This is Part 1 of my two-part homeschool musings on time. In the book, Minimalist Homeschooling, a lot of words are devoted to decluttering homeschooling schedules. One of the hacks from this section is:
Minimalist Homeschooling Mindset Hack #16: How we choose to spend our time matters to ourselves and to those around us.
You can listen to this blog post:
I would edit this to say “How we spend our time matters, perhaps more than anything else to ourselves and to those around us.”
This is because we have a job to do. Whether you believe in a higher purpose for your life or not, the fact is, we all have a job to do. In fact, we all have several jobs to do that all require our attention, dedication, and yes, TIME.
I wrote job descriptions and detailed duties and responsibilities for each of my jobs.
My kids did, too.
And here begin my homeschool musings…
I was talking to my husband about hiring a new employee in response to work that was piling up. I asked him to outline the specific tasks that this person would do so that I’d have a decent job description, and could write an appropriate employment ad. After all, a vague title like “office assistant,” or “customer service support” doesn’t do much to identify which strengths our candidates will actually need to succeed or relieve our stress.
This got me thinking: What are my specific duties and responsibilities? What is my job description? I wasn’t thinking about our business – that job description and those duties are very clear. I was thinking about my jobs for which there is no detailed description: my jobs as a mother, wife, teacher, friend, relative, and human being.
In order to best use my time, I don’t want to blindly defer to the typical image of my roles. I don’t want to rely solely on these vague job titles any more than I want to place an ad that merely specifies “assistant.” I want to make sure that I am meeting the specific needs of the people (and God) for whom I am working.
So, I did something kind of fun, and I’m sharing here so you can do it, too!
My kids and I wrote our own job descriptions.
It was clarifying, enlightening, and empowering. The key, I think, was separating each of my roles into unique job descriptions. This exercise reminded me of when I was trying to hire a sitter or a tutor for my children, and I thought of all of the qualities I desired in a candidate.
Would I have been my own top pick if I applied for the job?
There was value in doing it with my children. We talked about job descriptions and their value, and I asked each of them to chose one of their jobs and write their own job description. I transcribed the job description my 5 year old detailed (transcription apparently belongs on the “mom” job description). We shared, and we discussed. My kids really took ownership of these jobs that they had.
Know Your Job.
I highly recommend this exercise not just because it empowers children, or gives them insight into the workings of the adult world, but rather because it improved how I view my time.
Minimalist homeschooling is all about focusing on what is most needed and most loved in order to maximize value, meaning, and impact. This mindset series has come at establishing values, priorities, and focus from many different angles. Here, I offer a new option for living an intentional life and leading a meaningful homeschool: know your job description.
This exercise allowed me to know exactly what I needed to do most. I don’t know why, but putting it all on paper cut-out daily time clutter! It gave my tasks purpose, and removed the sense of obligation to tasks that are not my primary responsibility.
The best jobs I have had are the ones in which I know my specific role and responsibilities. I was in heaven whenever expectations were clearly laid out; then achieving them felt like success. I realized that some lack of confidence, motivation and satisfaction as a mother and homeschooler in my past may have been simply because I never clarified the expectations. I wasn’t clear about what I expected of myself in these roles, much less what others expected.
Which brings me to my next point…
We Work for Others.
This mindset hack specifically says that how we spend our time matter to ourselves, and to those around us.
Make sure that everyone is on the same page for expectations, and delegation of responsibilities. This is like business 101 for engaged, successful, and happy employees. Aim to be a happy, engaged, and successful team!
What expectations does your team have for you? What expectations do you have for your team?
When I am working for a paying employer, I am very conscientious about how I spend my time “on the job.” When I am on duty, I do my best not to waste time surfing the web, taking personal calls, or chit-chatting. Rather, I know the expectations, and I attend to them efficiently and pleasantly.
What about my jobs that don’t warrant a paycheck? Can I say the same thing about my work ethic? Do I do enough to avoid distraction?
Now, please don’t read this and start working nonstop without breaks or relaxation because you’re “on duty” as a mother 24/7. Every job is required by law to offer regular breaks, and your volunteer jobs are no exception to that logic. We’ll talk more about breaks in another post – I’m a huge fan of them. What I am saying now is that after creating a job description, it was more motivating for me to focus on my work once I realized I was “on the job.”
What homeschool musings have you had lately? Share in the comments below!
This post is part of the Minimalist Homeschooling Mindset Series in which I discuss in more detail each of the mindset hacks from the book.
Let’s connect! There is a Minimalist Homeschooling Facebook Group filled with homeschoolers who are looking to fill their days with what is needed and loved… and lots of free time in between. Homeschool musings galore! I hope you’ll join us there.
I also send out a weekly newsletter with homeschool musings called “Simple Advice.” Sign up for that, and you’ll get a quick dose of encouragement, or a meaningful tip straight to your inbox.
Want more information about how to create an uncluttered schedule, lesson plans, and homeschool space? The book is a how-to guide to do just that. It includes worksheets, and empowers every homeschooler to design their own minimal and meaningful homeschool. You can buy it at Amazon.