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My Daily Schedule and Lessons Learned

February 3, 2011

Colorful pieces of my everyday life.









I spent so many years of my life planning for what I’d do when I retired. Well, I’ve been retired for one year and three months now and I’ve been working on all those plans I made. I decided to start using a schedule about 6 months ago. I am one of those “if it isn’t written down, it doesn’t get done” sort of people. So, I used WordPad to make up a schedule. Since my business is on the computer, one of the first things I do in the morning is check my email and online shops. This way I can just bring up the schedule and start to plan my day. At the top of the page I have an overall schedule that looks something like this.
1 hour exercise
1/2 to 1 hour housework
1/2 to 1 hour computer work (usually longer)
at least 4 hours creative work
enjoy life:)
This leaves me a lot of free time, which is the subject for other posts.
Then every evening I set out tasks that I want to accomplish the next day, including the things I didn’t do today. For instance today’s schedule says:

houses quilt/
season’s quilt/
casserole set/
blog about schedule/

I put a / after each item I  worked on and then add what I didn’t do to the next day’s schedule, At the end of a week, I simply erase what I’ve done, but to keep track of my progress, I will write something like this:

1/23-1/29 ok, curtains, dogs, bday, charity quilt
1/31-2/5  successful, finished 2 shower curtains, listed stuff, had fun

That way, I know the schedule is working without having to sift through it all every day.

At the bottom of my schedule are two sections I call  “soon”  for things I’d like to get to within a week or two and “for another day”.  This is where I keep all of the ideas that I can’t possibly accomplish right now, but I want to remember for later.
This schedule has worked well for me so far. Here are the lessons I’ve learned along the way, not just in this scheduling project, but in a life full of juggling family and work.

1.   Don’t plan more than you can handle. You only guarantee failure that way. Be honest with yourself about what you can and cannot accomplish in a given time period. This is probably my biggest struggle.
2.    Allow for  interruptions. Accept that schedules are not written in stone. This was very important when I had children to care for. It seemed like nothing ever got done on some days. Again, plan what you can handle. Accept the fact that some days, just caring for your family is all that you can do. Make that your schedule. Put the rest in the “for another day” file. Have faith, “another day” will come along sooner than you want it to.
3.   Be flexible, but not too much. Keep adding a task to tomorrow if it’s an important one. I capitalize mine, once I’ve put it off for more than two days, to get my attention.  If you keep adding it and it doesn’t get done,  rethink whether you really want to do it, or add it to the “for another day” file.
4.    Last, but not least, enjoy your day, every day. Don’t worry about what does or doesn’t get done. Your peace of mind, family, the people around you, they’re what come first. The doing should happen around that, not in spite of it.

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