How to Create a Flexible Daily Schedule and Live with Purpose
Whether you’re a planner by nature or not, a daily schedule can help you live an abundant life and honor God with your days. Creating a flexible schedule will help you manage your life well and live with purpose, instead of flitting from one responsibility to another. (Ask me how I know!)
As someone who’s not naturally organized or well planned, creating flexible routines that I actually accomplished took years for me. But once I discovered what worked, it’s freed me up to live on purpose.
With more time for the things that matter, such as spending time with family or ministering to others, this flexible schedule has been a blessing. And I promise, even if you’ve struggled with planning your day in the past, you can do this!
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How to create a flexible daily schedule that actually works for you
Start your day with the Lord
Even when your to-do list is long, creating a simple quiet time routine will help you start your day right. When you carve out time to meet with God, you arm yourself with strength for daily battles and set your mind on His truth.
That wisdom follows you throughout your day and impacts your relationships, attitude, and thought life. If the rest of your schedule were to fall apart, the most important thing you can do for you and your family is to start your day with the Lord.
Evaluate your current schedule, priorities, and commitments
As you look through your current responsibilities, pray through each one. Ask the Lord to reveal if there are any areas you are neglecting and need to nurture a little more.
Then, intentionally seek the Lord about how you should plan your days. Consider thinking through the following questions to jump start this process:
- What are my non-negotiable calendar items? (family, work, household chores, exercise, friends, volunteering, church, etc?)
- Are there any responsibilities I can let go of to make room for something else? (ex: pick-up groceries to avoid time in the store, decide what you won’t spend time on, determine what you can streamline or ask for help with)
- Do I feel the Lord calling me to release any of these responsibilities?
- Is the Lord calling me to add something to my schedule?
Consider writing down notes and ideas about each area of your life to help you process and think through your schedule. Once you’re clear on these, you’re ready for the next phase.
Schedule your “non-negotiables” first
As you begin to schedule, reflect on the questions you answered above to determine what are the “non-negotiables” in your schedule. These should be your top priorities that you are unable to shift or move around. Also, these items are essential and a vital part of your life you can’t do without.
Examples of non-negotiables may be: Bible time, family life, work, children’s schedules and commitments, and church life, etc…
As you begin to create a flexible schedule, these non-negotiables should be scheduled first and locked into place before you add anything else.
Then, think through and brainstorm the other responsibilities you have that aren’t essential. As you brainstorm these tasks, also make a note of how long each item takes.
If you underestimate the amount of time it takes you to do something, it will impact your day and you’ll be tempted to try to do it all. But watch out! This is a slippery slope that can lead to frustration and irritation over incomplete tasks!
Create anchors for your day
One of the best things I did in creating a daily routine for was establish “anchors” for the day. Anchors are the habits I do regularly to help my home and life run on auto-pilot, even when things are crazy.
How to create anchors for your day:
- Determine what routines and habits are essential for you to thrive in home and family. Keep in mind this is NOT your to-do list or a list of the projects you want to get done. These are the homemaking routines you need to combat chaos and stay on top of your life.
(A few of my anchors include a simple laundry routine, how I plan my meals, when I clean my home, and how I keep the clutter at bay.)
- Think through what are the current areas where you’re thriving in your homemaking and life. Continue those habits and add them to your schedule according to the frequency in which you do them.
- Then, determine what areas of your home life need a boost and think through a routine or system that will help. For example, when I struggled to put laundry away and had couldn’t get past my struggles, I brainstormed a routine to get this issue under control.
- As you start thinking through which anchors you want include, be sure to include a solid morning and evening routine to help you cut the chaos.
- Then, start with one new anchor for your day and practice that for awhile. If you’ve never used a schedule or are way out of practice, start small. DO NOT just pile up a bunch of things you will never do on your schedule. (Again, ask me how I know!)
- Think through every part of your schedule and when and how you’ll make these new habits a reality. Once you think through the specifics, you can troubleshoot any issues in advance.
Over time, these anchors will become routine and things you don’t even have to think about. This will also help in hectic times when you’re super busy and in times of crisis when you’re in survival mode.
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Putting your daily schedule into action
It’s time to create your flexible schedule
Now that you’ve brainstormed and thought through the aspects of your day and home, it’s time to put it all together.
While there are many different formats for a schedule, I use time blocking because it allows so much flexibility. It allows me to see the essentials that I have to do and gives me a time I’ve blocked off to get it done.
This method is SO freeing for those people who are easily distracted and flit from one thing to another. (Yep, I am so guilty of this!)
To get started, add the non-negotiables you decided on to your schedule. Be sure you’re allowing yourself plenty of time to get each task done.
Then, add your anchor routines to your day to keep things flowing and running smoothly at home.
Finally, add in your other responsibilities or projects you wish to get done. Keep these to a minimum and consider limiting yourself to one outside project a month to keep the calendar clutter at bay.
Finally, recognize you may need to have a different schedule for each day of the week or in different seasons. Our summer schedule looks nothing like our school schedule, and that’s ok! I re-visit this process often and make changes when needed.
Show up for life each day and take action
Now that you have a flexible and well-crafted schedule, it’s essential to show up and take action. I’ve been guilty of floundering through my days and frustrated by what I didn’t accomplish. If I’m honest, this was often because I didn’t show up to do what was on my schedule.
That feeling left me frustrated and wracked with guilt. Remember. even if you don’t get everything done, as long as you’ve taken steps in this direction, that’s a win!
Celebrate each small victory and recognize progress and how far you’ve come!
Give yourself grace
Chances are, your new schedule will experience hiccups and growing pains. There will be days or seasons where you may need to tweak it or scrap it and start again. That’s completely fine!
Remember, this schedule is flexible and can be changed at any time to meet your needs. As you begin to use a daily schedule, even for the 500th time, give yourself loads of grace.
Don’t sweat it if your schedule falls by the wayside or if life gets in the way. Simply start this process over and pray through your days again.
Watch and see how using a flexible schedule can help you thrive and live a life of purpose and intention. You’ve got this!
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