Ahhh excel schedules.
When I was considering how I was going to share my daily schedule I ultimately decided it would be easiest to explain if written down in an excel spreadsheet and broken down into 30 minute time slots. Preparing this absolutely took me back to my days as a figure skating coach. Every 15 minute time slot was spoken for. Even the 15 minute ice resurfacing was my 15 minute breakfast, lunch or dinner (and sometimes impromptu meeting). Looking back at that time I realize how my time management was crucial to my success, or survival, depending on how you looked at it! (If any of my former students are reading this, they can testify to my love of the schedule!)
Times have changed from the days of strict 15 minute time slots, snow pants and skates. Although my schedule is still extremely structured it has become more fluid. I have become relaxed on exact times and more open to change and adaptation as time marches on. With our baby girl constantly changing and growing, I have learned that a schedule that works one week will not work at all the week after.
Sometimes things change due to illness, an activity being cancelled, Daddy being home etc. And sometimes we just need a day to relax and just play at home all day (especially if it's raining). The key to making my schedule work is knowing that it may not start at the exact time I want my day to begin, and being open to omitting personal tasks, routines and desires to make my schedule stay on track.
"Wait, you give up your personal time!" Yep!
If Amelia wakes up at 7:00AM then I adjust the schedule to suit when she was supposed to get up and therefore dismiss my AM routine and blogging. That hour free time in the middle of the day may need to go out the window one day because of teething and Amelia just needing to cuddle. Sacrificing my personal time is sometimes difficult, but I also know that this season of life that we're in won't last forever, which makes it manageable. If those days happen and I only get maybe 15 minutes to sit and have a coffee, I'm still happy at the end of our day (tired, but happy.) Sometimes I may wake up a bit earlier and be able to devote more time to personal or blogging time, it completely depends on how we're all feeling.
As of April 13th, 2017 - (Amelia is almost 11 months)
Creating A Schedule That Works For You
Identify Your Priorities
Before putting pen to paper, key stroke to screen or stylus to tablet, first take a second and identify the priorities in your life. Take a moment and write them down, because those priorities are going to start acting like a filter in your mind.
My priorities are:
Be honest here and recognize that your priorities are probably very different then mine. If a priority in your life is personal fitness, then you need to develop your schedule around that. In my current stage of life I can only give my energy to these three things. When Amelia was first born, there was only one priority - Amelia. That eventually changed to having two priorities (Amelia and my Husband), and then changed again to my current list. Eventually, as I enter the next season of my life I will be able to add additional things on (like fittness, personal time, more time blogging etc.) but with a almost 11 month old thats not physically or mentally possible for me.
After you identify the top priorities in your life, check back with them as you develop your schedule. If one of your top priorities are studying, ensure that you have allotted the right amount of time in your schedule to it and so forth.
Enter the Recurring Events
For me, that's nap time, mealtimes and bedtimes. Maybe for you that is your job, school schedules, sports and activities etc. Whatever events reoccur daily or weekly, enter them in your schedule.
Creating Time Blocks
I create time blocks for my daily routines, such as cleaning, play time and free time. A time block is blocking out a period of time and not clearly identifying what you will be doing during that allotted amount of time. Keeping this time blocked and not clearly allocating tasks you need to do during that time really lets you customize your schedule depending on what's happening during that specific day.
These are where your priorities will start coming in. My first priority is my husband, but he is mentally checked off my list during the day since he is at his office. My second priority then becomes my first, and my beautiful baby girl gets my full attention. She becomes the focus when she is awake and the time blocks I have created will allow me to devote that time to her. When Amelia goes down for a nap my focus shifts to my third priority, the house. The time blocks that I have created for cleaning are marked off on my schedule and allow me to keep up with my cleaning routines and maintenance of our home.
Using time blocks will allow you to clearly see how much time you have available during your day.
Adjust When Necessary
Everything changes. What works for you today may not work for you tomorrow, a month or a year down the road. When life changes and shifts so too must your schedule. Maybe right now you're looking at your schedule thinking "oh man, all my time blocks are for studying I have no free time!" But remember, you identified that as your priority and the season of your life will eventually change and move forward. Your schedule is also just that, YOUR schedule. If you feel that you need to add in some free time or personal time do it! Find the time, move the blocks around and make it work for you and your life.
Everyone in the world has the same 24 hours in a day. It's up to you how you choose to use it. As you develop, tweak or adjust your schedule I encourage you to always keep the priorities in your life in the front of your mind. Try and enjoy the season of life you are in, and in those time blocks and moments find a second to see the beauty around you. Persevere through the difficult times, savor the quiet moments, laugh at the hectic scenes and rejoice in happy experiences, and remind yourself that you have the power to control your destiny and success.
Your's in scheduling,
If you have any questions feel free to contact me via email, FB or Instagram DM!