Before you make any huge changes to your daily routine, make sure that you’re going to be 100% happy with the way you schedule it. Otherwise you won’t stick to it. It really is that simple.
My method is to make and keep lists that help me prioritize and review what is important to me. I:
- list how I spend my time now.
- list things I want to do regularly (including the ones I’ve already have been doing that you want to keep in your schedule). These should be the things that are the most important.
- make a final list of whatever I will schedule. This includes the things I must do (like go to work or groceries), as well as anything else that is important (working out, cooking, and family time). For example, I generally plan ahead and do groceries before my commitments stack up during the week so that I have time to cook and eat without feeling rushed or tempted to go out.
- create a realistic schedule from the third list, allowing plenty of time to get to and from work, home, school, the gym – whatever. If I can’t stick to it, I won’t stick to it.
- make a schedule as often as I have to depending on how busy I am – sometimes I write out a day-to-day schedule at the beginning of the week or I make one the night before. Maybe you will be able to or have to plan months in advance, but most people are somewhere in between.
- re-evaluate priorities and make a new schedule whenever I’m overwhelmed or find myself unable to stick to the plan. I did this a lot at first while figuring out how long my workouts take, how long I wanted to cook, how much sleep was ideal, etc.
My regular schedule nowadays includes working, exercising, cooking, eating, spending time with my husband and writing on a daily basis. Now that it’s winter, it is darker and cooler outside in the morning so I’m not waking up early to go on a daily walk like I did in the summer months. But I’ve started reading more books instead. I re-evaluated and changed my schedule based on my opportunity costs when I didn’t enjoy the walks as much. I’ll probably go back to walking soon though because the days are already much longer than a month ago.
Ultimately, with my scheduling list method I waste less time than before and am much happier knowing that I do what is important to me every day.