I am a chronic over-scheduler. I almost always feel like I can fit more into a time than I actually can. This quickly leads to burnout. Don’t let that happen to you.
Over time I have found some tweaks that have helped me. Here are some suggestions.
- Make your to do list fit on a 3x3 post it note. If it takes up more than that, it’s too much. Prioritize and downsize.
- Schedule around “hard edges”. Each night I write out 2 index cards. The first one has my plan from 7:30am-1pm. The next one is my plan from 1pm on. My hard edges are at 7:30am. I am up and fully ready for the day. Thanks to The Miracle Morning. My next hard edge is 1pm. That is when we are done eating lunch and having a break. It is also when some of our co-op classes start. So that time is convenient for me. I have a hard edge is when I run. I like to go running either at 3 or 4pm if I can, each day the time of this “hard edge” changes as to what we have going on. Another hard edge is dinner time. We eat between 6 and 7pm. So nothing is scheduled from 5:30-7 for the person in charge of cooking that night. Everyone is in bed by 10:30pm. This “hard edge” scheduling, where I have set edges has really helped me to not get behind in what I am supposed to be doing. I feel just enough pressure to get the items done before the next set of items comes up, but not so much pressure that I stress about it.
- Time blocking. This is very similar to hard edge scheduling, it is just based on certain times. We don’t always eat lunch at 12:00 on the dot even if it’s written on the schedule. Time blocking works for me on some things and not on others. My favorite time blocking sheet is free right here.
- Focusing on one thing at a time has proven for me and is scientifically proven to be more productive. I am a multi tasker by habit. I still try to focus on just the one thing I should be focusing on at any given moment.
- Schedule in nothing. This may seem crazy. This may seem simple. It may seem like you don’t have the time to schedule in nothing. Trust me, if you don’t schedule in down time, you will stress more. Believe it or not, the down time will help you be more productive.
- Don’t spend more time on a task than needs to be. Sure I can load the dishwasher in 5 minutes good enough or I can spend 15 being a perfectionist. Depending on how relaxing I am finding do the dishes being that day depends on how fast I do it. I am not saying do all tasks as fast as you can all the time. Some tasks need our utmost attention to detail, other tasks will be just fine if we lessen our time spent on it. You decide.
- Delegate. Delegate. Delegate. You are not required or expected to do it all. Life is crazy. You know the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”. That’s because moms need help. If you don’t want the village raising your child then delegate something else. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t have volunteer vomit. Be strong and work on yourself first. Let others take on some of the work load. Would it make your life easier to hire a cleaning person? It doesn’t have to be a professional company that you shell out hundreds a month for. You can pay a neighbor girl $10 an hour to come for 2 hours twice a month. You can have your older kids help your younger kids with reading. You can use the TV as a babysitter sometimes. You don’t have to do it all. You are good enough.
Do you have any tips for over schedulers? Share them in the comments below to help people out!