Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

Creating a Daily Schedule

A paper diary

No matter what you’re doing, or what you want to do, you need to approach it with a plan. That plan in only the first step. You won’t make any headway unless you have the time to tackle whatever it is you want to tackle.

Everyone seems to talk about making time to do the things you want to do, but how do you do that? The easiest, and I believe most effective, way to make time is to carve it out of your day.

That’s where a daily schedule comes in.

Here are a few suggestions that can help you create a daily schedule.

Look At Your Day

Start by taking a look at your typical day. Look at what you do during the day and when you do it. You want to see where you have blocks of time that you can take advantage of.

How big should those blocks of time be? I recommend you find 30 to 60 minute stretches during the day. At the very least, 15 minute blocks. That could be some dead time in the morning. It could be part of your lunch break. It could be time in the evening after the kids have been put to bed.

Also, don’t be afraid to cut down on or cut out some activities. Instead of bingeing on Netflix or TV, use some of all of that time to do something you want to do.

Pick One Activity or Project

And only one.

Many of us have a number of activities we want to undertake, projects we want to tackle. Trying to do them all is a good way to do none of them.

Taking on more than one activity will make you lose focus. You’ll try to flit between multiple activities, never really completing them. Your energies — both physical and mental — will be spread too thin.

Your progress will be slow. You’ll get frustrated. You’ll quit. That’s not what you want to happen.

Determine the Minimum Viable Amount of Time

By that, I mean the least amount of time you can put into an activity and either get its benefits or make progress. And also the minimum amount of time which ensures you don’t get bored or feel rushed.

That minimum viable amount of time will vary depending on what you want to do. With exercise, for example, that could be 15 or 20 minutes. If you’re doing an online course, that amount of time might 30 minutes.

As you get into your routine, think about increasing the amount of time you spend on that activity each day. With exercise, for example, increase the amount you do daily be two to five minutes.

Block Off Time

You know what you want to do. You know how much time (roughly) you need to devote to that activity or project. Now, you need to block off that time. Every day.

To do that, use a calendar. It can be a paper one, or a digital one. Create an entry at the time or times you want to set aside to do what you want to do. Make sure there are entries for at least four of the seven days in the week. Take a break over the weekend. Your brain and your body will thank you.

If you’re using a digital calendar, make sure you:

  • Set a reminder
  • Can synchronize the calendar across all your devices

Let your family and friends know that you’re unavailable during those blocks time. That’s your time. It’s inviolable.

Be Flexible

As I mentioned in the previous paragraphs, those blocks of time are your time. Those blocks of time are inviolable. They’re sacrosanct. For the most part, they will be.

The best laid plans and all that … Things might get in the way once in a while. You might have to work late. You might have to deal with a sick child or a sudden household emergency.

Whatever happens, you need to be flexible about the time you’ve blocked off to do things. If, for example, planned to do a module of an online course from 8:00 pm to 8:45 pm, but had to help your kids with their homework until 8:30 pm, do your coursework from 8:30 pm to 9:15 pm.

If you miss a day because you’re tired or sick or if something comes up, don’t double up the next day to try to catch up. That doesn’t work. Continue from where you left off and get back on track the next day.

A schedule is essential to ensure you have the time to tackle your activities and projects. Even if you can only set aside 30 minutes a day, you’ll be amazed at the amount of progress you’ll make.

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