Can you recall the last time you really had a productive, meaningful day?
A very long time, you’ll say?
Alright! Do you think your lack of a daily schedule is responsible? Without a doubt, it is.
It’s a struggle to make a daily schedule and stick to it. But, it’s not too lofty to attain.
The secret? Mastering the art and science of making a daily schedule!
This article explores 12 outstanding ways to make a daily schedule for yourself.
This guide contains both priority tasks and personal tasks.
It will also take you through what you can do to stick with the daily schedule you have made.
But first, here’s a concise reason you should make a daily schedule for yourself.
- Why you MUST Create a Daily Schedule
- How to Make a Daily Schedule for Yourself
- 1. Make a List
- 2. Structure Your Day
- 3. Be Flexible
- 4. Test Drive New Schedule
- 5. Note the Frequency
- 6. Group Similar Task
- 7. Create a Weekly Chart
- 8. Optimize
- 9. Resist the Urge to Fix Time for Each Tasks
- 10. Prioritize
- 11. Acknowledge the Length of the Schedule
- 12. Be Forgiving
- How do You Make Yourself Follow a Schedule?
- Final Thoughts
Why you MUST Create a Daily Schedule
A daily schedule allows you to prioritize your wants and needs effectively.
It offers you a structure that backs up your productivity.
When you get it established, you are set to achieve both short term and long-term goals.
Simply put, your daily schedule lets you:
- Schedule time and meet goals daily.
- Enhance productivity
- Eradicate or limit procrastination
- Establish healthy habits
With this succinct knowledge, below is the guide to help you set up a daily schedule.
How to Make a Daily Schedule for Yourself
1. Make a List
Most of the time, upon rising from the bed, I’ll grab a pen and write down everything I need to do for that day.
Of course, I have a good idea about how the day should go, but I still have to write it down.
What I’m to pen down includes what has to be done at home and work.
First, I wouldn’t bother about an organized list, because I’m still going to arrange it.
The time you’ll use in writing yours differs.
Sometimes I spend less than 10 minutes, and other times it might be more.
So, when listing yours, ensure these tasks include your daily routine and what has to be done for that day.
- List out things you do daily and what you should do for that day
- When you find it difficult to remember a task, keep your note along; when you remember, note it.
- Spend a minimum of 5 minutes and a maximum of 10 minutes
- Don’t exclude minute things. Include all (especially for students)
- Brainstorm rather than organizing or editing
- Include tasks completed intermittently
2. Structure Your Day
When I wake up early, I get most of my tasks done before launch time. That is the benefit of being an early bed.
Meanwhile, when I decide to be the night owls, I mostly hit my creative burst in the evenings.
That means both sleeping patterns come with their respective advantages.
Now, ask yourself: Which of the sleeping patterns is mine?
When you figure it out, group your tasks─the earlier tasks and any new tasks─by time.
This is the time you strongly believe you will be at your prime to execute the tasks.
Here is an example of how you can schedule with time in mind:
Morning. Group every early task here.
These early tasks could include:
Walking and feeding the pet, washing the dishes, sweeping your room, reading, praying, and cooking.
As soon as you have grouped these early tasks, reserve the rest of the morning for troubleshooting and critical thinking tasks.
See an example of a morning routine:
- Wake up. Pray. Lay the bed. Read a piece.
- Sweep the room. Wash the plates. Exercise.
- Start Cooking. Take your bath.
- Go to work. Start work or go to school.
Midday: For me, this is the trickiest time. This will also be the same with most adults. Why?
It is because your energy level would have dissipated.
This might also mean you have to keep tasks that don’t require heavy thinking or brainpower.
It is this time you might use it in answering calls, running errands, sending emails, or setting an appointment with someone.
Sometimes, I find it rewarding to get into routine cleaning during this time.
Evening: I love using the evening to plan and prepare for the next day.
It is also a good time to declutter the room and layout clothes.
I even connect with friends, catch up on soap operas and skits.
3. Be Flexible
Until we die, we’ll always wrestle with time and unexpected events.
For example, the time you usually allot for some tasks in a day might be the time you will have to set for a doctor’s appointment.
An evening meant for scheduled tasks might be stolen by a social gathering.
But, at any rate, one outstanding fact is that your schedule should bounce back regardless of any hiccup faced.
4. Test Drive New Schedule
There was a time a routine worked out for me for the first week. I was glad.
Of course, I should.
But, I overhyped my consistency with it. It took me another two weeks to fall off the schedule.
Then, I realized that while I celebrated my small wins, I forgot to analyze and adjust the routine as needed.
What I’d have done was to tweak it and make each task count and come naturally.
The lesson for you: You have to analyze each task, verify if it is really working for you or not.
Well, I figured out that the ideal thing is to check it every week for four weeks.
After pruning and including some tasks, you’d have verified what is working for you and then be motivated to stick with it.
5. Note the Frequency
I change my bedsheet once a week, but making breakfast happens daily.
How do I note the frequency?
In front of my breakfast, I’ll write 7. And in front of the changing of the bedsheets, I’ll write 1.
It should look like this:
- Make Breakfast 7 x
- Change Bedsheet 1x
- Wash Dishes 7x
The advantage: You will identify which tasks must always be prioritized.
6. Group Similar Task
I will always group washing plates and cleaning the kitchen in the same category.
Both tasks go hand in hand.
After washing the plates, I have to make the zinc and all the space I’m to use ready for cooking.
So, while creating the routine chart, look for identical tasks that could be grouped.
7. Create a Weekly Chart
Do you know the whole idea of having a schedule is to stay productive every week, every month, and every year?
When creating a weekly chart, it might take you more than 30 minutes to design.
A better alternative is to purchase some weekly charts if you don’t have the luxury to design yours.
Mind you, the charts already have the boxes, yours is to fix your schedule in there.
At the start of every week, analyze major daily work, personal needs, and weekly personal needs.
This is different from pruning and editing. You are optimizing to save time.
What I love to do here is to check those days I don’t catch up with my tasks and see if I can delegate or hire someone to do it.
For instance, if going to the market on Sundays won’t let you complete other tasks on the list, you can outsource the task or delegate it.
But, be sure you hand him a detailed guide on how to do it.
This approach should also be made for days that are filled with many activities.
In addition, after creating a master list, I love going through it to identify my daily priorities.
I keep the ones with high priorities at the top, and others with low priorities can come below.
If you are listing your tasks on a computer, use a highlighter to separate these tasks.
You could use brown colors for personal wants like going out with friends, reading, or watching a TV show.
Then, you could use another color for daily work that Must be done for that day.
9. Resist the Urge to Fix Time for Each Tasks
It might be tempting to fix a specific time for all your tasks.
For instance, you could say that by 6:45 am, you will complete your assignment.
Well, in reality, what happens if the time overlaps?
This is what I am saying:
12:00 am: Visit a friend
12:45 pm: Return home for family time
What happens if an event you can’t control makes you stay longer?
You might be tempted to discontinue your tasks for the day.
To avert that feeling, categorize tasks as Morning, Midday, Afternoon, and Evening. (A detailed template below)
This is much better than an hourly plan.
Therefore, if a task takes you more than the actual time, you can still maintain your schedule.
Yes, you will still be within the time frame.
An example of a daily routine Template:
Use this template to stricture what your daily schedule should look like.
Morning: (5 am to 11 am)
- Read God’s word
- Tidy up the room
- Make breakfast
- Go to work
Midday (11 am-1 pm)
- Cook/ Eat lunch
Afternoon (1 pm- 5 pm)
- Work on a professional project
- Close from work
- Have a brisk walk
Evening (5 pm – 10 pm)
- Cook Dinner
- Write a journal
- Clear off dishes in the zinc
- Read a chapter of any book
- Watch a show
- Be read for sleep
When I work activities into my schedule, I ensure they are tasks I want to be part of my life.
This has really helped me understand what fits into my schedule and what does not.
When you can figure out your daily goals, they become motivations for meeting them.
The inspiration or motivation would positively impact each thought and interaction you have.
This differs from person to person.
A friend once said journaling, exercising, and meditating do come later in the day.
Well, for me, I prefer to exercise and journal in the morning, then later in the evening, meditate.
So, whether you include a must-do task or other qualities you want to learn, ensure they can drive your motivation.
11. Acknowledge the Length of the Schedule
While you might not have to fix a time for each task, you still have to keep track of the time you use.
Estimate the time it will take you to finish that task and set the alarm.
If the alarm rings before you are done, it gives you a perfect clue on time spent on that job.
If you are done before the alarm, you know how long the tasks will take you.
For example, when I’m writing an article, I keep track of the time.
This has helped me verify how long it will take me to finish an article of 3000 words.
12. Be Forgiving
How? Okay! We are all humans; I won’t be honest if I claim that I always follow through and have never defaulted.
When these temporary shortfalls happen, I do not beat myself up psychologically.
There are days things will not go as planned. The earlier we understand this, the better.
Your ultimate goal is to track your time, make yourself accountable and give your life meaning.
It is not a battle. If today didn’t work, tomorrow will.
You only need to be sure it’s not becoming a pattern.
When you consistently stick to this schedule, you will be successful in making a daily schedule for yourself.
Oh yeah! You’ve found answers to your question─How do I make a daily routine?
But is that all? No!
Making a daily schedule for yourself is one thing, sticking to it is another.
Well, this last thought leads us to the next and final subheading.
And that is, how can you make yourself stick to a schedule? Let’s see!
How do You Make Yourself Follow a Schedule?
1. Actively Focus on what You are doing
Before now, I could sneak through Facebook, Twitter, and Whatsapp while on a project.
After calculating the time gulped by the distractions, I was disappointed.
Time spent is even more than the time allotted for tasks on my schedule.
I’ve learned that you can fix all these in your break and end up having a productive day.
When you are finally done with your work, you can even create more time to surf social media.
When working on a project, give it undivided attention. Actively focus on what you are doing.
I have learned that a not-to-do list is an excellent tool as well. You might want to glean some points on how to create one here.
Apart from distractions, take them one after the other.
2. Have a Realistic Deadline
Come up with a deadline that offers you a reasonable level of accountability.
This is especially important for tasks that are less important and transferable.
The moment you are aware of the work you have to get done, you will be compelled to design a productive schedule.
Hence, you should be ready to stack tasks on your schedule according to their realistic deadlines instead of breaking them into uniform slots.
When I consistently go beyond a time scheduled for a task, I readjust to the actual time it takes to complete it.
3. Train Yourself
It took me time to train myself. I can let my mind wander about like I’m in a wonderland.
However, I’ve realized that wondering about while handling a task is a habit─a bad habit!
Understanding that just with anything I’m willing to break, with some training, I broke that bad habit.
To practice concentration and commit your energy to the tasks you want to be completed, start gradually.
Try to focus on tasks for five minutes and see if you can maintain focus.
If you can, increase it to 10 minutes. Keep it up till you win.
If you are pressured to take a social media break, be upfront with yourself.
Tell yourself no and keep on with your work. Just be willing to exercise that productivity muscle daily.
4. Regularly Glance at Your Schedule
One of the brilliant ways to keep on with my schedule is to glance through it as I work.
While writing this article, I examined my schedule for that day.
What are the benefits?
It prevents me from being sidelined and gives me concentration and energy.
Therefore, make it a habit to check your schedule for what is coming up an hour later and even several hours later.
When you know what your day ought to look like, you can psych yourself up and keep yourself running to meet up.
- If you keep your schedule in a journal, keep it open by your side.
- If it’s on the system, make the day’s task appear on a sticky note.
5. Include a Cushion Time In-between
I couldn’t end this article you are reading on schedule.
No, it wasn’t because I slumped or got dipped in social media. A task I never expected came up.
Why I kept on with the task is because I already have a cushion time for days like this.
They are usually between 1-2 hours. Hence, the unforeseen occurrence wouldn’t throw off my workflow.
Learn to take advantage of the wiggle room too.
6. Give Tough Tasks off Hours
There are tasks you just have to lock yourself down and focus on.
So, give these tasks off hours schedule so you won’t run into any form of distractions.
For me, 5-8 am is an uninterrupted time to have my morning worship, where I read and have some time to meditate without distractions.
Additionally, if you are aware of tricky tasks coming up the following day that demands undivided attention, pencil it down so you can stay productive.
Of course, it is not typical, but you will get more done if you do.
7. Schedule Work and Play in the same Space for Balance
I’ve sometimes been tempted to cancel a friend’s visit, because I felt it would impact my routine.
But I realized that my work should not deprive me of quality time with friends.
Thus, I learn to balance things up.
This leads to scheduling my work schedule and personal commitment in a place.
You will need to keep a schedule for play and work in a playce.
For instance, when you schedule tough work for a day, you can schedule a time to visit friends or welcome a visit.
Thus you can have room for each. When you keep work and play in a place, make sure you keep an eye on deadlines.
What You Shouldn’t Forget:
It takes time to build a habit. Therefore, purposely follow your schedule for weeks. If you do, they will become the second part of you.
Always adjust these schedules when you really need to. Initially, you might have no idea how a schedule will turn out to be.
But realistically as time passes by, you will need to make some pruning to ensure they are working for you.
Allow time for unexpected disruptions. Friends, visitors, or other events might challenge your schedule.
But when these are over, actively make it a goal to return to your schedule.
Yes, your schedule will take time, but it will become natural over time.
Forgive Yourself. After learning how to make a daily schedule for yourself, you likely deviate a few times.
When these happen, give yourself the grace.
Be reminded that tomorrow is there, and it is another opportunity.
Yes, this is how to make a daily routine for yourself!
At first, it might be daunting to make a daily schedule for yourself, but with this simplified guide, you are not alone.
If you wouldn’t give up, you will be happy at the result that comes from soaring your productivity to have more time to work on other tasks.
Well, as stated in this guide, if your daily schedule seems like it’s not working, you are obliged to tweak it until you get something ideal and fitting for you.
You can implement these tips on how to make a daily schedule for yourself at home and at work.
The result? You will be more effective at home and stay productive at work.
Do you have question or comments to drops? We yearn to hear from you.