The first thing that I decided to do to get things under control for 2015 was to create a daily routine. Most of the time management tips I have ever read stress the importance of having a routine and telling your time where to go. But how does one go about creating an ideal schedule?
(Click the Image for a Closer Look)
Keep in mind that the image above is a perfect day. Out of 365 days each year, I would estimate we have about 1 perfect day and that is if you combine two halves of a couple almost perfect days. So, this schedule is a goal more than a reality. But I have noticed that when I have a general plan for the hours of my day, they go way more in the right direction than if I just kind of wing it.
Here are a few general steps that I follow when scheduling out my day:
- Start of the Day: Decide first what time you want to wake up each morning. I usually think of the first thing that has to happen that day, such as homeschool or getting Troy out the door for class. Then I add two hours – one hour of me time and one hour of getting ready to leave. That is my ideal time to wake up.
- End of the Day: Based on your ideal time to wake up, determine your time to go to bed. How many hours of sleep do you need at night? I’m an 8 hours a night kind of gal and so, if I decide I need to wake up at 6, I plan to be in bed by 9:30 in order to be asleep by 10.
- Morning and Evening Routine: Determine how much time you need each morning and evening for your before bed and after waking routine. I give myself one hour each morning for working out (like I said – in a perfect day), reading scriptures and/or meditation and just to have a moment to wake up. Then I plan an additional hour for showering, dressing, getting my son dressed and cooking breakfast.
- Claimed Time in the Middle: After determining the time I’ll wake up, the time I’ll go to sleep and the hour or two at the end and start of the day to get ready for both, I fill in the slots of time that are already claimed. That can be school classes, taking a child to or from sporting practices, work hours, and other items that are regularly scheduled throughout the week.
- Fill in the Blanks: Now the holes that you are left with are free time! (Did you just hysterically laugh?) Okay, so not free time per say, but time that is available to schedule. Fill in the rest of the blanks of time with the time you determine that you need for preparing meals, doing chores, running errands, visiting family, and everything else that you need to do throughout the day.
- Free Time…for Real: If you are like me you may find that you do have a couple hours of time in your schedule that you aren’t really sure on a weekly basis what will need to be done. I schedule this as free time. This is time that is available for random doctor’s appointments, visits from friends, time to complete a project I’ve been putting off. I plan my free time each day either on Sunday night when I am planning my upcoming week, or the night before as I am going over my plans for the day before bed.
- The Weekends: The weekends are a bit different for us than the rest of the week. We have a jam packed morning on Sunday with church services but other than that, there are no real regular or routine things that happen on Saturday or Sunday. We make both of those much more free and open than the rest of the week. Schedule your weekends according to your own life since there are others who work weekends, have school weekends and other things that have a claim on their time.
I have included with this post a free Excel download of the file that I created to use for making my schedule. I’ve left each cell in 15 minute increments and you can go behind and fill out your own schedule. It will take a bit of Excel know how to get yours to look like mine where I have merged cells into larger blocks of time.
Or if you prefer a pen and paper version, I’ve included a free printable to print and write out your schedule by hand. I have made one for each member of my family. We started going by this schedule this week and I will most likely have to tweak a few things as the weeks progress and I see where this schedule works for us and where it doesn’t. Once it has been tweaked and perfected, I’ll laminate them and hang them in our family command center.