5:30 am – Feed ChiChi
6:30 am – Get ready for the day
7:00 am – Coffee and maybe breakfast
8: 00 am – Start work
12:00 pm – Lunch
5:00 pm – Off work
What an exciting day....
DESIGNING A DAILY SCHEDULE
Don’t get me wrong, a good simple daily schedule is sometimes all you need, however, if you want something with a bit more pizzazz! You're going to need to capture not only your general tasks and workflow but those in-between moments which turns a simple daily schedule into a functional one.
There are many ways to go about creating a daily schedule but in general, there are usually three types of schedules.
The Meticulously Planned schedule, the Long Game schedule, and the Creative Mess schedule.
You may be able to guess which schedule I prescribe to just by viewing the list of necessary planning items I use for my annual, monthly and daily planning and scheduling.
I have a Day Designer Daily & Monthly Planner,
a Poketo Project Planner,
two small line paper notebooks,
a Creative Year Wellness journal,
a Creative Year Inspire journal,
and finally a Creative Year Gratitude journal.
*The Creative Year Collection from Michaels.
I believe the best word to described my planning style is meticulous - an adjective meaning to show attention to detail, being very careful and precise.
This may be a bit much for you or just right, it really depends on what is most useful to you. For daily planning, I use my Day Designer Daily & Monthly Planner and my Work & Play Daily Planner sheets.
The Work & Play Daily Planner Sheets
The Work & Play Daily Planner sheets were designed to focus on daily achievement and separate the work days from my days off. While my Day Designer planner is very useful for keeping up with my daily tasks, I wanted to make sure I had some accountability for the level of productivity I felt I was lacking.
The Work Daily Planner sheet encourages me to make a detailed plan around meetings and appointments so that I use every available moment to get things done. While the Play Daily Planner sheet encourages me to limit my screen time and practice a self-care, so that I don't end up wasting my entire day off.
Detailing my tasks in several different schedules that all essentially say the same thing helps me remember them and also keeps me accountable. I review my schedules at the end of the day and check off ones I've completed or move tasks to another day, all while keeping my projects, work and play tasks separate.
What Type of Schedule is Right for You?
It takes me 10 minutes to get ready for the day, maybe 20 minutes if I decide to add Chap-stick to the mix. For me, I get the most joy out of my mornings by sitting in silence with a fresh cup of coffee for about 10 minutes before I do anything productive for the day. Which means I have an entire hour between 7 am and 8 am and that extra 10 minutes, to do whatever I want with no one to bother me.
The Meticulous Planner
If you are a detail oriented planner, it doesn't mean you have to have twelve different schedules sitting on your desk like me. However, it may mean that a schedule that shows a clear separation of tasks or projects would help you keep track of everything you're doing. It may also mean that you prefer to schedule tasks at specific times.
“My daily schedule generally stays the same every day but what changes are the in-between moments.”
I use alarms to keep me on schedule, I have an alarm for feeding ChiChi breakfast in the morning, an alarm for getting ready for work and an alarm for when my workday starts. This way, I can whilst away the in-between moments not really thinking about what time it is or what other responsibilities I have because I’m completely free until I hear the ring of my alarm bell.
Ideas to fill in-between moments:
10 minutes of mindfulness
Cook a quick breakfast
Pack or prep a lunch
Work on a painting project
Update my budget
Watch an inspirational video
Read a few pages of that book I still haven’t finished
Have two cups of coffee!
Check my work calendar and plan out my day
Cuddle with ChiChi
Clean the counters – because COVID
The Long Game Schedule
If you prefer to see the overall picture instead of the details, then a block schedule might work best for you. Block schedules help you orient your day around tasks to be completed within a certain time of day. Instead of making the commitment to start a task at 9 am, you add it to a task list where you know that you want to get all of those tasks completed sometimes between 12 noon and 2 pm that day. This type of schedule gives you more maneuverability with your chess pieces (tasks), where it won't mess up your entire schedule if you have to move tasks around.
My work day morning routine follows a block schedule because mornings are the most important part of my day, my routine consists of a list of tasks I want to get done before I start work. I am what you might call ‘a morning person’. I do truly enjoy waking up early and getting my day started as the sun comes up.
My entire mood for the rest of my day is often based on how my morning has gone, so it is imperative that I do everything in my power to start my day off right.
The Creative Mess Schedule
My two lined notebooks are creative mess schedules, they are readable and understandable to me but another set of eyes might have a lot of questions. This is because creative mess schedules, get the job done without any of the fancy features of planner or organization of template and they constantly change from one day to the next. You can add some structure by using the bullet journal method, which outlines techniques to help you capture your daily tasks.
If you prefer a running task list, using a simple piece of line paper and using colorful pens or markers to denote headers or highlight important tasks, then this is the schedule for you. My notebook have everything from grocery lists, to ideas for projects lists, to general notes with no real organization or sectioning, yet I know where everything is most of the time.
As you can see I like to utilize different aspects of these types of schedules because it works for the way I like to schedule my days. Hopefully now you have an idea of how you might be able to start your own daily schedule.
Creating your Own Daily Schedule
Start with what you know needs to happen for the day based on: when you wake up, when you normally get ready, the time you need to start work, etc. and delineate those tasks first on the schedule. Then figure out what works for you by trying it all!
Try one style for a week and if you find that scheduling based on specific times, eliminate it and try a different style next week. Take a month to just see what works for you and what doesn't, it is most likely that you will need to combine features of the styles into a unique scheduling type that's all your own.
“If you only have one goal, make it ‘to life my best life’ for as many days as possible.”
Tips for a Successful Schedule
Tip #1: Consistency is key when it comes to success. Goals can stretch over several weeks or even months but if you are scheduling tasks and activities that will bring you closer to your goals almost every day, you will be much more successful in tracking your progress.
Tip #2: The simpler the better when you’re just starting off. A to-do list, an area for appointments and your everyday routines is all you need.
Tip #3: A work day looks different than a non-work day but my determination to have a good day is still the same. We are all busy so there isn’t a day-off I really consider a 'day-off', I’ve still got errands to run and bills to pay but you need to make sure that you always make time for fun.
Tip #4: For me, self-care is fun. Fun-days are also days where I like to reflect on how I’m feeling, what I’m grateful for, and use whatever time I have available to me to increase my own well-being.
Tip #5: I’ve skipped an entire week in my planner and I’m sure there have been more than a few days where my productivity for a day was mostly sleeping and eating potato chips on the couch. We’ve all been there and we’ll probably be there again someday but that’s okay. What’s important is that you understand where you want to be – emotionally, professionally, physically and that you make a conscious decision to try to get yourself there.
Tip #6: While you may miss a few pages or give yourself a veg day, if it feels like you can’t pull yourself from this low productivity or are having issues being consistent on planning your goals, every day planning might be very helpful for you. You’ll get that instant gratification because your goals are usually smaller which means you are more likely to see movement and you'll provide some accountability for yourself as you review and track your tasks.
Tip #7: Daily scheduling will also help you see what works for your mental health or what you may need assistance with as you figure out what tools and techniques are right for you. You may even find out you have a new talent or skill but most importantly, you’ll realize that you may have 10 minutes completely to yourself.
Construction, chess pieces, and creative mess photos from Wix.com
Watch, and notebook photos from Wix.com
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Wondering who ChiChi is?
ChiChi is my two year old pet bunny.