Do you use a Planner?
Make lots of Lists?
Type it all into a Spread Sheet? Or write it into a preprinted grid?
Does your system consist mainly of Post-Its?
Do you just describe your style as “Flying by the seat of my pants”?
Whatever it is that you have been doing, I have some input that may make your schedule a little less hectic. (Oh wow! That got your attention!) This is not one of those “How to squeeze 48 hours worth of stuff into a 24 hour day” thoughts. Stick with me.
- Make a List of EVERYTHING that goes on during the week for you and your family.
*Why? #1 Because lists are so darn fun! and #2 Because it will help you see exactly what all you have to (and want to) fit into your week.
*What kinds of things do you put on the list? #1 While you may not necessarily need to break down your list into such pieces as “scrub toilet” (some people do and that’s ok too!) You do want to make sure to have time allotted for cleaning. If you know that you need to clean certain rooms on different days, then write it out specifically on your list. #2 Make sure everyone’s extracurricular activities make it on to the list. Don’t forget your own!
- Take a look at your weekly planner. IF YOU DON’T HAVE A WEEKLY PLANNER, DON’T GIVE UP HERE.
- If you don’t have a planner, or if you need a working diagram, try making a simple spreadsheet. You can use Excel or good old pen and paper. Create a grid with each day of the week across the top and times in 60-30 min increments down the left margin. See the table below for an example.
Personally, my generic outline would look something like this…
|8am||Start Day||Start Day||Start Day||Start Day||Start Day||Clean Kitchen|
|2pm||Work||Groceries||Vacuum||Clean fridge||Lesson Plans|
|6pm||Date Night||CleanUp Toys||Youth Night||CleanUp Toys||CleanUp Toys||CleanUp Toys||CleanUp Toys|
|7pm||Date Night||Dinner - Bath||Youth Night||Dinner - Bath||Dinner - Bath||Dinner - Bath||Dinner - Bath|
|8pm||Date Night||Bed||Dinner – Bath - Bed||Bed||Bed||Bed||Bed|
- Does it take me two hours to buy groceries? No. It also doesn’t usually take me two hours to clean our two bathrooms. I do not believe in over-scheduling.
- Do I really run errands 4-5 days a week? Sometimes.
- Why are there all those blank spaces? I like to have the freedom to pop in a movie, go on an outing, organize a closet, have a friend over… in other words, be spontaneous. Also THINGS HAPPEN. If there is something I HAVE TO to during grocery time I know that it can just get done during one of the open areas later in the week. Which brings me to a very important point: Do Not Over Schedule. Leave yourself some “white space” in the day.
- Is “errand” also code for “play group”? You bet.
- What does “Start Day” entail? Anything from a shower to cleaning the kitchen to breakfast time to actually DOING my hair. Whatever it takes for me to Start MY Day.
- How flexible is this schedule? As flexible as my family and I need it to be. Saturdays don’t get scheduled tightly. We often have projects going on or we decide to be spontaneous. Sometimes I even take the opportunity to work with my lovely clients.
While Post-Its have their place (believe me, I love post-its!) and can even be useful in figuring out how to stick things into your planner or onto your weekly grid, they do have drawbacks.
- Post-Its are easily lost.
- Most of us aren’t using them to plug things into a pre-existing schedule. For example, finding the post it with the time of your doctor appointment won’t do you any good if you find it on the wrong day.
- Many Post-Its together to make up one week’s schedule can cause important items to get lost in the shuffle.
If you are flying by the seat of your pants, PLEASE leave a comment and let me know how that is working for ya. I have been doing the planner/lists/spreadsheet system for at least 15 years. I can’t imagine those of you who are such free spirits ever making it to an appointment on the right day much less the right time. I am not putting you down. I really do want to be enlightened because all the laws of time management are against you.
Final Note: If at all possible, keep one calendar for your whole family – home and work. Why? If you have multiple calendars, all events may not be recorded on all calendars. This gives you an inaccurate picture of what you have on your agenda. You wouldn’t want to schedule a business dinner party on the same night as Little Johnny’s biggest baseball game of the year. You wouldn’t want to schedule a luncheon on the same day as preschool graduation. You wouldn’t want to schedule a doctor’s appointment on your purse calendar and then schedule a home repair for the same day and time. One calendar means that you know what is going on at all times for all family members.
Disclaimer: I know that many of you use digital devices and wonderful internet tools to help you keep track of your days and time. I think it is wonderful and I am glad it works for you. I am a luddite when it comes to my planners. In order to “make things happen” in my mind, I need the tactile pen and paper. Realize that the digital tools are usually using the grid system like the spreadsheet shown above and hopefully you can take away some useful information with you this week.
If you are in the Jacksonville/St. Johns area and would like your home better organized, and would like the assistance of a professional organizer, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org You can also find me on Facebook by clicking HERE or searching for Organize With Julie. Want to follow me on twitter? Find me @juliebavi.