To make life easier! Ya know - less stressful, more relaxing, allowing more time to do what you'd like, etc. (I know, it sounds easier than it seems.) Truth is, it can be easy.
So many people thing a schedule has to be something that's concrete. Sure, when you were in college (or high school), your class schedule was something you had to follow if you wanted to be successful. But again, I use mine as a guideline...or scaffold. It's simply there to help me accomplish what I'd like, but it's not the end of the world if I don't follow it to a T. And it's flexible, so I can change it whenever I want. It's my schedule, after all.
Through the first week and a half of this January Challenge, I've been talking about prioritizing and figuring out what's important to you, and how you'd like to spend your time. Yes, there are things that you must do...especially if you have children. But making time for what's important to you in life will help you accomplish your goals as well.
Think about it - when you're happy (and doing things you enjoy and want to do), you can accomplish more. You're likely to have more energy and motivation to do things in life that will continue to motivate you, make you happy, make things easier for yourself (and your family), etc.
Take out that list of "how I'd like to spend my time". Did you prioritize in order of importance? This can be hard to do, but once you do this, it will be easier to see what your goals are.
I'm not an expert. But I do know that goals are what motivate us to do our best and want what's best for ourselves. Sure, I'd love to lose some weight. (Don't we all want this?) But, I currently don't have a true "goal" or reason for losing it. Last year, I wanted to lose weight for my wedding. It was the easiest goal to accomplish because I had a reason to do it. The wedding was my "goal". I completed this goal, and then felt like I no longer had a goal...so the weight went back on. I don't currently have a goal for losing weight, so it's not a priority. I have other things in my life that are currently more important.
Looking at my "how I'd like to spend my time" list...the most important thing for me is spending time with Chris. The whole "goal" for me is just simply spending time with him. We could be out to dinner, playing a board game, or watching a movie. I really don't care, as long as we're together, enjoying each other's company.
The next goal on my list is planning for school. Now, as much as I want to do this, I need to look at why I want to. I could spend hours planning. I love everything about my job. I especially love looking for things to do to my classroom to make it more "student friendly". Therefore, I'm spending time looking for posters/signs/decoration ideas/learning charts/organization ideas/etc. But, when I sit down and think about it, I have bigger goals in mind. I want to look at the up coming curriculum and find enrichment activities to go along with my lessons. I want to find resources and books to read that will give me insight on ways I can make my writer's and reading workshops more student friendly and effective. It's no longer all about what my classroom looks like. It looks great. It's now more about what is going to be best for my students and help prepare them for third grade. I'm so glad I've found my goal so now I can focus on what I need for my classroom, and stop wasting the extra time on the unnecessary "bonus" stuff. (I'll spend time on things like this when I have time off, not during the week when I have more important things to worry about!)
I could keep going about each goal of mine from my list, but I won't. It would just make for a long post, and it's not getting to the point of this post: creating schedules and routines.
I'll assume that you included things you need to get done on your list - such as cleaning/organizing/paying bills/etc. Sure, you may not want to do them, but you know they're things you must do in order to keep your home a happy, enjoyable place to live. But, if you don't care about having a clean or organized home, don't include it. (Honestly.)
Seriously consider sitting down and scheduling out your time for each day of the week. First put in the tasks/events you absolutely cannot go without doing (children's classes you have to take them to, weekly appointments, sporting events, classes you attend, etc.), then see what you have left for opening time. Create a really loose schedule so that you can move things around and make it work for you and your family. One of the biggest reasons for creating a schedule is so that you can schedule in the things you want to spend your time doing. Fill in those empty spaces with personal goals or things that will make you happy.
This schedule you're creating will help you "do it all" in your home. You'll be able to find the right balance between things you need to do and things you want to do. A happy mom/wife/woman = a happy home. =]
Having trouble creating a schedule? Take a look at your time tracker from the first week's challenge. Is your new schedule matching up with what you were spending your time doing last week? If not, are there some spaces during the week that you've found yourself "wasting time" that you could add in things you'd like to focus on? You may write down "cleaning" every day at noon for an hour because it's "what you've been doing for the last few months/years"...but did your time tracker show that you've been online pinning everything you can find and only spending 15 minutes cleaning? Maybe that time block doesn't work for you with cleaning if you're constantly being distracted. Think about task placement. Perhaps cleaning would be best done early in the morning, or all on one day? Write in pencil and change/rearrange/reevaluate all week!
On a side note: over the summer, I was famous for creating schedules for myself and then setting a kitchen timer so I wouldn't get carried away. This was a life saver...especially when it came to spending time online. Whenever the timer went off (every hour), I would get up and go organize something. I had nothing else to do since I was home all day, but it got me up and moving and doing something I wanted/need to do.
I've created a daily schedule document for you to create a schedule for yourself. I suggest using pencil and changing it as you "live" through your week. Use your schedule as a scaffold or daily reminder of what you'd like to be doing during each time block.
As for routines, use them for creating weekly or daily cleaning plans for yourself. A routine is "a fixed program", something you do over and over again regularly. I like to do laundry every Sunday, so it has become a routine for Chris and me to do so on this day. The sooner you create a routine for yourself (and add it to your schedule), you'll be motivated and willing to keep up with it.
My personal goal this week is to create a schedule for my time after school and add some routine tasks into that schedule. I plan to include cleaning tasks, blogging, reading, spending time with Chris, etc. (other things that are on my "how I'd like to spend my time" list). I will share my schedule with you on Monday.
So...can you handle the challenge and create a loosely based schedule? I know a lot of people are going to have a hard time with this, but just try it. You may surprise yourself and end up enjoying what you've created!
I'll be back next Monday with planning out tasks and projects with lists and by delegating!
Good luck! If you have any questions, please comment or email! (Make sure your email is linked to your profile or leave it in the comment if you'd like a response!)