Keeping a schedule isn’t just for busy people and families, and it doesn’t always mean planning each day down to the minute. In fact, keeping a schedule doesn’t need to include times at all. By combining the best aspects of checklists, schedules, and routines, you can create a daily schedule to ensure you complete necessary tasks while allowing yourself a mental break. Here’s my story of how I turned a chaotic household into a civil place of creativity:
Prior to my current situation as a stay at home mom, my kids all went to daycare or school while I worked. Long days away were met with dinner, TV, then bed. Fast forward to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and I had found myself with two kids enrolled in virtual school and one still in diapers, all while away from our home (and my husband) staying in my parents’ basement.
How was I supposed to be a mom and a teacher without losing my sanity?
At first, our lives were chaotic. Days were filled with more dirty clothes than should be possible, and just as many fights about doing schoolwork. That’s when I had the idea to put our schedule on the kids’ easel. And you know what? It worked! Our days were kept busy, there were no more fights to do work (or take naps), and I even got a little break for myself during designated times. The system worked so well that we carried that easel and scheduling tactic back home and throughout the summer!
While this routine scheduling has definitely worked for my family, I know that it can work for any living situation. Whether you’re in school, have a full-time job, or are just starting your family, keeping your day to day life organized can be a physical and mental relief making you a much happier person. Below, I outline the steps I used to create our daily routine schedule and how you can apply those steps for yourself.
Decide where you want to see your schedule. There are so many ways to put a schedule up in your life, but it’s best if you can see it more often than not. Here are some ideas for how to display your schedule:
- Large dry erase easel. I used a large stand-alone easel to display our schedule. This worked well for us because my kids could easily see the next task. I even used the chalk side of the easel to list homework assignments so that the kids could cross them out when they were done.
- Small dry erase board. This would work well for one person. Set it on your desk to keep track of schoolwork if you’re a student, or organize your work if you work from home.
- Phone notes. Something that I think is severely underused is the notes app on our phones. I use this for almost everything! You can even add check blocks so that you can mark off completed tasks and share your lists with friends. It’s great for folks who are always out the door!
- Print and post on the fridge. Another easy solution is to post something on the fridge. This way you can create something beautiful and easy to read, plus it’s in a place where everyone can see it!
Head on over to the FREE resource library and download the interactive Daily Planner!
Take a mental note. Think about your day. Really go through the motions of what you do and what you’d like to accomplish. When I was on this step I actually jotted down my thoughts on a sticky note. It was just a simple list of activities I wanted the kids to do to keep them off their electronics, but it gave me a starting point of what to put on our schedule. Be sure to emphasize any tasks that need to be done vs what can be done.
Write it down! Take the plunge and write down your list in the order you want to accomplish it. Do your best to plan things without a start time but use end times as necessary.
For instance, if you feel like you spend too much time on your phone at night, try scheduling in a 1-hour time block for electronics towards the end of your day. Use these time blocks as a way to better your mind, body, and soul without feeling like you could be doing other things. The benefit of having opposing tasks like these blocked off allows you to complete some tasks naturally while restricting or forcing the amount of time you spend on other tasks.
Add in your appointments. As much as we’d all like to live on our own time, the reality is that sometimes we have appointments with other people. Block off a section on your schedule to make note of appointments or events during the week. This way you’ll have a gentle reminder of which days you’ll have to deviate from your usual routine.
Here’s an example of how I used the daily planner for the summer…
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Having a schedule in writing can surely help you become more accountable. Whether you want to finish that “honey-do” list, or you would like to set aside some time for yourself each day, having a schedule will force you to confront those plans.
Do something to take a little stress out of the day and make yourself a schedule. Print it out and post it on the fridge, make it your own with beautiful hand lettering, or get some chalk and let the kids be a part of the fun. While you’re at it, print out a calendar for the month to organize yourself even more and be prepared for the future!
Let me know in the comments what challenges you face when you try to make a schedule!
Everything we do is linked in some way, so be sure to check out my other posts on quick and easy life skills.