Creating a schedule that works for you

Work expands to fill all available time, and then some. It's no wonder that when we start to think we have all day that nothing gets done. So what can we do about it if we don't really have a schedule? What about week-ends? Many people seem to stay organized and "on-track" at work, but fall apart when they get home. What's going on?

When we make plans for our time at home, we want to stay flexible and be available for our families when they need us so we avoid having a structured schedule. Often we avoid having any schedule at all. Wrong! Don't throw out the whole concept of a schedule just because you may need to change it occasionally. The trick is to create a schedule that supports your flexibility and that encourages you to get things done without tying you down.

The first thing to do in creating a schedule is to write everything down or type it into the computer. You will want either the daily planner pages that come with some planners (or in some software packages) or a separate sheet of paper or file card for each day of the week. If you are using plain paper, write in the hours on every two or four lines (do you want half hour or 15-minute time slots?) When you finish including all of the information that recurs, either make copies for future use or save the file for a template.

Start with the things you are already doing or that you know have to be done at a specific time. I always start my schedule with meals and bedtime routines. We can eat early or late, but we always eat. I know I have to work everything else around that. It's acceptable to move bedtime back a bit if you are out and about-even small children will adapt if you don't make too many radical changes. The important thing is to have regular mealtimes and an established bedtime and stick to it as often as possible.

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