I’ve been homeschooled and working from home almost my whole life, so I’ve managed to figure out a daily structure in the setting of home that works really well for me. Everyone has different needs and responsibilities, but I wanted to share what works for me in the hope that you can use and adapt the ideas to your lifestyle.
Basically, I section my time into five categories and then break them up accordingly. The categories are:
- Productive things
- Household chores
What I find helps me to thrive the best is to do a little bit of each thing at a time and cycle through them. That way I don’t get too burnt out on any one thing and I’m always starting with a fresh mental state on the next thing.
How long I spend on any one thing will usually depend on how much I need to accomplish that day. If I have a lot of business work to do, each segment spent on that will be longer. If I don’t have much, they’ll be shorter. I’m also flexible to pay attention to how I’m reacting to each task—if I’m really in a groove, I’ll keep at it as long as I have the energy.
How do I keep finding things to do in each category all day?
- Prayer—this I actually only structure into my day at very specific times to make sure it actually happens. I do my main prayer time right after breakfast, and a little Bible reading after lunch and dinner. Dispersing the structured prayer at several intervals helps me to have more awareness of companionship with God throughout the day and to talk to Him casually and as needed at other times.
- Productive things—for me this might be painting, working on finances, working on my website—anything that would fall into a work category that I would consider “accomplishing something.”
- Rest—I generally do reading or make music or art for fun, but this could be anything. I especially want to stress leisure. I think today we have forgotten how to take real breaks. Breaks keep our minds fresh and thriving, and we weren’t even made for the sake of accomplishing things in the first place. Resting is every bit as important as working and it needs to have a place on the to-do list that is just as non-negotiable as work. Rest is when we can find God naturally, when we revive our spirit, when we are actually living. I personally have long struggled with feeling guilty for resting. That is nonsense. I know certain states in life, such as motherhood, allow for less rest than others. But make it fit where it can. It will make you more at peace and more available to the people and things you are responsible for.
- Exercise—this doesn’t need to be a big deal. I do exercise intensely several times a week, but the exercise I scatter throughout the day is just little things to get my blood flowing. I take walks, do a few strength exercises, whatever. I struggle with a “go big or go home” attitude and tend to not do anything if I can’t do a complete something. This robs me. Just a tiny bit of movement sprinkled between activities goes a long way toward keeping me alert, happy, and thriving.
- Household chores—kind of speaks for itself.
So throughout the day I cycle through these things. Caring for and spending time with family members and eating meals take precedence. Whenever it’s time to do these things, I step outside the cycle, give them my full attention, and return to the cycle only when the more important thing has been completed. (At least that’s what I try to do!)
I stay away from social media for all but once a day lest it take over my life. This has freed me tremendously.
Again, this is what works for me. It’s not foolproof. But I hope it can get someone thinking about some ways to make life structured in a meaningful way while life is different, and maybe afterward, too.