There is something about becoming a mother, or maybe it’s reaching my late thirties, that made me really start to value my time. Motherhood is such a full time of life. Your time needs to include your kids and all their stuff, like cleaning, cooking, crafting, climbing, and snuggling. You need time for the rest of your family, your work and hobbies, self-care and prayer. Finding a place in your life for everything takes some planning.
Scheduling is the solution and there are lots of planners available to help you with your strategy, but I didn’t make a schedule for a long time for all these reasons:
- I value spontaneity.
- Following a schedule is just one more thing to worry about.
- My life is too chaotic to fit into a schedule.
- I couldn’t possibly get all the things on my schedule done.
- I already have a routine so I don’t need to schedule.
- I don’t know how to make a schedule and ready-made schedules are a bad fit for my life.
Then I realised, the point of a schedule is not to get everything done.
That’s right. Take a deep breath and let go of all the Mommy guilt. The point of a schedule is not to get everything done.
A schedule helps you get back on track when you have a bad day or when something unexpected happens. You can decide if there is enough time in advance so that you can avoid stress, tweak the schedule or change your expectations. That way you can make educated decisions about what you want to do with your time. It’s not only a list of all the things you have to do.
5 Steps to the Best Daily Schedule for You
It doesn’t need to be complicated. You can make a schedule that is perfect for you in just five easy steps:
- Write down all the things that you do each day.
Be thorough and honest. Start when you get up and end with bedtime. Make sure that you include meals and washing up, breaks, your involvement in your children’s routines, and absolutely everything else. If every day of the week is different you will need to make a list for each day.
- Decide how long you will spend on each thing.
Go back to the list that you made and add the time it takes you to do each thing. Be realistic and give yourself reasonable amounts of time. Be honest, too. If it takes you an hour and a half to drink your coffee and get off the couch, don’t assume at this point that you can do it in fifteen minutes.
- Improve your schedule.
You could work on paper or in a planner or bullet journal. I recommend a spreadsheet or a scheduling application. I use Google Calendar. Start assigning times to your schedule.
If you’re like me you might notice that the tasks you wrote down don’t match up to the clock the way you expected. For example, I rushed around a lot in the morning, so there were more tasks between breakfast and lunch than there were hours. I also had lots of projects and unrealistic expectations about how much I could work on them.
This is your chance to make a better plan by thinking about your priorities. I moved some of my morning tasks to the afternoon, gave more time to homeschooling, put some projects away indefinitely and divided my nights between the hobbies that remained. Finding time to buy groceries and exercise was always a struggle so I scheduled it.
- Look at your schedule.
Look at your schedule and try to follow it, but be flexible. Look at it to remind yourself to form good habits like eating at the same time every day or cleaning up right away. Look at it when you don’t know what to do next. If you forget something it’s fine to just move on.
Ideally, your schedule is a summary of all your goals and you strive to meet them all. If you don’t, just pick up where you left off and try again tomorrow. You can only fail if you quit! If you look at your schedule often you’ll start to notice patterns and problem areas.
- Evaluate and make changes.
If you find that particular tasks are not getting done consider changing the time that you scheduled them. For example, I wanted to develop my creativity by writing first thing in the morning, but I had to settle for doing it in the evening because there are too many distractions early in the day.
Your schedule should be constantly changing. Update it with new tasks and events as needed. Make changes regularly as your routine improves.
I used these tips to plan my schedule and it works for me. I’m homeschooling, volunteering at our church, making food from scratch. I like reading and playing The Sims 4. This blog is a part time job. I still manage to fit in date night. I have time to do it all (or choose not to do it!) not because I’m super energetic or motivated, but because I have a schedule.
Our week starts on Sunday when we have breakfast, church and lunch. In the afternoon my husband and I take turns exercising. After dinner, on Sunday I’m learning French. We put June to bed and I have time for prayer and reading. During the week, when my husband is gone to work, we do school between eight and three. On weeknights, I’ve scheduled exercise, prayer, ministry and shopping. After June’s bedtime, we’ve set aside time to spend together, computer time, reading and movie nights. On Saturday mornings, we have a family coffee date first thing. There is free time scheduled, mostly used for field trips. Saturday is also Family Game night and the day that I write for the blog.
A few things in particular really worked for me. Reading the Bible helps me slow down and find peace in the day. Yoga as the first thing in the school day really focuses my daughter and gets her ready to do her core subjects which she doesn’t like as much. Scheduling the weekend chaos into blocks makes us more motivated to actually get out and do the things we love.
Some of my blogging friends have written about scheduling. Alicia reviewed a planner for Catholic women. Anni wrote about the joys of throwing structure out the window. Brittany is finding alone time despite her littles. Ginny is encouraging homeschoolers to embrace their schedule. Kirby writes about having robot-like consistency because of her routine.
What parts of your schedule or routine work really well for you? Let us know in the comments.