Many of you may know Emily P Freeman and her wonderful podcast “The Next Right Thing“. I have loved listening to her gentle, wise counsel she shares in her weekly short 15 minute podcasts. This March I bought her book also called The Next Right Thing, and along with my pre-order of her book, I received free access to her online course Discern & Decide where I learnt to apply many of her concepts she shares in her podcasts. Today I want to share on how her Design a Rhythm of Work – Theme Days made such a simple, but wonderfully freeing difference to my work each day.
In a very similar way, we have used Themes of the Day since 2012 in order to cover all the subjects that provide the richness of a Charlotte Mason education. Here are some examples of our themes which I refreshed each year.
This simple daily focus reminded us to spend time on the specific subject of the day, usually before lunch, and this helped us fit in all the extras. Here are our updated Themes for 2016 ~
I don’t know why I never thought to apply this approach to my own work days. It is such a simple adaption which provides enormous focus and freedom. As Emily shares,
“Designing a rhythm of life is something anyone in any season of life can do. It’s simple and life-giving and creates a beautiful and flexible framework for decision making.”
She encourages us to look to topics rather than the tasks to allocate different theme days and says, “Theme days are not about completion, they are about focus.”
In my personal rhythm planning, I prayed for the Lord’s guidance and wisdom, for His “yeses” in my life. Then listed my main topics and tasks (my basic job descriptions or responsibilities) and I allocated one or two per day in the way that felt most compatible with our lifestyle, and, voila! I had my Rhythm of Work planned. Most of these main themes are allocated for afternoons or after my daily farming activities (I hand-milk our cow Milly and I make cheeses every second day) as well as specific household chores or regular tasks which happen daily anyway.
For me this is what it looks like ~ Mondays are for laundry and the week’s planning, Tuesdays are for Lucerne Tree Farm business‘ marketing, bookkeeping and blog content, Wednesday for Practical Pages homeschool content and development, Thursdays for town trips & appointments, Fridays to clean house & water plants, Saturdays for gardening and cleaning the chicken coop & ironing (if I don’t plan this I keep putting it off) and Sundays as a day of rest.
Because we live an hour away from our nearest town and because we don’t travel to town for shopping the same day each week, we have all learnt to be flexible and find our flow around this variable and simply shift a day’s theme. We have always kept a 4-day homeschool schedule and we have completed all our work in this time-frame. Having one “free” day is really very grace-giving and life-giving.
I have found that now I seem to have much more time for business development and blog content because I have a “whole day” for that theme. As a result, I have managed to post more regularly and have seen some growth in readership and followers in both my homeschool blog and our business. I feel much more focused when writing blog content because there are regular flow and continuity. I find that I can delve deeper into each topic because it is the focus of my day.
This “work before play” approach and the simplicity of my daily rhythms provides wonderful peace and contentment and I love the simplicity of knowing what to focus on each day. And strangely enough, I also seem to have more time for my own interests and I have enjoyed a lot more daily art and art journaling.
Have you found the rhythm of your days? Why not give this approach a try? It may well be a method that helps you develop a creative, fulfilling, life-giving work that can make a difference to yourself, your family as well as your homeschooling … even the world!