If you’re anything like me, you might look at the people around you and wonder how they are so put together. When I was a college student, I would often gawk at my peers who were killing it. You know the ones: straight A students who have a full class schedule, part-time job, part-time internship, volunteer, and participate in extracurricular activities like sports and clubs.
And it didn’t stop in college.
Since graduating and entering the “workforce,” I see more of the same. My colleagues work full-time plus overtime, raise children, see their friends every week, maintain their households, and still find time to exercise, have a side hustle, and binge-watch Netflix shows.
I’ve since learned their secret: a schedule they can stick to that optimizes their time efficiently.
I’m guessing you’re wondering how it can realistically work? If so, stick with me. You don’t have to do it all, but if you want to make your life a bit more balanced and a touch more fulfilling, make these habits your own.
5 Habits Of A Successful Schedule
1. You map out a routine and stick to it.
Just like with anything in life, if you want to be consistent, you need to develop sustainable habits.
Assess your scheduled as it has been and look for places to make changes to improve it. Perhaps this means you wake up an hour earlier each day. Maybe it means you need to head to to bed earlier, cut down on screen time, or use your lunch break a bit differently.
We all have gaps in our days that we could adjust to be more productive and more mindful. Map out a routine that you can realistically be consistent with day in and day out, even on weekends. This is the kind of routine that is sustainable for life.
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2. You assign time for “the needs” and “the wants.”
You know the things you have to do versus the things you want to do. To create balance, you need to make room for both.
Look at your weekly schedule and assign time for chores and free time. For instance, try allocating 30-60 minutes per day for exercise, 20 minutes per day for reading, 30 minutes per day for chores around the house, and so on. When you allocate time for the things you have to do and the things you want to do, you get the best of both worlds.
I am so guilty of putting off household chores and running errands until it piles up and drives me mad. This is not an example of a successful habit. Try assigning time to everything so that nothing gets left out.
Date night once a week with your partner, catching up on laundry on the weekends, and reading to your kids before bed each night are all important responsibilities. Make room for all of it by allocating time to each facet accordingly.
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3. You organize yourself.
A planner or calendar is an effective tool to keep your schedule in order. Consider picking up a traditional paper planner or utilize the calendar feature on your smart phone/tablet to organize your schedule.
Writing down your daily, weekly, and monthly commitments, appointments, projects, deadlines, and hangouts can keep yourself sane and organized. Schedule time with friends, book a reservation for dinner with your beau, write down your work obligations, and so on.
When you get your schedule organized in a calendar, it is easier to visualize your life on a daily, weekly, monthly, and even annual basis. This makes planning so much easier and also gives you practical to-dos to work through each day. Test it out to see if this works for you!
4. You remain flexible.
It sounds contradictory to organizing your schedule as aforementioned, but you also need to be flexible. Leave room in your day or week to let things fall into place naturally.
Sometimes we come home from work expecting to squeeze in a workout or catch up on projects, and end up crashing on the couch with our partner.
Listen to your body and mind to see what you need more of. You might need less screen time and more physical activity; less nights staying up late and more sleep; less overtime and more family time. Be flexible with yourself to take care of your mind, body, and soul.
5. You track yourself.
Successful people are accountable for their actions. Make time to track yourself to assess how your schedule is performing and how productive and happy you are. Make adjustments on an as-needed basis.
If you find your schedule is not as balanced as it could be, revisit the first habit in this list and re-map out your schedule for optimization of your time. It’s trial and error to find the right rhythm.
No two people have the same exact habits with the same amount of success. Be patient with yourself as you find your groove. It may take a few tries to find the right fit that brings you sustainable habits to lead a balanced, fulfilling lifestyle.
How do you maintain a successful schedule? Drop your tips in the comments below!