My Trick For Working From Home and Homeschooling? A Very Detailed To-Do List

Getty / Karl Tapales

Sticking to a rigid schedule while trying to balance homeschooling, working from home, and housework just doesn’t work for me, but I still have to get it all done . . . so I created a system I call the three-column list to help make that happen.

Each night before I go to bed, I write up the next day’s three-column list on a new page in my notebook. Each column is a to-do list for one of the three categories: housework, homeschool, and working from home. I write the tasks in roughly the order I’d need to complete them in. My housework column includes things like changing the litter box, washing the laundry, and vacuuming. Our homeschool column has activities like read aloud, math, guided reading, and handwriting. As a writer, my work tasks are articles I need to finish or invoices I need to create.

Related: 6 Tips to Help You Survive Working From Home With Your Partner and Kids

When it comes to actually getting the tasks done, I can jump from column to column as needed. For example, when my daughter becomes immersed in playing with her Legos, I jump on the chance to do some work on my computer. Later, when she gets antsy, I’ll sit down and read her a book or do a counting activity. There’s no way that I want to interrupt her when she’s engaged in independent play just because a schedule told me it was time to read her a book. I cross tasks off the list as I go through the day, working down each column but jumping between columns as it makes sense.

The three-column list works for me because it allows me to go with the day’s natural flow while still making sure I stay on top of my necessary tasks. I am able to meet my daughter’s need for interaction while balancing my need to focus on my work. Since most of the time I can put my attention on her when she craves it, she is a lot more understanding when I explain that right now Mommy needs to do writing time if I’m falling behind in the work tasks column. So far, it’s been the key to keeping my head above water – and giving my family a sense of normalcy.

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