Earlier this month I mentioned that one of my goals was to develop and follow a daily schedule.
I never had a daily plan when I was working. The plan was: get the kids to childcare/school, go to work, come home and try to get as much shit done before passing out from exhaustion. Lather, rinse, repeat.
The work day had it’s own ideas of what the plan would be. That was ok with me. I didn’t need to know how my every minute would be spent – I needed flexibility. But, I realize now that I could have benefited from going through the exercise of putting together a daily plan. It would have made those scarce hours at home more productive and a lot less chaotic.
To guide my development of a daily schedule, I decided to use the Scrum methodology. (More about how to develop a daily schedule coming in another post!). If you are not a
project management geek like I familiar with the Scrum methodology, very, very simply, it’s a way of time boxing your work in order to produce results in a short period (usually 2-3 weeks). The work is then reviewed and revised based on feedback – the expectation is NOT that it will be perfect, part of the practice is to “fail fast, and fail often”.
In other words, don’t get to the end of a nine month project and realize that what you’ve built is wrong.
This came in handy last week for my first week trying to follow the plan.
On Monday, my daughter was sick. Too sick to go to school. The sick child is a monkey wrench in every mother’s day, working or not. There’s the immediate question of who will stay home with the child? Is it a parent, or a near-by grandparent or friend? Most child care centers will not accept your child if they are sick. They have to have been fever-free for 24 hours. I was fortunate to have my mother nearby, she saved us numerous times when one of the kids where sick. And, as a parent who has to leave a sick child, I knew that they were in the best of hands with their grammy. Over the years, my employer became more flexible with working from home, which helped for me to stay home with a sick child and get work done.
A stay at home parent may not have to answer to an employer, but the sick child still presents an issue – who will stay with them while you are driving other children to preschool or out at the bus stop? What about that doctor’s appointment (or hair stylist, or plumber, etc.) that you had scheduled? Everything has to be rearranged.
Back to my plan. Monday wasn’t too bad. My daughter is old enough so that she can mostly take care of herself, and she watched tv and slept. I tried to stay on schedule, but found that I had not estimated enough time for most tasks. On Tuesday, she was still sick, and I spent the morning working on tasks that hadn’t been in the plan. On Wednesday she woke up with a fever. Now the day was shot – a trip to the doctor and a diagnoses of the flu, and the only think that I got done from the plan was to make dinner.
This is all good – in the Scrum methodology, I will take this information and tweak my plan for next week. Do I need a “Plan B” for a sick child? No, what I need to realize is that there will always be something that comes up to derail your plans–plan B is to be flexible. What’s important to remember is what are your priorities. Keep a focus on that, and what you accomplish will always be the right thing.
So, even though this week was a “fail”, I have lots of good information for next week, and it has to go better!
(PS – after I wrote this, the other 3 members of the family, including myself, have come down with the flu . . .)