Making a Daily Schedule For Yourself
You are right. There are simply not enough hours in the day.
As a matter of fact, between kids, pets, work, house cleaning, social obligations, family, friends, significant others... and the list goes on! You probably have a lot less time than you think.
The grand result of this is incredible frustration.
This is why it can be comforting to be unaware of exactly what time is used for what things in our day. If we don't know we can't be frustrated by it.
On the other hand, not knowing means we continuously find ourselves feeling like the day gets away from us, like even if we take one step forward on something we want there are always two steps to take back.
But, when we take the time to manage the day something incredible happens. Things we didn't originally see coming, don't affect us so deeply.
We are able to maintain focus rather than continuously get distracted. We find we're taking the types of steps forward that keep us ahead, and instead of seeing only roadblocks, short cuts to what we want appear seemingly out of nowhere.
When you are the one in control of your day, you see more opportunities and make progress that really matters, and frustration disappears.
What Makes up a Daily Schedule?
To set up a great Daily Schedule you first have to know what things generally make up your day. The components of a day, for most of us, fall into the following categories in order of priority.
It's a great exercise to categorize the most common tasks and events on your Daily Schedule under these categories.
These are things like taking a shower, commuting, eating, doing things for/with the kids, managing relationships.
In other words, the very deeply ingrained parts of our lives we rarely consider in planning, but must do most days if not every day.
These are the things we take it upon ourselves to do like: meetings, our jobs, helping out friends, volunteer work.
The sort of activities that while critical and often the most time consuming of our day can have just a little more flexibility than an obligation.
This is usually where people draw the line of "Work vs. Fun" anything personal equates to things like: Hobbies, Goals, Groups, Fitness, Sports, Entrepreneurship.
They are generally leisurely in nature, but we may have aspirations for them to become something more, or at least to fulfill desires we may not otherwise fulfill in day-to-day life.
These are activities like: Watching Television, Reading, Games, Parties, or other forms of Play, and Self-Care.
They can be time-consuming if we do not have discipline around them, and they are often seen as frivolous. So, they are often the first to go when other categories bulk up.
Scheduling Order of Operations
The most common way we schedule our lives, even subcionciously is in the order of - Obligations, Responsibilities, Personal, and finally Entertainment.
While this is not inherently bad, but it is what leads to the burnout culture so many of us are beginning to experience. Heightened senses and communication around adhering to Obligations and Responsibilities over Personal and Entertainment valued activities creates the imbalance that leads many self-help books to say things like: "Schedule in your personal time first," and "Find time for you,".
But, balance is about so much more than what comes first and what comes last. It's unique to our individual personalities, the work we do, and a whole host of factors that if we align will allow the unique us to live our most optimal lives.
Try to schedule your day differently by mixing up the order of what goes into your schedule first to last.
There are two things you're looking for in this process.
- First, which set up creates a keen sense of motivation to do what you've set out once the day is filled in?
- Second, which setup creates the most accurate representation of your day.
It's important to note that any schedule that hits the mark 100% is going to be incredibly rare, and not the norm!
80% and Above accurate is an incredibly well put together schedule.
60-80% accurate is good and nothing to tip our noses at.
40-60% accurate is fair and will probably be the most common starting out.
0-40% accurate is simply something to work on, and can be improved quickly.
We're all going to have accurate and inaccurate days. Sometimes it will be due to our own actions, sometimes due to others. What goes wrong is less important, than what we do when things do go wrong. How we react, what we change, and how we grow are far more important.
We'll get into this more with Lessons Learned, Wins, and Gratitude.
The Journey to Balance
To create balance in your life and remove frustration there are some core factors to consider, some are easier to address and require little change to your day-to-day, others may cause a significant change and require major shifts in your life.
Disclaimer: You are in control. What follows are not meant to be directives or advice. It is merely intended to help you create some awareness around the major challenges many of us face at the outset of creating a reliable schedule. You are solely responsible for any actions you take.
Change, Fix, Remove
When it comes to the categories: Obligations, Responsibilities, Personal, and Entertainment. There is an exercise that can be very beneficial to building a more and more accurate schedule. One thing at a time.
Ask yourself this question: "What is holding me back?"
Don't let anything go unchecked. Put every part of your life, every relationship under assessment. This isn't to say make judgments on people. This isn't about anyone but you and what you need to make improvements.
First Assess for Change:
Change means you need to address something in your life to alter it. This could be an internal factor like burnout, negative self-talk, or any other mental challenge. It could be an external factor like a person, job, or other obligations and responsibilities. I could even be something personal or entertainment related.
Whatever it is, something about it needs to change. So that it stops affecting you so negatively. If this has to do with other people then some level of compromise will likely be needed, the point is not to create more rigidity, but rather more flexibility both in yourself and others.
If you can't change it?
Second Assess for Fixing:
Fix means to check to see if something is "broken" that needs your attention. The hardest lines or walls we create in our lives reach out even into unrelated areas and can create major roadblocks for us. Consider, did you do or not do something you should have? Is technology causing you to miss out on the important things in life? Is there something you need to answer for, take responsibility for, or in some way repair. Again, this can reach into Internal, External, or even entertainment realms.
Whatever you do to fix the challenge is not likely to be what needs doing in order to maintain. So once a challenge is fixed consider again any Changes that you might need to make so that any break doesn't happen again.
Third Assess for Removal:
This is the hardest and likely most life-impacting of them all, is if all else fails, consider moves to Remove things from your life. Yes, it's easier said than done. But, if there's something in your life that truly needs removal nothing is more important!
If allowed to go unchecked, the things you should remove from your life but don't become a pure poison that spreads to every part of your life.
If you've never done anything like this before, it can be a long process, but at the end of the day if you change, fix, and remove all the things in your day that hold you back. You'll find yourself with a much more reliable day, more resources and resourcefulness at your disposal, and paths you never noticed before open up to take you even faster towards your goals!