ROUTINE ON THE ROAD
Traveling fulltime means Freedom! We have felt a freedom from things and activities and from the hectic pace of suburban life. That freedom is exhilarating, especially given the fact that the newness of the adventure has still not worn off!
Having worked since I was 16 years old, there was the routine of working. There was the getting ready for work, getting to work, the actual routine of the work day, scheduled breaks and the routine of the commute home and the routine of getting ready to do it all over again. When I taught in public school for over 8 years, I had the routine of planning, of executing and the routine created by the administration- the bells and the schedule of classes and events. When I worked in corporate, the routine was set by management. Veering off of the routine would either cause havoc or create a sense of freedom!
When Tom started working daily from home, it took awhile to get used to the new routine. I had been home, except for a couple of failed attempts at teaching preschool. Teaching Middle School Band versus 2 and 3 year olds is a little too big of a stretch in a school setting... lol! Littles is not my gifting or my talent, other than decorating a cute room and showing up. But, it took awhile to get used to the idea that Tom was home, but was at work. And, working from home often is a win-lose situation. It's a win because there's no commute and there's a better opportunity to complete tasks without interruption. On the flip side, the company doesn't have as much respect for the workday schedule, and we would find that if Tom didn't step away from the computer, he could be there for 16 hours and still be called to work on projects.
Routines seemed easier in our home and in many ways that is a true statement. However; we are not without systems and routines within our nomadic lifestyle. We have specific tasks that each family member does in order to get ready to leave. We have routines when we set up our campsite. Tom still works either Monday through Thursday or Monday through Friday depending on the projects to complete for work. Tom has the routine of setting up the coffee maker at night and getting it ready in the morning. I still have to feed the family 3 times and day at least...lol!
Within all of these routines, there are a few things we still have not figured out. There's the homeschool routine, that we just haven't nailed down yet and so it is all over the place. We typically fit in 3-4 days a week but the time and the schedule and what actually gets accomplished is all over the place. There's the workout routine that is still not quite figured out. When we stopped our travels temporarily last winter, we were going to the gym 5 days a week and working out with an amazing trainer. We were active and loving it. We assumed that we would continue the routine on the road, and tried to at least get a good walk/run in a few days a week. That faded as our travel and work schedules got crazy and now, that is all over the place as well. In addition, while I don't have a paying job, there's the blog and the vlog which need time and attention as well and for the moment it is "catch as catch can" in regards to writing and filming content and getting it edited, posted and marketed. While we have good intentions, we don't always fulfill our obligations in these areas.
So as we get ready for the official school year to start, I'm making a concerted effort to get back to a routine in the 3 areas above- homeschool, working out and blogging/vlogging. I know my personality and I know that I don't like to feel boxed in and I cannot handle total freedom. There has to be a balance point and an opportunity for grace and an opportunity for flexibility within any procedures and routines that are created. I can do rigid if I have to, but it only works for a short period of time.
We recently got rid of the kids' desks and I replaced them with portable lap desks. I combined all of their 3 core classes of curriculum for the next 3 months into a 2 inch binder and started going back to my teacher roots and setting up a more specific lesson plan for each day; but allowing for 2 weeks in between before starting the next 3 months of curriculum in case we have some catch-up to do. And, instead of going crazy saying we'll complete 3 worksheets a day in 3 subjects, I'm working through the content to cover concepts and then review those concepts until they are mastered.
Our school schedule will be a little more rigid, starting at 8:30 and ending around 12:30 with wiggle room up till 2 p.m. Tom and I will get our workout in between 5 and 7 and the kids will have outdoor play time after breakfast, lunch and a large part of the afternoon. I have built in reading time for the kids and Tom will be supporting our school efforts with helping each kid in the evening to reinforce their reading skills. While I enjoy reading from a number of sources, Tom is the official book lover in our home.
While he is reading with the kids, I will work on the vlog editing which can only be done on Tom's computer right now due to file sizes and storage. During the day after the kids finish school, I will do the creative part of planning the vlogs and blogs and creating a spreadsheet to keep it all organized. After dinner is when we typically record footage that is informational or that corresponds with the adventure videos, but we will make that more consistent by scheduling those film shoots on one or two days during the week, opposite the days I edit so that I'm not trying to do too much at once.
We will be revamping everything a little at a time, working towards the goals of creating more of a home based routine while still enjoying our travels and adventure! Building and tweaking a routine takes time and the rigidity of sticking with it while maintaining the element of flexibility in order to tweak as needed. The weekends will remain family adventure time. Using each other as a source of accountability will help us to continue tipping the boulder until momentum finally takes over and we can put it on semi- automatic pilot.
So in working towards a more routine day during the week, here's the process we've been doing:
1- Determine and prioritize 3 areas that need a specific routine
2- Design on paper, on a spreadsheet and/or on a whiteboard on a wall- in other words write out a plan on paper. Share it with your spouse and brainstorm ideas to help implement this design
3- Communicate how you will stay accountable! Share responsibility for certain tasks. Tom is great about following a plan while I am great at creating a plan but not sticking to it. So, I'll create the plan and work with Tom to stick with it!
4- Get up in the morning and get in the mindset of the routine. Make the routine the priority and then think through the steps for the day. As soon as you've got it, get working at it, not allowing for procrastination to have time to sneak in.
5- If something is just not working, re-evaluate your priorities and goals and determine where you need change. Tweak the plan and go back to creating momentum.
6- Repeat all the steps until that habit is built. Don't get into the "3 weeks to build a habit mentality." Don't think that autopilot kicks in miraculously at 3 weeks. For some of us, it takes much longer. And it takes revisiting the vision and the steps often. Just get into the mentality of this is how it is going to be.
What routines are you working to implement or reinvent in your household? Who are you accountable to?