Before you answer that question, let’s establish what an Ideal Schedule is. I’m not asking how things are going for you, generally speaking. I am asking: Do you have a sample weekly agenda that you wrote down, keep handy, and refer to regularly? When all goes smoothly does it make you feel happy, productive, and relaxed?
Many of my clients resist the idea of committing themselves to a schedule. But they often find, as I have, that a little structure allows them to work more effectively, and frees their minds to play with abandon!
Why would you bother creating an Ideal Schedule, you may be wondering, when “life happens” and things are changing all the time? I’ll tell you: It’s for the same reason you carry a map in your car on a road trip. How will you know when you get there if you don’t even know where you’re going? It’s not a straight line; there are always pit stops, side trips, and (hopefully not) flat tires. And you occasionally need the map to get back on track…right?
To create your Ideal Schedule ask yourself these questions:
- What are my priorities? My own personal categories (areas of priority) are Work, Home, Self, and Others. It helps to describe each one, as I have done in this previous blog post.
- What are my goals? Each priority will have one or more associated goals. And these goals will change over time. For example, if one of your priority categories is Family, one of your early goals may be Keep Children Alive (until they turn 18 and can fend for themselves). Later in life your Family goal may change to Visit Grandchildren (as often as humanly possible).
- What activities are associated with each goal? In the early Family example you may have largely Care-Giving items such as feeding and bathing the children. Later there will be Activities such as soccer practice to drive them to, and homework to help them with. Eventually, when the children are grown, there will be various ways to Stay in Touch with them.
- When, ideally, will I do these activities? Search Google Images for “Weekly Schedule”, choose a template you like (or create your own), and print it out. Make several copies so you can start over if you want to. Fill in the parts of your regular routine that you can’t, or don’t want to, change. Add in the items you have identified. There should be no activity on your Ideal Schedule that does not support a goal, which in turn supports a priority.
- What am I doing now that I can let go of? What are your time-wasters? Far be it from me to say stop watching TV. Whatever you enjoy doing is fine with me. But maybe you could do a little less of it to make room for activities that support your goals and priorities. Then you can watch guilt-free TV! Are you the one who always volunteers? Is there a committee you’d secretly like to quit? A time-consuming project that just wasn’t meant to be?
- What am I forgetting to include? Hint: Women, especially moms, tend to say it’s really important to them to exercise, or relax, or participate in a hobby, but they rarely make time for it. My advice? Schedule it!
- Have I over scheduled myself? Leave some white space. Life happens. (More on how to deal with that in my next post.) You need breathing room; room for error; room to take advantage of unplanned opportunities.
Why do you need an Ideal Schedule?
- So you can stop worrying that you don’t have enough time, and wondering when you will get things done.
- So you don’t have to recreate the wheel each week. You can say to your doctor, for example, “Can we schedule that appointment on a Tuesday? That’s my appointment and errand day.”
- So you can more easily create a back up plan, if things go awry, by referring to your Ideal Schedule to see what can be rearranged.
- So you can be present with whatever activity is at hand. When you are working you won’t be worrying about when you will get to play. And vice versa.
Do you have an Ideal Schedule? (If not, you know who to ask for help, right? This is an easy project to do virtually.)
What other benefits can you think of? Please share in the comments below!
Copyright 2017 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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