Do you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed, like there is just too much to do and not enough hours in the day? Maybe you don’t have too much to do, but you seem to lose track of time and aren’t sure where the day goes. Or perhaps you’re already doing pretty well, but want to be a bit more efficient with your time. I have put together this guide for you to use, as well as free (for members) printables at the end to help you organize your schedule!
1.Write out all of your re-occurring commitments, errands, etc.
Start with the big, obvious things, like work (If you work outside or inside the home) and dinner (making and eating). Next, write down smaller or more flexible commitments: Family time, morning time (For me this includes breakfast, getting myself ready, and Bible devotions), and other reoccurring meetings or appointments. Just get it all on a paper, even the little things. You can edit and adjust later.
2.Determine whether there is too much, or whether you simply need to be more efficient with your time.
Indicators that your schedule is too full include: Not having any time to relax, not having any time to give to others, double-booking yourself, and feeling like you’re always behind.
3.If there is too much, select a few things that can be dropped.
We all feel like everything we do is necessary, but the reality is that for most people, at least one or two things could be taken off your to-do list without causing everything else to cave in. However, if all your things to do really are essential, consider delegating a couple to someone else, or at least putting them on hold for a bit, while you get the rest of your schedule back in order.
4.Decide what format of time blocking works for you.
Time-blocking is just what it sounds like: creating blocks of time for each task or commitment. Keeping a time-blocked schedule insures that each thing you do stays within its allotted time, keeps you on track, and minimizes distractions.
Now, the application of time-blocking may look different for different people. For example, a stay-at-home mom (like me!) likely needs to keep her schedule somewhat flexible, and allot time in small increments. I use 15-minute increments, and usually my afternoons are fairly open to allow for changes and different activities or needs of my daughter. On the other end of the spectrum, a working mom (or dad) might design her schedule in bigger blocks of time: An hour to get ready in the morning; a big slot for work (though that may be incremented as well, depending on the job); and family time in the evening.
There are a few printable schedules at the bottom of this post for you to use. You can modify them, or feel free to comment if you need pointers or a different schedule. J
5.From your list of commitments, put the concrete, “cornerstone” ones down on the schedule.
These are the beginning of your schedule’s structure, the framework. The key to an effective schedule is consistency, even if there is flexibility and variations within that consistent framework. These cornerstone elements of your schedule are things that don’t normally change: For me, that includes my morning routine, work, and dinner.
6.Fill in the other stuff.
Now, add into you schedule the smaller and more flexible things. These things often change from day-to-day. For example, depending on the day, I allot amounts of time for cleaning the house, going to the store, and meeting with family or friends.
7.Leave Room for flexibility.
The more time you have dedicated, the more efficient you will be. However, to avoid becoming too rigid and strict with your schedule, I recommend adding some spaces for simply “family time,” “me time” or “catch up on errands.” This allows for flexibility within bounds, so you have free time, but it’s not uncontrolled or unlimited. I usually leave some time open for just hanging out at the house with my daughter in the afternoon, and time in the evening to spend with my husband.
8.Put it into action
To begin with, you may find it helpful to simply track your time. Instead of planning your schedule before the day begins, write things down as you do them. This will keep you accountable, and give you a realistic idea as to how long things take. Depending on the ages of your kids and what your life looks like, you may choose to stick with this method for a while. It really helped me just to stay accountable to myself, and stop “losing track of time.” When you are ready, start scheduling your day. You can do this either the night before or when you wake up in the morning. Then do your best to stick with the times you have given yourself. It’s a great feeling when you get into that routine and can accomplish it!
Here’s an example of what my schedule looks like (scroll down to receive the free email download for the template):