Well, today marks the beginning of our school year. I school my two boys at home–not traditional homeschool, because we use the K12 curriculum which has a charter here in Utah so we’re subject to all the standardized testing (which means I can’t break my kids–or at least, mostly!), but still, homeschooling none the less. As you can imagine, homeschooling, being a career writer (that’s my fancy way of saying I’m not writing for a hobby, but for publication), and running a household with all the myriad responsibilities that entails and all the other stuff that go into making a life, starting today I’m going to be busy. Or busier. 😉

I’ve had some people ask how I do it. And the answer’s simple: I make a plan.

And then I always get asked: How do you make a plan? But that’s not quite as simple.

Still, I thought, since this is fresh on my mind, I’d share my schedule-making method.

  1. Make a list of all the different parts of your life. My list includes: health, family, school, writing, home.
  2. Under each part (above) list what your daily responsibilities include. Mine says: HEALTH/exercise, FAMILY/family prayer, family scripture reading, boys’ activities, WRITING/1hr, networking, etc.
  3. Then, beside each responsibility or task, mark how much time you need for each. For instance, I need a solid block of an hour and twenty minutes for exercise every day, and an hour for writing plus an hour for networking (or more, lol.)
  4. Make a list the hours of your day on the left, then block off each hour on the right with your activities.
  5. Remember that any good schedule is one that can flex as needed–your schedule is there to help you, not hinder you!
  6. Also remember, your schedule is yours. Don’t worry if you think you do less than someone else. If it helps you manage your time, and more precisely manage what’s important to you, then your schedule is working. Yay!

And just one more thing. I had a wise and kind friend offer me some advice my first year homeschooling. When asked how she handles all the demands on her time, particularly those that come from other people, she said, “I just remember that a yes to someone else, is a no to my family.” That advice has helped me more than any other.

So I say to you, whatever it is that’s important to you, no one else will value it as much as you do. Stick to your guns and remember a yes to something/someone else, is a no to what’s important to you. Protect your time and give value where it’s due in your life.

How do make sure the things you value most in life get the time and attention they deserve?

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19 comments on “A Schedule I Can Live With”

  1. Wow…that is so impressive. And, yes — the times I plan I seem to get through more of my ‘to do’ list than when I don’t. A great reminder for the start of a new school year.

  2. This is very impressive. I like the term career writer. My husband still calls my writing a hobby. Gets on my nerves.
    Anyway, I have been struggling with this but I’m getting there. I’m trying to get a schedule together to guide me through my day so I can get time in for myself and family. Some weeks it has been working other weeks it changes. So I’m getting there.
    Your friend definately put it in perspective. I will keep that in mind.

  3. I love your list. This is exactly what I am looking at today, while trying to juggle everything. Thanks for the advice. I’m going to use it! (p.s. that quote about saying yes is so true!)

  4. I love this post, and so glad you’ve decided to share that little tidbit you already shared with me 🙂

    Personally, I have a short list of “above all else” priorities and no matter what, those take precedence.

  5. I’m a big scheduler. I make sure I know what needs to be done, and when, and with who. Then I make sure I put the most important things first.

    When I fail at this, and get out of balance, I step back and re-evaluate. Start over. Do better.

  6. That’s great. I’m not quite that organized with my time, but I’m trying to better. Starting this week, I am going to bed one hour earlier and getting up one hour earlier. I intend to spend an hour writing in the morning, instead of at night when I should be in bed. I am going to do the writing before getting on the computer. Only problem–kids are awake in the morning! (I still intend to write in the evening too, just not as late.) We’ll see how it goes. (Sorry for such a long and boring comment!)

  7. Christine F. ~ Somehow, I kinda figured that you’d be a scheduler. 😉

    Tess ~ Yeah, I at least need a schedule. Otherwise it’s too easy to just while away my time doing things I WANT to do and not at all what I NEED to do.

    Christine D. ~ Hey, long time no see! Thanks for visiting! And I think that’s where schedules sometimes fall flat for people–they make a schedule, but they try to keep it too rigid. Like, it has to be that way or else. The key, I think, is keeping it flexible enough to allow for days that are different or for reality checks, lol.

    Windy ~ YEP! You already know what mine are, but for everyone else, my “above all else” items are my health, my family and my writing. Not home. Not errands. Not anything, really, should displace those three main things.

    Carolyn ~ Are you back to school now? That must be SO difficult, raising a family and doing all of that while managing your own education at the same time.

  8. Chantele ~ LOL, you and me both! Happy listing!

    Elana ~ Yes. That’s it, exactly.

    Angie ~ Hardly long OR boring! I like your goals. I had similar issues I had to confront when I started working on the new school-year schedule. I tend to watch TV with my hubby at night. I like sitting beside him, even though we’re both on our laptops, lol. But I tend to do very low-priority things during that time. Like read blogs (which I love to do, but isn’t a HAVE TO DO, ya know?) But as a result there’s this three hour block of time later in the evening which I could be doing housework (because I love to write in the afternoon, but I tend to housework then) or even writing (I could still sit beside my hubby with my headphones on). Instead, I just kind of waste all the precious time. So there you go, a long and boring response! Suffice it to say, we’re both working on improving the way we do things! Go us!

    Danyelle ~ Really? I think you’re one of the few people I know who has their priorities straight. You’re a great example to me!

  9. LOL Kathi. Well, I’m sure the quote works equally well with writing too! “A yes to something else, is a no to my writing.” Or something like that 😉

  10. Great post for me to read as I head into the fall. I especially liked this: “your schedule is there to help you, not hinder you!”

    That’s a great reminder for me. Thanks, ali.

  11. That kind of makes me feel bad for NOT home schooling my daughter, but I also have very good reasons for not doing so. Still, I think it’s fantastic you are doing it! And I think your family will benefit greatly from it.

    I love how you say your schedule should help you, not hinder you. I feel that way about outlining, too. 🙂

  12. When I was homeschooled while I was in high school I loved it. Sometimes homeschooling you’re kids is better then having them going to public school. For me I learned better during that time since it’s hard for me to learn in public school with my hearing disability.

  13. Hi Ali! I found your blog from Christine Danek’s, and she and I both posted about scheduling and time management on our blogs. I love your approach, and I especially thank you for sharing the specifics of how you schedule your time. I’m going to do the same. Thank you!!

    Looking forward to following you. Best of luck to you and the kids for a successful school year!

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