Schedules: Do you have one?

alisandeApril 30, 2006

I'm not thinking so much of the kind of schedule that tells you to clean the den on Thursday and polish the silver on the 3rd of the month. (Can you tell I never had one of those schedules?) Instead, I'm wondering about day-to-day planning that enables you to get everything done, from the most tedious chores to the most rewarding projects.

Two friends who have home-based businesses have encouraged me to make a schedule that blocks out time for working on my house, writing, paid work (at home), and other things I want to do. They say without a schedule they waste enormous amounts of time. One friend described how she would drift around the house, doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that, always distracted. She called it "fluttering." I can certainly relate, except I called it "spinning." :-)

So I'm going to give this a try. Not sure of the best method, though. Have any of you had experience you'd like to share?



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I have used a program called MOTH( Mangers of the home) with a good amount of success over the past few years. It's really geared at mom's with homeschooling kids but the idea could work for anyone.

I start by using post it notes in differnt colors to reprsent differnt parts of my day.. or oblgations.. then I think about how often I want to do those things.. I want to write 3 hours a week, one hour at a time. So I make three of the green post its that say writing. Exercise time?.. 30 mins 4x a week, Romance? 4x a pink !.. on and on. I lay these over a board or on a wall and look at how my time flows with my wants VS my obligations.

I then move the whole mess into a table that I make in word. For me this means adding schooling time with each child.. chores, shopping etc. Looking at blocks of time this way can be real helpful. For me i do take it a step further by using color on my table so I can see a balance of wants and needs.. and make corrections just based on the color balance.

A good subject to look up on this is called Time mapping.


Here is a link that might be useful: Time mapping

    Bookmark   April 30, 2006 at 9:15PM
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I don't have a strict schedule, but I do keep a running list going of things I need to do. I just keep a spiral notebook going that lists everything. If I don't complete it, I move it to the next day. Helps me a lot. For my ADD husband, we finally had to put him on a schedule. He is supposed to spend his mornings selling for our new business when he is not at his "real job" but he kept getting distracted with other little duties of the business and it seemed like he was spinning his wheels and getting nothing done. So when I asked him to sell from 9 to 12 and ignore EVERYTHING else, and then deal with the other stuff after noon, he tried it. He has sold more in the last couple weeks than ever. He just needed to focus.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 10:45AM
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This is an interesting topic! Since I retired last fall, I've been struggling with TOO MUCH free time (yes, working mothers, a time will come... :-) Ideal, right? And yet, I never seem to accomplish as much as I think I will. A lot of my projects (such as the yard sale) are in various stages of incompletion. I guess I do a lot of "spinning," too! The problem is that, except for doctor appointments and the occasional plans with a friend, there is nothing that MUST be done on a certain date, at a particular time; almost everything--from housekeeping to organizational projects to daily exercise--can be pushed off till "later." For a while, this was great: I left an extremely stressful job, and it seemed that I needed months of relaxation to recover from burnout. However, recently, I have been feeling that I have too much of a good thing. I'm wasting a lot of time, and that's another way of saying that I'm wasting part of my life.

The main reasons that I never get to "later" are: 1) I start each day reading my favorite forums for a few minutes, and suddenly it's midafternoon; and 2) my main avocation is genealogical research, and when I have a "hot lead," I just keep going to see where it takes me, without looking at the clock. The other factors are a DH who is home all morning and out all evening (flextime), so, to keep out of his way, I get a late start in the morning but I can start dinner very late.

A simple "to do" list helps me focus on the things I want or need to get done. The more structured schedules seem "artificial" to me (for my own situation, that is; I can see how MaddieMom's plan keeps her sane and Brenda's helps her DH be more productive). I've been resisting a schedule, because I have thought that it would be pointless (why make rules, when it really doesn't matter?). Yet, maybe there IS a point, and I just haven't fully absorbed this yet.

When I think of how I organize my week, there are a few "anchors," such as the days I do laundry and grocery shopping. The regularity benefits me, because I can easily resist the desire to launder just a few items or run to the store for a special ingredient; I know that I will get to it on the appropriate day. I ought to do the same thing with my daily activities.

As I write this, I am moving toward a "modified schedule": a loose but specific structure to my day and week. I think I need it!

Thanks, Susan, for starting this thread and giving me a push in the right direction!


    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 11:38AM
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Sue, you stated that well. I can relate to all of it. I left a stressful job in January, and at first the freedom was wonderful! Then, the Too Much Free Time Syndrome set it. It was not a surprise...I remember joking once years ago that I have to get a job outside the home in order to get more done in the home. Working "out," we are forced to make the most of the time we have, when we have it.

Sounds like the schedule would be a good idea!


    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 11:45AM
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I put pending tasks on a whiteboard I see every time I go into the kitchen.

There is a difference between a schedule and a "routine" ... a routine is the order you do things in. A schedule defines what time to do the things.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 12:32PM
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My schedule is pretty much defined by my work day - I work 8:15am to noon, go to lunch, then work until 5:15pm. So the day is pretty well taken care of. I use my palm to schedule calls I have to return for my home business at noon (and set reminder alarms), things I need to do when I get home, and appointments made for evenings. I do also schedule my work projects throughout the day, blocking out chunks of time to work on each separate thing. I get bored working on one thing for too long, so I generally block out times during the day when my brain is most able to handle whatever I'm working on - like more "thought-provolking" projects in the morning, when I'm still waking up and "fresh", and more creative activities like graphic design projects in the afternoon, when I need something more "interactive" to keep me awake. ;-)

I adjust my schedule daily - but I find just having things written down (virtually in my case, but physically works just fine too) makes it more of a "serious appointment" that is less easily brushed off.

I schedule my evenings/weekends too - dinner has a chunk of time that is recurring daily on my calendar, and I block out times during the evening for making calls, meeting with people, and working out. Believe it or not, I block out and schedule times to do laundry too, complete with alarms - otherwise I would just "never get to it".

So yeah...I'm pretty scheduled...but that allows me to see at a glance when I have a few hours or an afternoon free to read a book or crochet, or just go "play". :-)

And yes, I schedule weekends too - yardwork hours, errands, pet care, just makes it easier for me to be flexible. My hubby is the opposite of me - very spontaneous, so the more "scheduled" I am, the easier it is for me to be flexible when he wants to just drop everything to go do something, because I can see at a glance how to "shuffle" things so they still get done "later".

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 4:25PM
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