How using a block schedule saves my sanity (and allows me to spend time with my kids)

A few weeks ago I got a question from a reader:

I'm trying to run a small online boutique from home but it's really hard to get things done and care for my two girls age 3 and 20 months. How do you so many things in one day and fit everything into the nap time hours?

This is a great question. To answer it truthfully, there is a lot I don't fit into the day and I've learned to be okay with that. The great thing about being your own boss is that of something doesn't get done the boss understands. But the bad thing is no one is there to pick up the slack when you need help.

Enter the block schedule. This is the only way work gets completed and make everyone has supper come 6 o'clock.

Many might think of a block schedule as from 8 am to 9 am we do one thing and from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. we do another.  But that's not what I mean.

When I say block schedule I am referring to designating a larger chunk of time to several different activities that can be completed quickly.

This is how it works for me.  My work time is broken into three different blocks: morning, nap (or afternoon) and evening.

Morning time is from 7-9.

While I don't get to work for two solid, uninterrupted hours, I do have things I take care of during this time.

While the boys eat their breakfast, watch PBS and have quiet play time I will answer emails, update social media for my blog and my clients, and make phone calls or set up appointments. I try to avoid the phone as much as possible because I am not a phone person, but this seems to be the best time to return phone calls or call and schedule a dentist appointment.

Then I'm done for a few hours.

Next is nap time 2-4 p.m.

My kids play really hard in the morning and so they are ready for a two hours nap. But I've also implemented rest time. On days they don't nap they still have to stay in their beds and play quietly. As they get older this will hopefully transition into a quiet time outside of their rooms. But I'm training them for a quiet period. 

This is when I have my focused work. I write blog posts, record and edit videos and do any client work that needs to be done. This is when I get the bulk of my business completed. I don't allow myself to get on social media or even check email or answer the phone. This is work time.

Then my boys get up and I am done again until they go to bed.


After their bedtime I finish anything that didn't get completed during their rest time. I try to keep this time brief so I can still hang out with my husband.

I do find pockets of time to work through the day. For example,  during  outside play time, I will use my notebook and outline a few blog posts. Whole My boys are busy climbing up and down their play house so I might type out a blog post out on the notes function of my phone.

But when my kids want to play the pen or the phone get put down. That's my rule, mom first.

This isn't a perfect schedule and it takes creativity to earn a full time or part time income on a limited amount of hours. But it's doable.

What about you? What scheduling tricks do you use?