Scheduling is the art of planning your activities so that you can achieve your goals and priorities in the time you have available. When it’s done effectively, it helps you:
- Understand what you can realistically achieve with your time.
- Make sure you have enough time for essential tasks.
- Add contingency time for “the unexpected.”
- Avoid taking on more than you can handle
- Have enough time for family and friends, exercise and hobbies.
- Achieve a good work-life balance.
- Work steadily toward your personal and career goals.
Time is the one resource that we can’t buy, but we often waste it or use it ineffectively. Scheduling helps you think about what you want to achieve in a day, week or month, and it keeps you on track to accomplish your goals.
In order to be organised and prepared, it is important to have a good calendar system. And it has to work for you personally, otherwise, you won’t be able to rely on it to run your household. The first question is should you use paper or an electronic for your family calendar?
In this post, I will cover a paper-based system. For a paper-based system, you will need a basic monthly calendar, preferably an oversized calendar – with enough room in the date boxes for you to write in all of your appointments and activities.
There are four main categories of information that you want to enter into your family calendar:
- Appointments and Activities- both for you and all of the members of your family
- Birthdays and Holidays
- Menu Plans
- Weekly Tasks- these are the household chores or an exercise schedule that you want to accomplish each week
1. Appointments and Activities
This means entering all of your sports schedules and after-school activities, special events, doctor and dentist appointments, and so forth. Even if it’s a swimming lesson at the same time every week for the last 2 years, set it up on your calendar anyway.
2. Birthdays and Holidays
You can write these in a coloured pen so that it’s easy on the eye when looking ahead for upcoming birthdays etc.
3. Menu Planning
For each night you can assign a “theme” such as:
- Mondays: vegetarian
- Tuesdays: steak or beef
- Wednesdays: pasta
- Thursday: crock-pot or order pizza
- Friday: chicken
4. Weekly Tasks
These are your list of high priority household chores on specific days of the week, and you can also include your plan to exercise, or anything else that you would like to see as a reminder, assigned to a particular day. Here is an example of what a weekly task list looks like:
- Mondays- Grocery shop, change and wash all of the bed sheets and towels, pay bills. Walk the dog for 30 minutes
- Tuesdays- Dust and vacuum upstairs. Yoga class.
- Wednesdays- Clean the bathrooms. Walk the dog for 30 minutes.
- Thursdays- Clean kitchen. Walk for the dog for 30 minutes. Water the plants.
- Fridays- Finish the clothes laundry, dust, vacuum downstairs, mop the kitchen. Walk the dog.
- Saturdays- no tasks scheduled!
- Sunday- weekly planning ritual, sort through papers, clip coupons, plan grocery shopping, bake a healthy cake.
1. Use A Large Wall Calendar
“First, decide where you will locate your Family Calendar. It is helpful to put it near where people are entering and exiting the home and where the family spends a lot of time, so often the kitchen works well for many families.
2. Yearly Planning
At the beginning of each year or so, you are going to record all the birthdays and holidays. You’ll want to include vacation days from work and school.
3. Monthly Planning
At the beginning of each month, you are going to record activities, both you and all members of your family. You’ ll want to include medical appointments, after-school activities, sports practices and games, trips, parties, play dates and meetings.
4. Weekly Planning Ritual
The beauty of this weekly planning ritual is that you are only focusing on just the week ahead, you are allowed to forget everything else going on. And just the act of reviewing each item will get you focused and ready for the week ahead.
You may want to color code the listings, assigning a color to each family member. Keep a pencil or pen attached to the calendar, using string so it doesn’t mysteriously disappear.
Here are the steps.
- Review your weekly tasks and upcoming appointments
- Do your menu planning
- Consult your ongoing to-do-list
- Do a quick look ahead for birthdays and holidays approaching so you can purchase a gift or a card
- Add in any projects or crafts from your inspiration list
Are you currently a believer in the family calendar system? Do you use it each week to prepare for the days ahead? I would love to hear about your “relationship” with your family calendar- what works for you and what doesn’t?