A reader, Lyn, asked me this question, "I’m wondering if you are a person who has a timed schedule or goes by a list of tasks? If you go by a timed schedule I would love to know how you manage to keep “on time” and maybe a few tips on how you set up your day?"
I started by making a template of my day in the form of a time map: https://www.mysimplerlife.com/?p=960. This is a weekly schedule that has everything from chores to exercise to family time. I wanted to make sure I had enough time in a day to do what I wanted to. Some things went from weekly to bi-weekly. And from twice a week to once a week.
But, I don’t go by the schedule. I tried that and would get so discouraged when I got off track. Sometimes things took longer than on other days. And what if I got a migraine and slept in? The whole day was shot! Finally I thought it was ridiculous to get stressed over a piece of paper. So I moved to my checklists.
I took what was on the time map and made it into checklists. I have a daily routine checklist with a morning routine, daily work tasks, after work and evening routine. It’s in a plastic sheet cover and on a clipboard so I can mark off with a whiteboard pen.
Then I have my lists for work tasks, home tasks, and errands (each on separate lists). I pick the top 3-5 things to do for that day. If I get those done then I can pick more. But, when I have a list with 10-15 things on it, I get disappointed when I don’t finish. Even when the list is not doable.
I also have weekly work tasks, weekly home tasks and a yearly checklist with what to do during March, May, etc. Yearly tasks are usually done on the weekends.
I don’t always get everything on the checklists done. But, when that checklist comes around again I see what wasn’t done and make sure I get it done this time.
So tomorrow after my morning routine I will do my top work task. Then my daily work tasks like email and paperwork. I’ll do my work to do’s from the work task list until lunch. After lunch I will start on the weekly work tasks. Then I’ll continue work to do’s until the kids get home from school/extracurricular activities depending on the day. After a snack with the kids I will do my after work routine which includes the weekly home checklist (and errands once a week). After dinner is the evening routine. My personal tasks like writing letters, calling a friend or trying to get a better deal from the cell phone company are done before dinner or after the evening routine. And I try to have at least one fun thing in the evening. Monday night I plan on making Easter cards with the kids.
Don’t worry about "getting it all done." Keep breathing and taking breaks. And keep people at the top of your to do lists.