I love productivity hacks, I enjoy having schedules and goals and getting things accomplished. Something about having a visual layout of my day and week that helps me grasp everything that I have going on.
I’ve learned though, that I can’t cram stuff into my daily or weekly schedule just to have it there, in fact, the more I put in my daily schedule, the less I do. It’s like I completely freeze up with how overwhelming it is to say I’m going to accomplish 20 things in one day.
Can I accomplish 20 things in one day? Sure. But having a list of all of them, I’m likely to give up before I start.
I’ve been reading Mini Habits by Stephen Guise And what I do with time blocking in my daily schedule is exactly what he’s talking about.
I don’t plan every minute of every day. Instead, I give myself blocks of time designated to one purpose.
When I first get a new planner I lay it out in front of me and print out the school schedule. I begin by marking all the school times on one side of the day, just so I know if the kids are home or have the day off and I can see at a glance when they will be gone. Color-code: Yellow for Children/Family
Then I go through and block out the time in the morning I need to designate to getting them breakfast, making sure they take a lunch and have all the school papers and anything else that comes up.
Next, I do the same thing for dinner. This tends to be more flexible, but I have it marked off from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM This includes cooking time and eating time. Generally what I cook takes about 30 minutes. Color-code: Yellow for Children/Family
Next is faith-related events: Church, Bible study, dinner with the transitional home we are a part of, etc. Color-code: Green for Faith-Related
Then I get out my husband’s schedule- he works part-time, which means I can work on his days off. Similarly to the kid’s school schedule, these hours are marked on one side of the day. Color-code: Orange for Brian’s work hours
Finally, I get to schedule my work hours. I take into account how much time I need after breakfast where I drink coffee, read, and journal prayer. I also take into account what time I need at the end of my work time- I need to give about an hour in between to be able to visit with Brian and not feel like we’re just seeing each other as we kid-swap.
On his full days off, I can give myself more hours to work. I block that time out, but will quit after my to-do list for that day is completed. I don’t push myself to work simply because I have more time left in my block after I’ve completed my allotted tasks; my brain is exhausted and already had been planning to be done as soon as XYZ was complete. So basically, even if I wanted to get more done, by brain has clocked out and if I try, I end up mindlessly bouncing from browser tab to browser tab accomplishing zilch.
Saturday I mark out 1.5 hours to clean the house. You can read about that here. This changes week to week, depending on if Brian works that day and what time he goes in. He also has coffee with some friends every Saturday morning, so I plan it for after he comes home and has a bit of downtime before we jump into cleaning.
When I get our 19-year-old’s work schedule, I mark that in red on the side of the day (similar to how to do the school hours and Brian’s work hours) so I can easily see what times he will be gone as well. Of course, he’s 19 so I can’t always predict when he’s gone, but at least I know his work schedule and then I’m not trying to keep it in mind.
Before I start my work week, I will take time to sit with the calendar and pencil in what I need to accomplish. I have to have a set goal to work towards, or I just don’t push myself to complete things. At the beginning of the year, my goal is to write and schedule 6 months of blog posts. I want these all done so I can focus on writing books, improving classes, etc.
For me, it works best to batch tasks, after I write and schedule blog posts, I work on the next project until it’s complete and then move on to the next. Focused work accomplishes more in less time. 😉
If you want to see how my days flow you can here:
My favorite resources for scheduling and productivity are:
- Passion Planner
- Freedom Journal
- Mastery Journal
- Papermate Pens
- BIC highlighters
- Pencil Pouch
- My favorite mechanical pencil