As a blogger and homeschooling mom of six, managing my time is paramount. As someone who loves organizing and planning—unfortunately sometimes more than actually doing the things I've organized and planned—I know the value of creating a schedule that will motivate action rather than just look pretty on paper. (Full disclosure: I have Gantt charts to track my kids homeschool work from kindergarten through high school graduation. Yes, I do.)
In spite of my obsession, I'm not a stickler for very specific routines. Life ebbs and flows and urgencies arrive daily (sometimes hourly). Being able to accommodate those things is as much a part of planning as anything. But having a general framework around which to manage the various moving parts of life is very helpful for getting things done. The best routines are designed to fit your circumstances, personality, family, resources, and goals. The right routine is the one that works for you, motivates you, and takes you where you want to go in your life. Your goal is progress, not stagnation or regression, with a personalized routine.
If you're wondering how you can squeeze more of the best things into your days—while still accommodating the necessary and mundane—here are some resources for consideration. I'll leave my general weekday schedule at the end of the post for your consideration.
You must follow the infographic on this page from start to finish. This ridiculous “ultimate routine” would only work for someone who has no spouse, no children, little commute, and a hired hand to do everything except sit in the cubicle. (But, hey, it's got a half hour blocked out to “record wins,” so there's that!)
This anti-example is to show you that your routines must actually be built around real life. If you have to buy groceries and wash laundry, the routine is useless if it doesn't accommodate such activities. If you have a family, they need to get some face time with you, preferably a lot of it.
When you think of your ideal routine, think of both the things that must be done as well as those that will ultimately create the life you want.
Check this post for some scientifically proven morning tips as well as a sample of morning routines from some famously successful people. The people highlighted are:
- Steve Jobs
- Ron Friedman
- Kenneth Chenault
- Anna Wintour
- Margaret Thatcher
- Benjamin Franklin
- P.G. Wodehouse
- William Styron
- Evan Chen
- David Karp
- Craig Newmark
The corollary to #2, this post gives examples of evening routines followed by people known for their productivity. Examples are from:
- Ingmar Bergman
- Ludwig Van Beethoven
- Carl Jung
- Benjamin Franklin
- Jane Austen
- Henry James
- Sir Kingsley Amis
There's a reason Benjamin Franklin is in both #2 and #3, he could easily be considered the father of scheduling and goal setting.
Creating a few things you do regularly at night serves two purposes.
- It makes getting up less chaotic.
- It helps you wind down for the night.
These particulars might not work specifically for you, but think about checking calendar and to do list for the next day so you don't lie awake fussing about and trying to remember what needs to be done tomorrow.
P.S. If you have an iPhone, take advantage of the Do Not Disturb feature at night.
For the past 28 years I've had a home business and for over 12 years some of that has been professionally blogging. (I also set up blogs for others and do blog tech and consultation specializing in Thesis theme management.) Entrepreneurship requires a level of self-discipline that many employee situations don't require. There is no one telling you what to do or when to do it. You have ultimate autonomy, but your success depends on figuring out how to manage your time.
This post highlights how 14 other bloggers manage their workdays. It can serve as a model for bloggers or other kinds of entrepreneurs.
My Weekday Routine
- 7:00 family devotional
- 7:30 workout
- 8:15 breakfast
- 8:30 shower/dress
- 8:50 laundry
- 9:00 homeschool/blog/tech work
- 12:00 lunch
- 12:30 tech homeschool/blog/tech work/projects/housework/errands
- 6:00 dinner
- 7:00 family time
- 10:00 news and work-related reading
- 11:00 read
- 12:00 sleep (truth: I'm a lifelong night owl and insomniac, so this is mostly wishful thinking, but I try)
Do any of these work for you? What routines help you be productive? Please leave your ideas in the comments.