How many days a week do you ACTUALLY get everything done on your schedule?
How often to your plans get changed or go awry? And do you ever sit (or stand if you put it on the fridge like me) before your schedule and wonder WHY? Why did I do it that way? Why isn’t everything getting done? And why don’t I feel satisfied?
If you are planning for the sake of planning, putting stuff on a schedule because you know you need to do something like that, or simply living week to week based on the the latest needs and emergency, then you are missing the KEY to planning! You are missing the FOUNDATION to build on.
I know, because this is what I have been doing for far too long and God has shown me a better way.
The Key To Good Planning
I have been planning without purpose. Oh, I have some goals: get the house clean, homeschool the children, make sure errands are getting done… but I am not putting before me each week WHY. Why does the house need to be clean? Yes, I know there are lots of good reasons, but what is MY FOUNDATIONL reason?
The key to change my haphazard daily and weekly planning was that I FIRST needed to define PURPOSEFUL goals for my current season of life.
I needed to know what my priorities for my life (and my families life) were and then I could proceed to make a useful, working schedule for myself and my family.
Start With A Simple Daily Schedule
Here we have an empty weekly schedule. Notice how simple it is (the name of my site IS A Simple Life Too). Notice that it is not defined in an hourly fashion. I am a fairly organized person, but I am simply unable to stick to an hour by hour schedule. Outside of maybe one miracle day per month, it NEVER goes according the the schedule… so then I have to start erasing and moving stuff… crying a little as I am wasting more time doing that instead of the task… and feeling like a failure because I could not stick to the exact schedule.
Therefore, I do a daily task list instead. I keep it as close to the order the tasks and events should occur and I DO write down a time if there is an appointment. This way, if we don’t start “on time” or if a task takes longer or if we have to adapt and add something to the day, we can still be on track.
If something does not get done, I circle it and refer back to it the next day to see where I can fit it in.
How Priority Based Scheduling Works
Before I start entering ANYTHING into my weekly schedule, I write down my priorities on the bottom or top of the page. Some of them are the same for many weeks, even for years. Some are week, month or season specific. Theses priorities, in order, dictate what I then put on the schedule for that week.
For example, my first priority is a life priority, I have chosen to follow Jesus. My priority is to become more like Him and serve Him.
In a practical sense, this means the first thing I schedule each week it my time with God, my time to do devotionals with my children, any service the Lord has asked of me, church (and church events), and Bible Study.
My second priority is to take care of my family. This means time with my husband, homeschool, healthcare for the children (we have had a LOT of that lately), and some time for self care.
This results in me adding homeschool tasks, any doctor’s appointments, any outings with the family, children or husband, plus my every other week outings with myself or lady friends.
My third priority is a deeper teaching for my children. I have been reading the book of Titus over and over again for the past couple of months in our Tue night Bible study and the section on what older women should teach the younger has been a guidepost for me:
Titus 2: 4 – 5: so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
I am especially honing in on the “workers at home” part. So I am teaching my children to how to cook, how to clean, how to decorate, how to host, and much more. This dictates how I fill in most of the rest of the schedule with housework, who cooks what, time for our home based business, creative pursuits, etc…
The next priority can sometimes end up higher then the second or third. These are seasonal and holiday priorities. For example, we just had the Hanukkah / Christmas season. Since we were off of school for a couple of weeks and we had lots of holiday activities to do, this took precedence over everything except for devotionals, church and doctor’s visits. Yes, it even took a priority over housecleaning!
If other things come up, I evaluate them against those first sets of priorities, decide if they fit, if they bump out other things, or if they have to wait until there is a slot. I create a little list on the bottom of my chart called “to be scheduled” to keep track of them.
I sincerely hope you find this useful and that you find your weekly schedules having more purpose going forward. I am open to any thoughts or feedback you may have.
Feel free to use my Super Simple Homeschool Planning Worksheet. It takes about 1 minute to type the framework into your favorite spreadsheet program. Then you can update it on the computer or pencil stuff in (which is what I usually do) or you can get some great planners on Amazon!