There are many different types of schedules. If you desire to use a schedule, but have issues when you try, then perhaps this article will help you view schedules in a different way, and spark a few ideas on how you can make a near perfect master schedule, tailored specifically to you, and your life. First, ask yourself if you really want a schedule. If the answer is "yes," then commit to this, and keep working at it, and you will eventually come out with a wonderful schedule that blesses you in your homemaking endeavors.
The Day to Day Schedule
When I was 16 years old, I was homeschooling myself, working full time in a managerial position with a good load of responsibilities, purchasing my own groceries, making my own meals, doing my own laundry, exercising every day, and I still had time for relaxation, hobbies, and my friends. There would have been no way I could have done all of those things without a schedule. However, my work hours varied, and I often didn't know what hours I'd be working for any given week. Sometimes I didn't even know my hours two days in advance.
This meant that I could not just have a general schedule. Instead, I had to rewrite a new schedule for each new day, almost every day. Every night before I'd go to bed, I'd have some quiet time, where I'd sit down and write out the next day's schedule. I would also plan out that day's meals and budget. Often, I would also journal about things going on in my life, goals I wished to reach, and possible plans of action to attain those goals. I did all of this in blank, lined, journal books, and I still have those books today.
If you have a lifestyle that is very busy, and where there is no way you can run off of the same, general schedule on most days, then perhaps you need to make a new schedule each day, and make it part of a journaling routine. I found it relaxing. I would sleep well afterward, because the next day was planned out, and I was able to visualize it.
The Hectic Schedule
Perhaps you cannot do a Day to Day Schedule, because you honestly don't know, or can't control what is going to happen just a few hours ahead. Then, try this:
1. Write a list of the bare minimums you need to get done for the day.
2. Write a list of things you'd like to get done for the day, if the bare minimums are all finished at a decent time.
3. Write a list of things you'd like to accomplish, should you finish all of the above two lists.
Then, make a loose schedule, of when you know you'll want to get out of bed, when your meals will be (if you are able to plan them), when you want to shower, go to bed, etc. In between these times, work on your lists, as much as you can, and try to at least reach the minimums.
The Time Monster
A problem that many people have with schedules, is that they don't like having a set amount of time to finish things, and at a certain assigned time. Are you that type of person? Then get rid of the time slots. Make your schedule a glorified to do list, and put it roughly in the order that you would like to get things done.
If you have certain tasks that need to be done during certain time brackets during the day, but you don't want a strict, timed schedule, then what about a block schedule? In this type of schedule, you don't put down times for each task. You simply have a list of tasks to complete during a certain block of time. Common blocks in this type of schedule, are: Morning Block, Late Morning Block, Afternoon to Evening Block, Late Evening to Night Block. A lot of people start by writing down morning, afternoon, and evening routines, and then they convert these into a block schedule.
The Classic, Timed Schedule
Sometimes I print out my master schedule with time slots on it, and sometimes I don't. When I do have the time slots, it's with the understanding that those times are suggestions. I do not pressure myself to do said task at the exact stated time. Further, I assign myself more time to complete tasks than is generally needed, and that way I can get ahead on the schedule, and this gives me wiggle room for the unexpected, which visits me about every day. Do you get regular visits from the Unexpecteds? They are well known visitors around here.
You Can Do This
I hope my recent articles on scheduling have encouraged you. You CAN be organized, you can get what you need to get done each day, and still have time for you, and not be frazzled by the end of the day. If this is what you really want, then you need to commit to making it work. Be ready with a pencil by your schedule, and mark it up, with updates and changes. Then, once every week or two, print or write out a fresh copy of your schedule. Keep doing this, until you find you no longer have to update, or change parts of your schedule. You'll eventually find a rhythm, and then you'll find that having a schedule really does make life easier, and a lot less stressful. You no longer have to worry about forgotting what you need to accomplish. It's all written down, in order, ready for you to reference, whenever needed.
You may be in a very changeable or busy season of life, where you don't completely follow your schedule even one day for months, or even the whole year. That is fine. The schedule is a guideline to help you stay on track, and that is it. Be ready to switch things around for the day, should you get behind, or something unexpected occurs, which changes your whole day. Don't waste energy being angry with yourself, or start thinking you are a failure, because you didn't follow your schedule to a T. That's not what this is about. Keep your chin up, smile, and remember that you are living in the "good ole' days." Amen?