Time Management: My Weekly Schedule (2014)

Time management is a tricky business, if you ask me.  I don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all template that truly works for everyone.  I do, however, believe that by sharing our different approaches to time management we can help inspire and motivate each other to carve our own path.  In this spirit I thought I would share my current approach to time management with you, including a look at my new weekly schedule.  Keep in mind that this schedule is fine-tuned to meet my unique needs.  You need to consider your own requirements for a functioning schedule that works for you.

Step 1 – Big Picture Planning

I like to work on goal setting every January.  The new year provides a perfect opportunity to reflect on what worked and what didn’t the previous year and make changes keeping these considerations in mind.  After contemplating my 2014 objectives (which you can read more about here if you’d like), I had a good grasp of my big picture goals for the year.  Using the big picture as a starting off point in goal setting allowed me to not get too flustered by the minutia right off the bat.  Scaling down to weekly goals came rather easily to me after I had spent adequate time on the big stuff.  Here is what I came up with:

OJ_OLJ_01-24-201_01I find that less is more in this stage of the game.  Again, getting caught up in the minutia at this point has always derailed me in the past.  Listing every single little task ends up feeling overwhelming, especially when it comes time to sort those tasks into a weekly schedule.  I chose to split my weekly goals into two main categories, work and personal, and limited myself to just a few bullet points under each.  I already know the details that go into making each of these goals happen.  By leaving out the little stuff I allowed myself a chance to look at the week in a more manageable way.

 FYI – When I refer to “Pack Time” I am referring my family, which is my pack 🙂

Step 2 – Create A Work Schedule

For me, creating a work schedule meant taking my work goals for the week, which require more planning than my personal ones, and placing them into a week at-a-glance timetable.  If you work outside of the home or are a student chances are you already have a work schedule provided for you.  If you’re mainly at home or do freelance work, creating a work schedule can help add structure to your days.  I don’t believe this has to apply only to professionals, but can also be an effective tool for stay at home moms and housewives.  I personally find there is a lot of freedom in having structure if it helps you be productive without feeling overwhelmed or burned out.  Here is my current work schedule:

OJ_OLJ_01-24-2014_02I’ve set it up in the simplest way possible, again so as to not overwhelming myself with the details.   I already know what goes into making each of those videos and blog posts happen and trying to squeeze those things onto this schedule would disrupt its usefulness.  I use my planners and daily to-do lists to manage those sorts of details.  My goal is to work mainly on weekdays and ultimately have any given video and blog post finished and scheduled the day before it goes up.  Using the schedule above allows me to post new content 4-5 days per week, working on my TBBB post on Monday, my MHWL post on Wednesday, and so on.  I think this is a much more realistic and manageable approach to creating content than my structureless, all-consuming methods of the past.  I’ve also made space for some of the other important components of my work, including my tumblrs and social media (such as Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook), as well as correspondence.  It is important to stay on top of all of these things to maintain my community presence, which is why they warrant being put on the schedule.

Step 3 – Assemble A Functional Weekly Schedule

After working through my big picture planning and creating a working schedule, I had all of the tools I needed to easily and successfully assemble a functional weekly schedule for myself that includes both work and personal pursuits.  In fact, I found it took  just about fifteen minutes start to finish, since I was going into the process so well equipped with my needs and goals.  What a revelation after such a struggle in my previous attempts at time management!

OJ_OLJ_01-24-2014_03I decided to use a chart (I made this in Microsoft Word), since it visually appeals to me.  I allocated a column for each day of the week, with the exception of the weekend days which I lumped into one since I want my weekends to be a bit more flexible in general.  Then, I divided my rows by increments of time that accommodate me and my family’s regular schedule.  There is definitely an unspoken schedule in the way that our household functions, which I believe may be the case for many others as well if you take the time to observe it.  I, for instance, tend to wake up by 7 AM, but don’t usually sit down in my office until 10 AM.  This is when I usually exercise, eat breakfast, work on household tasks, and attend to my dog, Winnie.  It was natural for me to leave this slot of time as such and set 10 AM as my target work start time.  Instead of forcing myself out of my usual habits I’ve worked with them, which makes my schedule functional, not oppressive.  I’ve also made space for three weekly standing appointments that are personally important to me right now.  Yes, I am treating my weekly yoga class as an appointment.  Too often over the last year I skipped my class, because I thought it was less important than using that time for work.  I’ve come to realize it is very important to me and to ensure I respect it as such I have scheduled it in and treat it as an appointment, just like my weekly therapy and acupuncture sessions.  I also realized that putting a cap on my work day was a critical step in creating boundaries around my work.  My husband, Don, and I typically eat dinner between 6 and 6:30 PM, which is why I’ve designated 6 PM as my “clock out” time.

Some might think a schedule like this is too rigid, but I treat it more as a guideline than rigid discipline.  Is it the end of the world if I work a little past 6 PM or need to rearrange my day for special circumstances?  Absolutely not.  One of the reasons I’ve craved a schedule like this, especially in the past couple of years, is to create better balance in my life.  I’m a bit of an overachiever, an admitted perfectionist, and have major workaholic tendencies that make it all too easy for me to slip into a very one-sided, imbalanced pattern.   I’ve only just begun to follow my schedule, but I already see a big difference.  Making a weekly schedule is a powerful tool in time management, which ultimately leads to more balance in my life.

I discuss this entire process in detail in the video below:

I hope I have helped or inspired you in some way by sharing my weekly schedule and the process by which I’ve been working on time management.  I would love to learn about your own approach to time management.  Please leave a comment if you care to share.  Happy planning! 🙂

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59 comments

59 thoughts on “Time Management: My Weekly Schedule (2014)”

  1. Thanks for sharing. I have a similar approach as a homemaker. I’ve heard this approach likened to a block schedule at school. Something else I’ve found helpful is to assign particular tasks to certain days of the week. Monday is my Desk Day, Tuesday is Project Day, Wednesday is Cleaning/Laundry Day, Thursday is Errand/Appointment Day, Friday is Free Day, Saturday is Work with Husband Around the House Day and Sunday is Sabbath/Rest Day. Something new my husband and I are trying this year is to have a weekly meeting where we review our schedules and plans for the next week; we are trying it on Wednesday night where we have margin to discuss plans for the upcoming weekend and following week. Of course, as you said, flexibility is built in within this schedule – and that is the beauty of it.

    1. Thank you for the video Jen! It couldn’t have come at a better time. I think I’m a bit older than you and I work 9 to 5 job. I am child free and definitely need some assistance with scheduling my time. Perhaps because I have no one to answer to other than myself and I suppose my husband I find it difficult to stay on track. I’ve been searching everywhere for someone to help me with this problem and you’re doing a great job. Keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks so much for this post Jen- I am really inspired by your time management planning efforts. With a baby and new jewellery business I am currently working on creating personal and work timetables to help me balance my week – the visual aid you use is similar to that which I have used in the past, much like a school timetable 😉 it is clear and, as you mention, open to flexibility. I feel with a schedule like this I will more likely stick to it and not deviate too much, resulting in the most efficiency in the allotted times.
    Good luck with your new schedule, all the best from an avid fan in the UK.
    Camilla xx 🙂

  3. My husband and I own our own business. We have a shop where the guys park their trucks. There isn’t enough office space there so I work from home. I am not a self motivated person. mu husband is a work-a-holic. I’ve tried to make a schedule like you have outlines 7:30-8:15 get kids up and out, 8:15-9 breakfast, internet time, 9-9:30 exercise etc etc. I am not disciplined enough for this. I get distracted, other things come up that I didn’t schedule for, things take longer than I thought, I’m busing watching videos on http://www.prettyneatliving.com 😉 And then as a result I don’t get my office work done or as much done as I should. I really struggle with this…daily 🙁 By the time I get other stuff done and get downstairs to the office it seems like it’s almost time to go back up and start supper. If I could find the discipline to stick with the schedule it would work so well and benefit me so much. Anyway, that was long. Thanks for sharing your process.

    1. When my routine isn’t working for me, I know it’s time to switch something up. Maybe try rearranging your schedule for a few days to see if you can find a better fit?

    2. It sounds like you work better in the afternoon/evening. Is it possible to plan easy meals (crockpot meals, cook for the whole week on the weekend, etc.) so you can work in the afternoon, take an hour or so for dinner, then get back to finish up work in the evening?

  4. Hi jen. Something I struggle with is my work hours are different daily and different days of the week out of the house. How would you work personal things around that? Like exercise and household and personal and husband and dogs? Any advice is appreciated. I respect your opinion. Linda

    1. Taking a step back and looking at the big picture helps me when it comes to schedules. I would start by thinking about what my non-work priorities are in any given week and then find spots between work hours that they would fit. Sometimes it takes a few tries to find the right fit, but there’s only one way to figure it out and that’s by trying.

      1. That’s exactly it I’ve been trying and haven’t found a schedule that works just yet. I’ll take another shot at it making a list first then planning out when. Sometimes though I need extra sleep so I don’t get up when planned. But I don’t want to be tired at work. Only sometimes. And I’m tired after work I just need to push myself more. I’m in great shape though. Healthy. Thanks

  5. I love this video, it was very veryy helpfull, i was thinking about my time management and how to be more efficient !!
    Time management is more about understanding your self, your nature, your personnal system and manage the exeterior things to fit your self and system…
    And you are definetly right about how it’s so personnal… Hopefully I will find the perfect fit for me, thanks for sharing it was hellpfull

  6. I work from home. I’m finding it so overwhelming to a point where I’m not as productive as I want to be and I also never seem to be able to switch off – more mentally than physically. I’m going to try your suggestions above. I think a timetable will help me to be efficient and motivate me in those overwhelming moments to stay on task.. Thank you very much for sharing this.

  7. Would you please do a video about preparing, managing, and successfully completing an online class? I think this would be a great New Year video to do. How did you organize, scheduling tips, helpful office supplies, study area setup, etc. Thanks!

    1. I realize I am blessed to have the time and means to create my own schedule. I am grateful every day for my life, my loved ones, and the opportunity to share my experiences. 🙂

  8. Thank you so much for this post n video its so helpful to see other people ideas when it comes to time management I also love your filofax videos. Im currently trying to put my time management in place I have stared my own blog. But im like you I need a check list n time schedule to keep me on track. Question- how do you know what ideas to write next? ? Thanks jen 🙂 @

  9. I hope this means we get to see your updated planners soon? My son gave me a planner for Christmas which i plan to use for ministry planning but I need a way to combine my ministry stuff with our personal/home schedule so I’m looking forward to seeing how you use the two planners together.

  10. oh Jen! i dont know where to star, one year ago i posted my first youtube video, and i have a bad experience you should know, people is sometimes mean, and some girls make fun of me, but i tried to keep going on my channel y i had been a lack youtuber, but know im feeling more inspired because of you, i love your videos and im kind of organized freak too haha, just wanted to write to you and thank you a lot for really touch my heart, i know it sounds cheesy but im a big fan of youtube since michelle phan and i love the fowlers and Ingrid nielsen too, so i feel close to you. i didnt want to be so heart open haha. love you! and im proud of you! love from Mexico!

  11. Time management can be difficult for so many of us, but especially for those that work out of their homes (with all the potential distractions and/or getting engrossed in a task or project). Being self-employed, I know first hand that it’s all too easy for the lines to blur between “work” hours and “home” hours and it’s so important to find a balance that works best for you. I think you did an excellent job mapping out the big picture and giving yourself a basic strategy to follow, in order to obtain your weekly work productivity and home-related goals. As you work this new system, I’m sure it will assist you in staying focused… perhaps even allow you to relax more and that might aid in all the planning of creative content for all your channels. Good luck on your new system and I’m so happy you’re allowing for lots of flexibility, because we all know life will happen and put a wrench in those well laid plans. 😉 I hope this guideline will give you the structure you need to not feel overwhelmed and the balance you need so you’ll continue enjoying your YouTube journey, while still nurturing yourself and your family. So kudos to you and thanks for sharing. This was a great reminder for us all to strive to be more productive and gain balance in our lives.

  12. To make things more complicated (ha!) I work a 7 on/7 off third shift schedule. So, I work 7 shifts in a row (10pm-9am Wed night to Wed morning) then I have 7 nights off. So, I feel like I have two lives. LOL I have to do 2 separate schedules. For example, during my work week, it’s much easier for me to run errands on Saturday morning when my husband is home with the kids. On my off week, I run errands on Thursday afternoons while my son naps (hubby works 3rd shift, too, so he’s at home asleep while my son sleeps). I get so many good ideas from you and others online, but it really does have to be tailored to each individual’s needs.

  13. Hi Jen,
    I don’t see where you have scheduled a time for errands such as grocery shopping, etc. Is this part of your “work” section?

  14. Great video and post. It is really interesting to hear how somebody else goes about managing their time and scheduling everything in. Will definitely use some of these ideas to help sort out a schedule for me and the family this year. Thanks for sharing x

  15. I keep meaning to mention to you something I read recently – I remember you saying a few times that you don’t seem to be good at estimating how long a task will take you (I’m the same) and this piece I read said in order to accomplish goals/tasks effectively one should always add on 50% of the time you think it will take you to complete. I know this post/schedule isn’t really about how long each thing takes you but I thought of you as soon as I read it and wanted to share!

    Also, as a psych student I completely agree with what you said in your video about having ‘you time’ and that it is not selfish. You have to take time out to do the things you love (possibly even away from loved ones) to have better relationships and emotional well-being.

    1. I, too, find that most tasks take longer than I think they should. My new schedule is helping to me allocate more time for each task.

      1. I have tried to make schedules in the past that list every item I want to get done in a day, with times dedicated to each task, and I’ve found the same problem Chelle mentioned: items take longer than I anticipated, I become frustrated that I didn’t stick to my schedule, and eventually give up on it all together.

        I think this system is great because it’s not overly specific. You allocate times for types of tasks you know you need to accomplish, but don’t specify each individual item. It gives you freedom to vary what tasks you do each day, and accommodate unexpected events that you didn’t anticipate. I work full-time so I don’t usually make schedules for every day, but on weekends I make a general list of what I want to accomplish, and work through each task one at a time. If I need to leave something and come back to it, it doesn’t bother me because I didn’t fail at finishing it within a certain time frame. And I can usually get everything done and still work in time for myself and my family. Thanks for sharing, Jen!

  16. I love your channel and have used quite a few tips with great success. I don’t see anything in your schedule for errands such as grocery shopping, etc. Where do you fit that in? Thanks!

  17. Hi Jen!
    Thank you so much for this blog post. It’s definitely a big help to someone like me, who has a lot of trouble with time management..
    I was wondering if you could possibly make a downloadable template of your calendar? Just the table part if it’s not too much trouble!
    Thanks so much!
    -Lola

    1. I’m afraid I don’t know how to make anything like that for web. The only way I could think would be to create a PDF that one could print & write on? Hopefully it’s something I can learn this year.

  18. Jen, I really want to thank you personally for all that you do. I started watching your videos almost a yr ago to “get organized”. We had, had some recent changes to our lives and I was having trouble getting on top of things. Adjusting to our new circumstances, at any rate, I felt my life had spiraled out of control. Watching your videos really helped. I learned that everyone has issues, and choosing 1 project at a time, and breaking it down into smaller chunks…made it do-able for me. So …. You Do Make A Difference in the world…my world…Thank You!

  19. Learned my lesson…ignore the comments on youtube and just read the ones here. So positive! I have an away from home profession, however I realize that I should do a time management schedule as well because I quite often feel overwhelmed by the non-work tasks that I need to complete…and I don’t even have kids yet! AHH!

    My work life is very organized and on track, however I often neglect my at home world, but it is in just as much need to be “organized” as my work life. Thanks for the tips.

    -K

  20. Thanks so much Jen!! This has been SO helpful!
    I need to make a schedule like this for myself too as the days that I work from home just sort of escape me and I don’t get as much done as I should and then I find myself often working way into the night – I think creating a schedule would really help me too!
    Anyway thanks so much for sharing this 🙂

  21. I love that you start with the personal and work goals. I’m 9 months pregnant and trying to get a schedule going in preparation for the little one. Something’s I’ve done that help with house chores ” housewife duties” are to get things done while I sleep. I delay the dishwasher cleaning so the dishes are ready to be put away in the morning. I load the laundry machine at night and set the delay so I can put clothes in the dryer in the morning and I’m not waiting for the load to be clean. I also have a roomba vac ( game changer). I never have to vacuum, I program it to come on every night downstairs and move it upstairs once a week. This frees me for dinner preps, paying bills, dog time, me time and anything else. Hope this helps. I love your blogs and I’m looking forward to what you post in 2014.

  22. Hi Jen, this post was exactly what I needed right now – thanks!!! I need to work on my own schedule ASAP! 🙂 I found that I need structure in my life as well (I am working from home right now), but I also feel that when I get into my productive mode I can’t switch it off that easily, so after a couple of very productive days there always comes this slump where I can’t get myself to do anything productive. I understand that this has to do with not getting enough down-time/me-time during my productive days, but when I’m “on” I just want to keep the momentum going. Do you have any advice?

    Also, I would love to know how you proceed when it’s time to work – do you prepare lists with things to do and just go for it / set goals for the day / … ? I feel like a good schedule is the first step, but filling the work hours with actual progress and managing projects in general is a whole other story (that I struggle with). So it would be much appreciated if you could touch on that. 🙂 🙂
    Thanks again!!!
    – Vicky

    1. Hi Vicky! Personally, I find that having some down time set aside during a particularly productive time is an important way to keep my momentum going in the long run. It’s easy to get swept up in things and burn out otherwise. Also, I do make to-do lists most days (usually right before bed the night before), which helps me keep on top of the details. Hope this helps!

  23. Thanks for sharing your amazing scedule with us! I am a full time student and I found a lot of help in this post 🙂
    I love watching your videoes and reading your blog. I love planing and organizing, but I sometimes strugle with it in a buzy everyday. But thanks to you I get super motivated everytime you post something. I also like that you have started doing weekly vlogs on your vlog channel 🙂 You seem so put together all the time 😀 You also seem like such a nice and lovly person!

    I was wondering if you would be interessed in doing: Morning/Night Time Routine video – more then your skincare routine (Love thouse videos btw) and a cleaning schedule video (daily, weekly, monthly and year) I live by myself and would love to get some tips from you 🙂

    Thanks for making such a great youtube channel and blog 🙂
    Have a great day and weekend 🙂

    – Nina K

    1. I’m currently back at a similar skincare routine to the one I posted last year so I probably won’t update that until something big changes. What do you mean by a morning/nighttime routine? Like how I get ready for the day?

  24. This has been so helpful. Thank you so much for your willingness to teach and share! I am going to try and do a schedule today because of your video! I am single with no children and I work full time, which makes most people think I have a lot of free time on my hands. This is just simply not true though. Because I am alone, I need to do everything for myself and it is hard to find the motivation to clean, cook, etc. for just one. BUT I want to take care of myself just like I would if I had my own “pak” like you! I love that you use that phrase! Thank you, Jen. You inspire me so very much and help me to want to do better!

  25. I would love to be able to combined my work and home life into one planner. Any suggestions on the kind of tabs I should have? I work 40 hours a week in banking as an operations manager. It is just my husband and myself at home. Some tabs I was thinking was (WORK, TO DO, GOALS, LEARNING PLANS and on the PERSONAL, TO DO, BILLS, GOALS, FITNESS, TRAVEL) what are your thoughts?

    1. I suggest starting with what you think is best and seeing how it works over the course of a few weeks. With time you can whittle away or add what you need. Trial and error is the way I tend to figure out how stuff works for me.

  26. Thank you VERY MUCH for sharing your approach on time management! With your suggestions, I hope that I can get a better handle on my schedule. I am pretty much a “stay at home” mom of 3 young children and I have very poor time management skills. For me, I thought about dividing up my schedules as one for the ” cleaning and house work” table and a “personal and family” table. That way the house stuff is my “work” schedule and the “personal” is just that, me and my family. I still feel overwhelmed though! We just moved into our new home a little over 4 years ago and there is still a lot that I want do with it. For example, window treatments, decorating and painting. It’s a lot!! Especially financially! I do make-up and nails on Tues, Fri and Sat’s. With that and and Kids, keeping kids stuff organized, keeping kids organized, homework and adding cleaning and picking up around the house. I get really tired and also overwhelmed. I feel like I’m going to need more then two tables, lol! Do you have any friends who find themselves in my particular situation? If so, what type of suggestions do you offer them?

    1. Most of my friends are not yet parents, but I think generally breaking things up into smaller tasks may be a good place to start, especially with little ones around who need constant care and attention at the drop of a hat. That way, you can still accomplish tasks and reap the motivational benefits of that without worrying about a having to step away from a huge, time consuming project. Ultimately, you need to figure out what method works best for you, but starting small could be helpful.

  27. I absolutely love that you shared this post. Sorry I’m just now writing this but I just wanted to let you know because I have read and watched this video more than once because it has given me so many great ideas for my personal life schedule as well as my new YouTube channel. I’ve always been a fan and will continue to! You are amazing at what you do and I appreciate you sharing your great ideas! Thanks again!

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