What You Need to Begin Building an Effective Schedule

Starting my day the night before is proving to at least give me a sense of what my day requires.  Reviewing my calendar, task list, kid schedules, work schedule, menu ideas, and more – help me stay focused on the important things I want to accomplish in life – not just the everyday “stuff” that needs doing.  One of the biggest hurdles for me has been building an effective schedule!

I like to keep things fluid.  My life can literally change with the wind some days and I want to have flexibility that allows me to move with the changes that come, while still allowing me to FINISH things I have started!  I am currently working through a variety of different self-paced courses and webinars that are helping me get a big picture of my life as I know it.  I have one for blogging, two for internal/personal work, and one for home management.  I have slowly been digging through each of them simultaneously (because each one is self-paced, I can do this better than trying to slog through one at a time.)  One of the most significant things I have come to realize is that each one – in its own unique way – is leading me in the same direction.

Identifying my personality traits, my quirks & bents, my passions & desires, my weaknesses & opportunities to improve – are all helping me become the WHO I can be…  It’s not just about checklists for me.  Although I do love a really good checklist (and if you love checklists, come back tomorrow because I will have some *freebie* checklist options for you!)  I know that marking something as completed gives me a big sense of internal satisfaction and accomplishment.  But the unchecked boxes can sometimes trip me up with “I should have done more…”  Aha – there’s a little trap I set for myself that when I fall prey to, I lose focus, get discouraged, get overwhelmed, get lazy, and then I hit rock bottom.

So how do you begin to build an effective schedule?

Truth be told, there are a few standards to come to terms with before you can actually put an effective schedule in place.  (They are the building blocks for success in my daily life.)

Know Who You Are

Knowing oneself is not about keeping the focus on self.  But, knowing how you are wired can certainly help guide you into a more fulfilling life.  For me, understand my personality helps me know why some things are critically important to me and why I let other things slide.  Why some things make my anxiety rise to near panic, and why other things disappear from my view quickly.  When I understand that it is not in my nature to be tied down to certain tasks, I can find ways to delegate them to others who do them better.  OR, I can learn how to do them well enough and get over myself in the process.

Know Who You Are to Serve

This means you need to know Who is both affected by your schedule and has impact on your schedule.  If you have a spouse, a family, a job that requires travel, etc., it is important to understand how and why these parts of your life come together.  You have to know the needs and limitations that these things bring to your life so that you can plan effectively for them.

Frankly, while I would like to say “Jesus First” is totally my nature, it really isn’t.  It is truly what it is in my heart and what I want to see in myself – but I am as selfish as they come.  Which is why it is important for me to take stock and understand that for MY LIFE, it is crucial that everything I do is based on this:  To love and serve Jesus, and to love and serve Others.  WHEN I keep this in my vision, everything else falls into place.  When I don’t, I am frazzled and empty and don’t have anything left to give.

Know WHY

In almost any self-help workbook, workshop, class, etc., one of the first steps to making plans is to “know your why”.  This means understanding where you are in life, recognizing what season of life you are in, and what goals you have set for yourself (your marriage, your family, your job, your budget, etc.) Knowing you WHY is important when setting goals because the answer has HUGE impact on motivation.

Ultimately my WHY reverts back to my previous point – but when I break things down, knowing WHY dishes have to be done or don’t have to be done, or WHY dusting once a month is enough or not enough, or WHY setting aside time for coloring is important – helps me to build a schedule that is both conducive to my personality, supportive of my home & family, and satisfying in the completion of set tasks every day.

Taking stock of these needs has become an important step in moving towards a better schedule.  I do NOT have it all mastered, but I am sharing what I have learned because if you are like me – and you love to learn from others who are in the trenches with you – then you know that sometimes it just takes a little bit of a change in perspective to make life better.

I will share some scheduling tips I have implemented – and some free printables I put together that I have personalized for my kids and myself.  We are rolling these schedules out this week – so we are a work in progress, too!