Creating & Maintaining a Weekly Schedule

Ask anyone who knew me decently well in college (and even high school and maybe even my close friends today) and any of them will tell you that I become giddy thinking about creating and planning a schedule! I have always loved planners but have always struggled with some limitations. In college my freshman year our Campus Crusade leaders challenged everyone to make an Excel schedule for the week. This was to include our class schedule and any other requirements such as those to Crusade or any club or group we belonged to. The point was to compartmentalize your time and see on paper how much time is spent doing various activities. Then we could see where to cut out or where was appropriate to add in our quiet time and other important ways of spending our time pursuing the Lord. I have been using these Excel files ever since! I loved signing up for classes for each semester because it meant I could plan my Excel file finally!!! Of course my life nowadays is quite different. I abandoned Excel my entire nursing career (any nurses will know why)… my work schedule every week it seemed was different and of course now the challenge arises from having little kiddos. BUT… I have come back to Excel and it works perfectly for my Type A brain and keeps me on track.

I have a few tips I have learned about creating a schedule over the years:

  • set ATTAINABLE goals – I used to have myself studying all sorts of hours in the afternoon and late into the night and then getting up early for my quiet time and get going… NOT REALISTIC. I knew it at the time but it was what I wanted my schedule to look like. It was a goal but not an attainable one. When using a schedule to keep track of your goals you need to be realistic or you will constantly feel like a failure and quit quickly. If you’re wanting to start working out then your goal and schedule should not be 5-7 days/week… that’s hard for anyone to maintain let alone someone just starting out… start with 3 days/week. This is a goal but it is an attainable one. Once you attain it then increase the days.
  • factor in down time and travel time – If something starts at 9 AM, don’t start your block at 9 AM… start it at 8:30 AM. That will allow for travel time and packing for kiddos or anything else that may come up. It is important and falls align with setting attainable goals that you schedule in down time. If you need a nap a couple days a week then schedule that in. Schedule 3 days a week with a nap included and the other 4 days schedule whatever you need to get done during that time. This way you know on Mondays I get my nap!!! And it will be okay because Tuesdays and Wednesdays are set aside to accomplish my other tasks. This way too if you’re not very tired on Monday you can accomplish your Tuesday tasks and then on Tuesday fit in a nap because your tasks are already accomplished!
  • don’t forget to schedule meal times and showering! – Ever since having kiddos (wait… I’ll confess… ever since college!) I have struggled to shower every day. Depending on the age of my kiddos I stick to an every other day plan or 5 days/week. Am I really admitting to this? Of course if I sweat or stink or am covered in baby spit-up that might change. But let’s face it… it can be a challenge to shower when the kids are safely entertained and take the time to get ready on a daily basis! So for me it is important to look at my week and pick days I can skip a shower : ) For example, Wednesdays is zoo day for us which is a long day and takes a lot of preparation. I plan to skip my shower on Wednesday which means it’s vital for me to take one on Tuesday. Tuesday is my women’s bible study in the morning which means I have to plan this shower time in early in the morning to be ready and prepared. It is also important to plan in meal preparation, meal eating and meal clean-up time. Is 15 mins. realistic? Or is it 1 hr? Only you know and every meal, every day and every family is different. On average we spend about 1 hr in the mornings with breakfast prep, eating and clean-up… maybe the same or closer to 1 1/2 hrs in the evening. I need to plan this time in so our mornings aren’t a hectic rush to move on and so at dinner time we’re not sitting down super late for dinner.

So here it is! This is what one week looks like. The top line are the days of the week and the left column are the hours and half hours in the day. I color code based on activity. This I did in college and color coded what was for school, what was for work, etc. For example, the yellow spaces are meal times; the dark blue spaces are church/quiet time/bible study, the red spaces are Amelia’s learning time, etc. Notice all the white spaces : ) those are free times for me! What do I do every afternoon when the kiddos wake up from their naps? Whatever we want/need to do. If we had to run unexpected errands or had dr. appts in the morning and couldn’t do learning time then we can fit it in here. If I’m wanting to create a culinary masterpiece then I have the time to do so here. If we want a special movie night then we can do so here! It is so important to have white spaces so you don’t feel like every single second has to be planned… there’s leniancy.

001

Here’s a close-up of my Mondays. I have picked Monday to be laundry day and Friday to be cleaning day. Picking one day a week helps me because if on Thursday I see something needing cleaning attention but my Thursday is already so busy I don’t have to stress wondering how to fit it in… I know that Friday is cleaning day and I will take care of it then.

002

Now, while this does look all nice and neat it is just a guideline to run by. Most of these things (except schedule events like church and bible study) happen around this time frame but the days still flow smoother having the guidlines. I want to emphasize something… schedules are great in the moment but require great flexibility. My schedule is only through April because at the end of April we will be welcoming another infant : ) : ) and we will be moving (again!) and we have no idea where or to what type of job so I have no clue what a schedule might look like in May. BUT I wanteId to make the most of every opportunity and instead of just waiting until things seem settled and normal in my life before I make a schedule I wanted to make one for the here and now… no matter how short it may be. This helps all of us stay on track and stay accomplished and focused and productive. I know when I don’t have an idea of how my week and days look then it’s so hard for me to exercise or wake up for my quiet time or whatever it may be. I’ll think that the time will just magically appear at some point and I’ll know what to do in it… but that’s how 5:00 rolls around and I’m still in my PJ’s and we’ve accomplished nothing and I haven’t a clue what to make for dinner and I find myself all of sudden battling a depressed and frustrated attitude.

I have also tried a weekly schedule that is a little less structured such as this one. It actually worked great at the time and I’m sure at some point I will go back to this just depending on what is going on in my life. I fit in our meal schedule for the week and also what we were going to do for learning time that week. I liked having the kiddos nap time schedule in with which days I wanted to accomplish what. This prevented the same feeling of I should research this or that and instead of wondering when it would get done and where to fit it in I had a research period set aside during one nap time day each week so I knew come that day I could sit down and research stuff. I wouldn’t feel guilty like I had something else to do and I didn’t feel overwhelmed at all I wanted to accomplish.

For the Week of:

Weekly Schedule

 

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

                                                                                       *laundry*          *cleaning*

Breakfast:               
Amelia Learning Time (8A – 10A):              
During Joshua Morning Nap (10A – 12P):            
Lunch:                
During Kiddos Afternoon Nap (2P – 5P): Blog Spanish Finances Piano Read Research Spanish Planning Piano
Dinner:                

 And I have also just tried a list format like this one mentioned on this post here. This is still the general flow of my schedule but since living in the city with being at a church that holds a bible study and going to the zoo etc. I needed a little more planning for the entire day.

Good luck with your scheduling!

 

 

 

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