Making a Block Schedule Rule of Life
I made a Rule of Life last year when I had one child. I marked up every hour of the day with an appoint task. And, well, it was a bit much. In the end it was helpful to have an order to the day. But recently I’ve found a new method to follow a rule of life without getting caught up in the details. The infamous block schedule.
How a Block Schedule Works
Instead of having a set task for each hour of your day, you divide your waking hours into chunks of 3-4 hours and make a list of tasks to do within each time-frame. Sometimes you may have a shorter block (such as for an hour commute to and from work), but the closer to three hours the block is, the better.
The great thing about a block schedule is that you don’t fall behind. In a traditional hour by hour schedule, if you miss an activity you are behind. In a block schedule, you do what you can from a set block of activities, and if something gets missed you don’t have to worry about it once you get to your next block.
Now, the trick to making a block schedule work as a rule of life is to consider your vocation when building up each block. I took inspiration from “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, and all your strength.” In order to do this, I have to do God’s will with my heart, soul, mind, and body. So I set out to make a list of want I needed to do for each of these (as well as for my girls). Then I added these tasks to my block schedule.
I’ll walk you through all the steps I took to make my rule of life block schedule. And you can follow along to make yours too! (Check out this free printable to help you along the way).
Heart, Soul, Mind, and Body
Start by getting a sheet of paper and making space for five lists. Label each list as follows:
Health and Wellness (body care)
Home Care (body care)
Prayers/Spiritual Activities (soul care)
Intellectual (mind care)
Recreation (heart care)
Then write down activities you need to do to take care of each aspect of your vocation. So under health and wellness write down the things you need to do to honour God with all your strength! Examples include eating, brushing teeth, and children’s naps. Under home care, put things like cleaning and dishes. I’ve also put in some 5 minute tidy times, which is when my toddler puts away her toys.
Under recreation, list some of your self care tasks. Although my actual block schedule says “Mama recharge time” and “family recharge time,” having an actual list of activities to fall back on when I need to recharge and am too burnt out to think of activities is helpful. Right now my list looks like this: video games, home organizing, music, nap, listen to an audio-book, or other hobbies. Under intellectual, write out daily activities that you feel God is calling you to use your mind to do. So for me this includes reading parenting and homemaking books, blogging, reading aloud to my children, reading picture books to my children, and having intellectual discussions with my husband after the toddler has gone to bed.
For prayers and spiritual activities, I made a list of the devotions that I feel called to do daily. I made sure to have enough in this category so that I could add some soul care to each time block. Right now my list includes Matins, icon corner, Angelus, spiritual reading (or audio talk), Divine Mercy, Vespers, and bedtime prayers.
Setting up your Blocks
How you set up your blocks is going to depend on what your day looks like. Do you have kids? Do you work outside the home? Here was how I determined my blocks.
1. Decided on morning block time
Morning is when we as humans are most able to be productive. So if you need to work, get the most difficult tasks done during this time. I decided to make my morning time block from 8:00-11:00. In this block I put a lot of active activities. And when I’m able to drive, this is the block where I’d fit in going out for play dates and library visits.
2. Fit in pre-morning block
I call this my wake up block. It is scheduled from 6:30-8:00, but could start as early as 5:00 depending on when my baby wakes up. (I planned 9 hours for sleep, so it’s okay if I get up an hour early, if the baby goes to bed an hour late, or if she wants to spend an hour up in the middle of the night). In this block I put all the things that need to be done before the morning block. So things like breakfast, washing up, and connecting over picture books with my girls.
This is the time-frame from when you start getting your children to bed, to when you actually go to bed. On the schedule mine is 8:00-9:30. Ideally the toddler is down by 8:30. Then I have an hour with my husband where we can talk about things we don’t want our children to hear (money and politics). Sometimes it’s 2 hours, because I did leave an hour of flexible time for morning and night. This also helps for occasions that church is in the evening.
4. Split up the time that is left
I made a lunch, afternoon, supper, and evening block. The lunch block is only an hour and a half, but I made that block deliberately small and to have only three activities (Angelus, lunch, and silent reading). This block leads into my children’s nap time so I want it to be as consistent as possible.
The afternoon block, which I set as 12:30 to 3:30, is my rest and relaxation block. The children have naps or quiet time, and I’ll nap too if I need it. This is the block where I do a recreational activity to recharge my energy. And also where I work on the blog. Since I only have a short time to work on the blog in one day, I usually split up the tasks of making pictures, researching, writing, and editing into different days. (Sometimes I also use times I’m nursing to work on writing blog articles as well).
5. Finishing the day
The supper block is focused on the fact that my husband will be arriving home from work. My children have another 5 minute tidy, and while supper is being prepared I put on some music so Little Fox can have a dance party with me by the kitchen. (Also adds physical activity to the afternoon).
The evening block is our family relaxation block. So after dishes, we have Vespers and family recreation time. This block is also shorter (6:30-8:00) to lead into preparing the girls for bed.
My Block Schedule
Here is a copy of what my block schedule looks like. On the actual schedule, I’ve colour-coded the activities based on whether it’s for body, soul, mind, or heart. If I miss a type of activity in one block, I know can just focus on making sure that activity happens in the next block.
Like if I miss Matins after getting up late and only having time for breakfast, Icon Corner is the first activity we do in the morning block. If I don’t spend time reading picture books, I make sure to do our learning time right away in morning block. Little Fox loves our learning time. Right now, it usually consists of colouring, singing the alphabet, and walking through the house looking for certain shapes or colours.
The Byzantine Life
Thank you for reading this week’s article on how to make a block schedule Rule of Life. Now it’s your turn to make one! Check out our free printable guide to making your own here!
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