My last couple posts dealt with how you can take 10 minutes a day to pursue your creative (or any) goals and when it’s time to walk away and reset. Today, I’m going into more of the “nitty gritty” details of how I keep a mostly consistent schedule which helps me balance my life as a creative and my responsibilities as a spouse/parent.
Working from home is great, it’s true. I enjoy being surrounded by my pets, being able to wear whatever I want and not sharing a bathroom (that may be the biggest perk, in my opinion). But, as anyone who works from home will tell you, it has it’s downsides. The first being that it’s really easy to get distracted. Everyone has days where they don’t feel motivated and when you’re working in your home it’s easy to avoid getting started on tough days. I’ve learned in the last few years that the only way I can get everything done and stay an organized, sane, not-crying-all-day person, is by creating and keeping a weekly schedule. In this post I’ll walk you through what creating that schedule looks like in my world.
It starts with picking a planner or notebook, in my case it is a nice Moleskin book, to write everything down in. Yes, you could keep an electronic version, but I stand by the belief that writing things down helps you keep your goals. It’s also nice to have something to refer to without taking out the greatest tool of distraction, your cellphone.
Once you have your planner/notebook of choice, it’s time to move on to outlining what you’d like to accomplish each week. I’ve found that it helps to create categories and fill them each out. We’re not “one person”, we’re moms, writers, artists, students, housekeepers (ugh), wives, partners, and so on. Those all require different responsibilities from us. For me there is: art, writing, school, house, and very important, self care. When I started to create my schedule, I made sure to fill out those sections with what I’d like to do each week in all areas of my life. It looks a little something like this:
Now, after filling the various sections out, its time to create a schedule for the week. I write out each day of the week, break it down into time slots, and then fill out what I’m going to do that day to start to meet my weekly goals. I don’t do something from each category each day either. I’m not a fan of cleaning, so I don’t want to clean every day, I’d rather clean once or twice each week and be done. In my schedule then, there are two days where I do the bulk of the cleaning and that’s it. The same goes for school work. I try to give myself breaks, but also make sure it gets done before Saturday so I’m not struggling over the weekend with homework.
It is really up to you how detailed you get with your daily schedule and how often you change it. Some people create a new schedule each week. In my case it stays pretty much the same, at least for now while I’m in school, with little changes from time to time to accommodate outside appointments. Also in my case, I need to break it up and give everything a designated time slot. This cuts down on time where I’m wondering what I want to do, versus what just needs to get done.
I also want to note I’m not totally, perfectly, amazingly organized, per say, within my notebook or life! I’ve talked to a lot of people who give up on creating schedules because they can’t stick to it 100% or they don’t feel like it’s as put together as it should be. So please know that each week is not perfect for me. Example, I give myself time slots, but I can guarantee you there are plenty of days where I don’t fit stuff in those slots. Most days they turn into guidelines. I’m also someone who likes to create a list each day to check things off and this is how “put together” my check lists are:
So, now you might ask yourself: Chelsea, why did you write a blog post about creating a schedule just to tell me most days you don’t keep it? Well, because a) I want people to know it takes time to build habits and b) it’s okay to be human. I’ve been working on this whole schedule thing for years and I still have those days where nothing goes as planned, and that’s okay! Creating a schedule that works for you takes time, trial and error, and patience but it is so rewarding. Even my half organized schedules have kept me from weeks of stressing out and falling behind.
My favorite yogi on the entire planet, Allie from The Journey Junkie, has a fantastic blog post on this same subject as well as free worksheets to help you get started. I totally recommend checking out her post on how to create an epic day! She digs way into what it takes and her tools are so extremely useful, I’ve used her blog post several times myself to rework my scheduling skills.
I want to end by going into one more thing about creating schedules though: self care. When you start to make a schedule for yourself, make sure to include time to just do you. It might sound ridiculous, but treating yourself right is crucial, because if you don’t it becomes harder to stay motivated, trust me. Each of day of my week ends with: spending quality time with my kids and/or husband, doing something like crocheting or reading, and always, always, meditation and yoga. I also make sure I’m lights out and in bed (with no electronics) to make sure I get enough sleep to do it all again the next day.
Share in the comments what your secrets are to creating a schedule, if you have any, and next week I’m going to discuss creating an environment for creativity when you work from home, because that is oh so important to being productive. Until then, keep creating and be sure to follow me on social media to see what I’m creating each week!