In Defense of Schedules (and My Wife)

So, something interesting has happened since Court and I both posted our schedules—and it was the opposite of what I expected.  You see, I’m constantly joking that I’m the poster boy for adult ADD (never tested, mind you) because I can’t hold onto a thought to save my life.  Thus, the whole idea of scheduling is incredibly foreign to the way my brain wants to work.  I usually consider that a bad thing, especially since I find it so hard to get anything done.

That’s just to say that I feel like the aberration.  I figured people would resonate with Court and mock me for being a big hot mess.  What’s been odd about the post is that it has come across like Court’s the crazy person and I’m the perfectly normal one.  On the one hand, I’m glad to know I’m not alone in my pathological inability to stay on track.  But on the other hand, I don’t want to watch my wife get treated like some kind of freak show for having a schedule that pretty specifically details our day, nor do I want to minimize how important scheduling is to how our family operates.

Here’s the deal: I don’t like how I am.  I drive me crazy and I constantly fight with how I am.  I read time management and organization books with the hope that by absorbing the information, it’ll actually bring about some change in the way I do things.  So far, not so much.

But here’s what I do know: even though my “schedule” is funny and somewhat enjoyable, it drives me nuts for our family to live “my” way for more than a day or two.  I’ve found that I enjoy my routinelessness as an occasional contrast to our structured life, not in place of it.  Because when we do things that way I laid out Friday, we don’t get the important things done.

You see, Court makes a schedule to help us stay focused.  There are only so many hours in a day and only so many things we can accomplish.  My haphazard way of living is somewhat fun, but incredibly selfish.  If given the choice between working on a project or vegging, I can tell you what the clear choice is every time.  That’s because I’m giving myself a choice and my sinful, selfish heart always chooses what sounds best in that moment—which usually is NOT what is best over the long haul.

We have the schedule Court posted in our family because we want to live well.  We want to set aside time to do what’s important and not just live willy nilly lives that seem fun but are ultimately empty.  I like that we have a schedule like we have.  Every day I struggle to actually follow it, because it is so counter to how I think.  But it’s how I want to be.  Sure, it may not be for everyone, but I really can’t imagine how our family would work any other way.

But that’s just from my perspective.  I’m not even sure how I can explain how much our schedule serves our kids and others around us.  When we don’t follow our own schedule, our kids get shifted to the side because I always make selfish decisions on the fly.  Our schedule is about planning to make the time for the kids and to know when we have time for others, like our church.  Without our schedule, we’d be like a little boat tossed around in a storm at sea.

But the schedule gives us a foundation and structure around which to fit the materials of our lives.  The schedule helps us to build lots of time into the stuff that matters.  The schedule helps us see where we’re wasting time on frivolous pursuits.  In many ways, a schedule helps to reveal how selfish we are with our own time, because we constantly in the moment choose ourselves over others, including our kids.

And that’s not to mention the way the schedule helps us as a large family to work together and actually, well, be a family.  It seems like the only other alternative is some version of anarchy where everyone does what they want from moment to moment because no one knows what’s coming next.  Some of the most disobedient times our kids fall into come when we’re not structuring our lives, because the kids think the same way we do: I do what I want when I want.  And when I tell them that’s not actually the case, it doesn’t go well.

The funny thing is, we get asked all the frickin’ time questions like, “How do you do it with all those kids?” or “How do you even get out the door?” or “How do you handle all those kids without going crazy?”  Simple: my wife, Structurer Extraordinaire and love of my life.  God, am I grateful for her!

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3 thoughts on “In Defense of Schedules (and My Wife)

  1. I loved Court’s post on scheduling. It’s been a busy week where I haven’t had the chance to respond the way I’d like. Thank you for stepping up in support as well Bill. I agree with many comments. The more kids I have, personally, the more I realize I’m only intentional with some form of a schedule. I technically have one as detailed as Court’s. Though I’ve found the general bucket-type works best for me (x-things get done in the morning in y-order, though not necessarily at z-times). Otherwise, as you’ve said, very little productivity happens around here. Thank you BOTH for sharing!

  2. Love this….I am that Crazy schedule mom as well. 🙂 With 5 kids and homeschooling we wouldn’t get much done if I didn’t. Dave loves to throw it out the window for a day (and those are fun days, but they get old FAST!). We are quick to be back on schedule. Way to stick up for her. 😀

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