My effective scheduling system
Do you ever feel like you have too much to do and not enough time? Like you have such a long list of to-dos and you’re just not sure how you can fit them all in a day? I’ve been there and in fact, I used to live there every day. It’s no fun and leaves you feeling defeated, stressed, and overwhelmed.
After spending way too long stuck on that hamster wheel, I decided I was ready for the weight to be lifted and to make things simpler from day to day. Instead of being that overachiever that I was in the past, I am much more realistic about what I can do in a day and how to get it done. And as a result, I am able to actually get everything done in a day and be more accomplished overall.
I have a feeling you want that too, so here’s the system I use and how to make it work for yourself. If you’ve found yourself spinning on the same hamster wheel and are ready for more productive days that leave you feeling accomplished, test out this scheduling method to see if it works for you.
Why I believe in planning your week
First things first, I want you to understand where I’m coming from when I talk about planning your week. I think it’s important that we understand our priorities for each day and focus on one day at a time so that we can be intentional with our time in the long run. If you don’t think ahead at least a little bit, you’ll end up feeling more behind and scattered.
By planning your week/month/year, you can break down bigger tasks and reach more goals. Plus, you won’t feel lost about what to do and how to tackle your list and you can keep moving forward with intention. The goal is to think about what you have to get done as a whole, sift through and prioritize it, and break it down by day so you can knock things off one at a time.
The scheduling system
Every Sunday I do a weekly prep where I think through what needs to get done that week and how I am going to make that happen. With much practice and flexibility, I’ve managed to get to a point where I can map out my week and get most (if not all) of my to-dos done each week. And even if I don’t get it all done I’ve learned how to be ok with that and embrace the progress I’ve made that week instead of dwelling on what didn’t get done
The first thing to think about is what you need to get done that week. Do a brain dump and make a long list of all the things. Consider your goals and what tasks you need to complete to make progress towards those goals. Write it all out even if you’re not sure if you’ll have time for it yet.
Then prioritize it. Go through and figure out what really needs to be done and what can wait. Determine what are the most important things to get done and think about how much time is needed for each task. This can be a mental thing and you don’t necessarily have to write it out, but if it helps, rewrite your list in an order of highest to lowest priority.
Next, break it down by day. For me, I have a routine that I go through each week where I do certain tasks/chores on each day so that makes it even easier. I batch my work and personal tasks and have set days for each thing. For example, I do all my client work on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I do my grocery shopping and food prep on Monday. So I look at what needs to get done for the week and categorize it by day. All the client work gets divided onto those days, cleaning on the other days, etc.
Now that you know what you need to do each day to complete your list for the week you can focus on one day at a time. Whether you use a paper planner or a digital one, write out your day and think about what you will do first, second, etc. based on your routine/schedule and amount of time it will take to do your tasks. For example, I always work for an hour or two in the morning, have breakfast and activity time with the kids when they wake up, then spend some time doing the daily chore task and any errands, and do more work in the afternoons. By keeping a consistent routine like this, I have a better idea of how much time I have to work and complete tasks and can, therefore, schedule my to-dos accordingly so that I check off all the items on my list. Make sense?
How to make it work for you
The best way to make this work for you is to test it out. Give it a trial run for a week or two and make adjustments for your own routine and lifestyle. But the gist is to consider your goals, break down your tasks, be aware of the amount of time you have to get things done, and take it one day at a time. And always remember that if you don’t get it done, there is always tomorrow. Sometimes life happens and things don’t go as planned, and on those days we just have to shift our tasks to the next day and go from there.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Emily Ley that is always a guiding light when I am doing any scheduling and planning:
Do what matters, and forget the rest.
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