I remember my first year as a stay at home mom. In the midst of trying to figure out what I was doing, I would continuously attempt to make a schedule that worked. I would spend months coming up with new schedules all the time. Somehow I could never get them to work and I didn’t know why, so after a while I just gave up making schedules altogether.
In hindsight, I realized that there were a several things I failed to consider. For one, I was being unrealistic. I would try to put things on the schedule that could never happen, like a 2 hour Bible study in the middle of the day. I was also forgetting to schedule in basic things and spending a lot of time on things that didn’t matter.
Do you feel like this is you? Maybe you’ve tried to make schedules and they haven’t worked for you, or maybe you’ve never tried at all and want to. Making a schedule is nothing more than properly stewarding the resource of time that we all have. So grab a pen and paper and let’s get scheduling!
Write down your priorities
This is the first and most important step. If you don’t schedule your priorities, you will be frustrated if you never get around to them. For me, this would be spending time in prayer, Bible reading, and quality time.
Write down 2-3 things that your day absolutely has to include. Maybe it’s something you’re not doing right now that you wish you were. Identify these things and you’re off to a good start!
Use time blocks
I’ve found that using time blocks better for me than 30 minute or one hour time slots. When I say time blocks, I mean a few hours at a time that are designated for certain tasks. For example, from 7:00-10:00, I do personal and dental hygiene for me and my littles, eat breakfast and take supplements, clean up breakfast dishes, and complete household chores.
I like using blocks of time because it enables me to have plenty of time for child training in the process of doing tasks. It also takes into account the unexpected inconveniences that could potentially happen. So when you’re putting things into time blocks, don’t overfill them. Give yourself plenty of time to ensure that you can successfully complete the tasks you’ve designated to that particular time.
Set a bedtime/wake up time
I can’t stress how important this is! If I get off track with my current schedule, it’s almost 100% of the time due to not going to bed on time.
If you’ve never established a bedtime for yourself, this will be an adjustment in itself. It will require you to exercise self-control to make sure you’re setting yourself up for daily success!
Incorporate morning and evening routines
I start out my mornings by drinking a glass of water, making my bed and tidying up my room, grabbing a cup of coffee, and going into prayer. It has become a habit, and gets my day off on the right start. At night, my current routine involves drinking water, brushing and flossing my teeth, nursing my son and putting him in his bed.
Think of a few easy things you can put into your routines. Write down a list of 5 things or less for each routine that will help you start a productive morning and end with a productive evening.
Schedule the necessary
When you are starting to make your schedule, think about all of the other necessary things that must take place in your day that are not part of your priority list. For me, this would be personal hygiene, preparing meals, doing chores, taking care of business matters, etc. Sometimes when you don’t actually schedule the necessary, it doesn’t get done!
Make time for yourself
This is very important to actually schedule in because it’s extremely easy to veer to the extreme. You can either spend way too much time on yourself or none at all.
Set aside one time block a day, if possible, to just do what you want to do. If your day is crazy busy and you can only do 30 minutes, then so be it. Just make sure this ends up on your schedule so that you don’t get burnt out!
Make a schedule for every day
To ensure that you can keep your schedule, you’ll probably want to make a schedule for every day of the week. Our family has events in the evening on 3-4 nights of the week and some weekends. Taking these into account has really helped my schedule to work!
If you have several days that will look the same, you can just make a schedule for the days that are different. Either way, you will have a greater chance of sticking to a schedule when you plan ahead for your activities or involvements.
Be self-controlled but grace-minded
It will take a decent amount of self-control in order to get all of the things done you need to in a day. However, there will always be things that will throw your whole schedule off. And that’s ok! Those things happen, and are sometimes even necessary, every now and then. But having an established schedule will give you a sense of stability and help your days to be fulfilling and productive.
I hope this helps you establish and stick to a solid schedule. It is absolutely possible to have a fulfilling and productive day every day. Happy scheduling!