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Defining Your Ideal Schedule

By Jennifer Snyder
How we spend our time is how we spend our lives.  How would you like to spend your time?  Now compare that to how you actually spend your time.  If you are craving 5 minutes alone with your spouse or 5 minutes alone period, it is time to define your ideal schedule.

Similar to goal-setting, where you can't get to where you want to go unless you know where it is you are going.  If you do not know how you want to spend you day, how can you possible achieve that?  By defining your Ideal Schedule, you know where and how you want to spend your time, and therefore your life.  You ready?  Let's do it!

Start by simply brainstorming onto a piece of paper the things that you want to accomplish every single day.  This might include time for you, your family, and maybe even some exercise.  All of these things should bring you joy and feed your soul.  Next, list the things you must do each day.  You know what these are; work, self and family care, cooking, baseball practice, etc.  These are things that don't necessarily bring you joy in themselves but would certainly cause a lot of angst if they were not accomplished.  These two lists represent the core of your ideal schedule.  Each day will not be the same but there are some elements that will repeat each day.

Next, we are going to assign an estimated length of time each tasks typically takes.  This is not the time to be OCD.  Just write what you think.  Once that part of the task is complete, go back and add 20% more time to each task.  Many studies have been done that indicate that our tasks actually take much longer than we think.  Add up the time.  What do you see?  If your time adds up to more than 24 hours and 8 hours of sleep aren't on your list, it is time to seriously re-evaluate your personal goals.

If your time breakdown is reasonable, try converting it into a schedule with assigned times.  This is becomes your Ideal Schedule.  This is what a perfect day will look like for you.  Post it on your refrigerator, take a picture with your phone so you can refer to it often.  This is what you are trying to achieve although you seldom will and that is perfectly fine. Each day is different and that is what makes them so wonderful.

Defining your Ideal Schedule is particularly important for Chief Executive Moms (or Dads) and small business owners.  Our schedules are typically at the mercy of others and when we have a moment to spare, it is about putting out the biggest fire.  If this is you, include strategic planning time into your day at least once each week.  Throw in an accountability partner and you will multiply the benefits of this exercise many times over.

Remember, your Ideal Schedule is yours alone and will look different from anyone else's.  You can scratch it out on a fast food receipt or you can decorate it like a scrapbook page.  It is up to you how you do it, just do it.

Have a Neat day!

Jennifer Snyder, Certified Professional Organizer
Neat as a Pin Organizing Experts
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