How to Structure Your Schedule as a Busy Mom

November 17, 2021

I’m Cason!
And I'm so glad you're here. My prayer is that these words give you hope in the everyday so that you can experience God's fullness in
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Whether you are a stay at home mom, work from home mom, or you work outside of the home… We all have obligations and things that demand our time and attention.

So today I’m going to walk you through some things I do to structure my schedule each week as a mom who works from home. This is going to be helpful, regardless of where you find yourself, because we all have tasks and things we are responsible for.

Different responsibilities, different things we do each day, all day long, and we all get the same amount of time each day. Right?

If you follow this method of scheduling, it is going to alleviate any overwhelm of not knowing where to start. And if you’re one of those people, who, at the end of the day is like, “where did all of my time go? I don’t even feel like I got anything done.”

This will help you with scheduling and structuring your time and week. Maybe you also feel like this, but when I’m totally in over my head and I feel like I’m being pulled in 20 directions, I just don’t know where to start.

I don’t know what to do.

I think everything needs my immediate time and attention. Like the dishes, the laundry work, kids, cooking, grocery shopping, moving my body, doing things I enjoy, cleaning up. The list goes on…

And you begin to feel like you’re in this blur and can’t see straight to complete tasks one at a time, because there’s so much you feel like needs your time and attention.

Press Pause and Look at Where Your Time is Going

This is when it’s time to press pause, take a step back, and look at an aerial view of your life so you can really evaluate where your time is going.

A lot of the time, we don’t even know where we are spending our time. We know we kept the kids alive, fed them, and kept them mostly entertained and happy.

But what else did we do besides that? Like, did we get anything else accomplished?

If you’re anything like me, you have way more time in your day than you realize.

Once I started implementing this time management skill into my life, it changed things and now I know where my time is going. I

I’m intentional with my time and where I’m spending it each day, every day, and every week.

I didn’t realize it at first, until I stepped back and looked. I took this aerial view of my life. So that’s what we’re going to do here. We’re going to zoom out.

We’re going to check in with ourselves.

As always, I want you to be honest. You have to be honest.

If you’re on the phone, on the couch for two hours a day or four hours a day… You have to be honest about this.

I’m going to share how I structure my schedule as a busy mama, and I pray that it blesses you and helps you structure your own time each week. Let’s get started.

You Need a Weekly Planning Template

Okay, if you are truly a beginner and just starting out, you’re going to want to use a weekly template (unless you already have a planner that you can write in).

But do not go buy one, unless you just really want to. I’ve learned over the years, I really don’t need a fancy planner, even though they do excite me and motivate me for a short amount of time.

Until I got consistent with writing things down, it really didn’t matter if I was using a planner or a sheet of printer paper.

Planners, new pens, new this, and new that… That’s not the answer. Actually writing things down, actually doing it. That’s the secret here.

So I’ve created a very simple weekly template you can download and print to use to do everything I’m sharing with you.

Click here to grab your free template, print it, and then come back so we can fill it out.

Make Time to Sit Down and Plan Out Your Week

Got it printed and in front of you? Okay, awesome!

The first thing you need to do is decide on a time and a day, every single week, to do this right now, what we are filling out together.

From this point forward, you’re going to want to have a set day and time you plan out the coming week.

For me, this is every Sunday. (Okay, most Sundays’s. Just being fully transparent, perfection does not exist.)

So yes. Things come up and happen, and there are Sunday’s here and there, where I don’t get around to doing this.

Some Sunday’s are so crazy. I just forget. It’s okay.

Just do this whenever you think about it.

What I do is set an alarm for every Sunday at the same time. And this goes for anything you want to start implementing into your life… Set an alarm for that day and time until you start to remember automatically, without the alarm.

I read a long time ago that reminders become routines. Hold on to this little nugget because it is absolutely true.

How to Time-Block

(So now that we’ve gotten the real life disclaimer out of the way,) at some point on every Sunday, usually afternoon or early evening, I sit down and I’ll look at the week.

I follow, what is called time-blocking, in order to make the most out of each day. In order to squeeze the most out of the time I have.

Very simply put, time-blocking is a method to schedule your day using segments, or blocks, to complete tasks and manage your time.

With this method, you are dividing your day into blocks of time. Each block is going to be dedicated to accomplishing a specific task or activity, and you’re only going to do that specific task or activity for that block of time.

This helps you to stay on track.

This helps you stay focused.

This helps you to not feel like you have to be doing a hundred things at one time.

We’re just doing this one thing for this block of time.

This means every event, appointment, activity, practice, everything… is written down so we can see where we have margin, and where we may be completely busy.

So I want you to think about school events, extracurricular activities, practices, church activities, any outings, or special events. Personally, I even write down when my husband has something going on, or if he’s going to be late.

Literally, any and everything is going to be written down onto your paper so you know what’s affecting your time.

Make The Most of Your Time

I personally don’t write when my kids are in school, but I do write things like drop-offs and pickups, because this is where I am going to be spending time each day during those hours or minutes.

So for me, when I’m picking up or dropping off my kids, I am using my time.

Now, if I want to go in that block and create a list of tasks I want to be doing while I’m driving, I can do that. (Obviously, this would be things like listening to an audio book, catching up on a podcast, listening to sermons, voice memo-ing people, etc.) But this can be done to make the most out of the time you have.

The point here is to squeeze the most out of your time.

Okay, so if you’ve got your template and a pen, you will want to start whenever you wake up. You can block out a time for a morning routine or getting ready, waking the kids up, whatever it is.

For example, I have written down 5:15am – 5:45am: Prayer and Bible reading. So I’m spending 30 minutes doing this and then from 5:45am – 6:00am I’m writing and reflecting.

From 6:00 – 6:30am, I begin on work stuff. And the task for this period of time will change every single day, depending on what I’m working on.

This is just what it looks like for right now. I can tell you, based on the week we had, there was one night when my husband took the baby to After-Hours. She ended up having a really bad ear infection. They didn’t get home until after midnight, she got home and threw up everywhere.

We weren’t in bed until close to 1 am. It was just a mess. But obviously, I did not get up at 5:15am the next couple of mornings.

You have to keep these things in mind and remember life is going to happen. Things are going to happen, and we have to be able to be flexible, which is not something that I’ve always done really well.

Life is Going to Happen

I’ve always wanted to have a plan, stick to the plan, and that’s the way it has to go.

But when you don’t leave any room to bend or flex, you will have frustrations.

Whenever these negative emotions start to come out with feelings we don’t want, things start to build. So you have to be flexible, and understand things are going to happen.

Life’s gonna happen.

Who knows? You may decide you want to get up at 5:30am and then all of a sudden your kids wake up at 5:30am. Maybe they usually are late sleepers, but on the one morning you want to get up, they wake up early.

Sometimes that’s how things go.

Make Room for Quiet

Next, I have written down, from 7:15am – 8:15am, I’m driving.

I have tasks I’m going to be doing during this time, or things I want to catch up on. Sometimes I literally write “quiet” and that is, you know, assuming the baby will be quiet, but even if not, I’m not going to have anything playing in my ears.

I’m not going to have the radio on.

I’m not going to do any of that.

The girls can watch a movie in the backseat. They’re usually quiet. If the baby’s quiet, then I have a quiet car ride for about an hour, two times.

So for you, you are literally highlighting or listing out blocks of time and tasks and activities.

This is very elementary. I’m assuming you’re keeping up with me here. I hope you are, and you’re starting to see what your week is looking like as you begin to fill this in.

Start With the Skeleton

You’re going to begin seeing what I like to call “the skeleton.” So depending on the week or depending on your season or lifestyle, this skeleton may be very colorful.

It may be full and filled in or it may hardly have anything highlighted or written down.

You may find yourself in the middle somewhere, but this is going to be the skeleton of your week. This will be all of the basics. This is all of the drop-offs, all the pickups, all the practices, all the activities, all of the standard weekly things you and your family do.

This skeleton is going to show you what you’re working with. It gives you a starting point for all the other things you need, or want to get done.

You’ll notice your blocks of time that are already spent and accounted for, as well as the blocks that are empty or not highlighted. These don’t have anything written down.

This is where you get to decide how you will spend this time.

The next thing you can do in the space provided is write down your priorities.

This is the difficult part, because you may have to decide between things like laundry and exercise, or reading a book versus cleaning up the kitchen. This is where it’s important to know what’s important to you.

And what’s important for you to get done.

Decide What Matters Most

What has to be done in order for you to be the best woman, wife, and mom you can be? And if you stop right now and you think about what you want more… Like, what do you, what do you want more of in your life? What do you want to feel more of? What are you working toward? What do you want your home to feel like?

For me in the very beginning, I wanted to feel more calm. Like, I just wanted to be more calm. I wanted less chaos.

So I reversed engineer from there. What helps me move in that direction? (I explain more about this, like choosing a focus and living intentionally in Episode 12.)

You can listen to Episode 12 and get more clear about your focus and who you really desire to be, and how to make it a reality, why it matters… all the things, but you need to figure this out in order to decide how you prioritize these things.

Like cleaning and moving your body and doing things you enjoy, and also deciding what’s a non-negotiable for you.

A non-negotiable for me is spending time reading my Bible and praying every single day.

Now it probably doesn’t look like the image of what popped into your mind. That’s not what I said I’m doing, but those things are non-negotiable. Even if it’s for two minutes or less, it has to happen for me.

Sometimes it happens on the car ride to school because I put in my headphones and I don’t know if you know this, but the Bible app will read to you! (So there’s really no excuse for not getting in the word, mama.)

The reason this is a non-negotiable for me is because I know I’m a better wife, mom, and woman when I do. I just got to have my Jesus time.

Add Other Tasks in the Blanks

You can create a list of all the things you want and need to get done. Then, prioritize those. What I do is start to fill in those tasks into the empty or blank time blocks.

I typically have a block from about 9:45 – 10:45am. For sure when the baby naps, sometimes she naps longer, but I go ahead, and list tasks I can get done within that hour.

And then you repeat this with all the other empty space so you can maximize this time.

I’m going to give you a little tip. If you’re doing something that requires you to be fresh or creative or at your best, this should be done in the mornings.

I know for some of you, you are like… “Uh, no, I’m not a morning person. That’s not when I’m my best.”

If you get up and you can get mentally prepared, set, focused, and grounded for the day. This is why I do work tasks with part of my morning routine. Because you really do want to utilize the beginning of the day for things you need to be your best on.

And I guess technically, there are some people who are going to say, “well, that’s not me. I’m the best at night.” Like you do you, whatever you need to do to make your time and day flow, how you need it to. But I’m just saying there is research and science to back this up. So moving on, this is why I use time blocking.

I used to look at my house, look at my life, look at myself, and think there is so much I wish was different. There’s so many things I want to do. There’s so many things I need to do.

And I didn’t really know where to start. So it’s going to alleviate this idea you have a hundred things to do, which is causing you to avoid doing anything at all.

Quit Fooling Yourself

If you’re anything like me, the fear is either you don’t have enough time, or you don’t have enough energy to complete the task. So you tell yourself, “well, I’ll do it later.” And I’m telling you, we do this without even realizing it. It’s like a split second of a thought.

“I’ll come back to it. I’ll get that later. I’ll get that in a minute. I’ll get it tomorrow. I’ll get it tonight.”

You tell yourself you’re going to do it later, but then later never comes. I don’t know about you, but I’m the worst at this. Or if you’re anything like me, again, you shut down because you just don’t know what to do first or second, because it all seems so pressing at one time.

Like we need to do it all, and since we can’t do it all, we’re just not going to do anything.

So if this is you… If I’ve deeply triggered you, don’t worry. I’m right there with you. I’m the same exact way, and that’s how I know this works.

So take a deep breath. Look at your list of to-do’s.

Prioritize Your Tasks

This is going to include the personal, the professional, everything. All of these tasks you brain-dumped in the space; start to prioritize them.

If you aren’t sure how to number them, just make a choice. Don’t overthink it. Then start at the top of the list and work from the time blocks in the morning to the afternoon.

Fill in these tasks. You may say, “well, I don’t know, should this be second or third?”

I’m telling you don’t overthink it.

Just make it. It’ll be okay. There is going to be a learning curve.

You may block out 30 minutes for the dishes you’ve been avoiding all week and find that it really only takes you10 minutes to do them. Or maybe the work project, or DIY project, takes an hour instead of 30 minutes.

The thing to remember is, it is okay. Guilt and shame are not welcome here.

If you run out of time or if you need more time for something, adjust, if you can. And if not, remember it for next time. And like I said, in the beginning, don’t get super rigid and legalistic with this where, you know, you’re walking around with your checklist and a timer all day, and thinking, “we’ll have to do this for exactly 45 minutes, and it’s two seconds after, and I can’t do this.”

That sounds stressful and miserable.

Give Yourself Grace

This is a loose outline for you to follow so you can start to tell your time where to go and not the other way around. It’s not minute by minute… Monday must look like this. It has to be this way. No, that’s not reality.

Your kids don’t care what you’re writing down right now.

Life does not care. Traffic doesn’t care. I mean, there are seriously all kinds of variables, but the important thing is to show you where you have the time and, maybe, where you don’t have the time. It’s to help you let go of so much frustration in your life.

When I stopped trying to do things during a time of day, that didn’t make sense for me to try to complete them, the second biggest eliminator of the frustration was utilizing time in ways that did make sense.

It doesn’t make sense for me to attempt to sit down and write, or plan, or work on anything that requires concentration, when the baby or the big girls came into the room.

Typically those tasks are assigned for first thing in the morning, during my morning routine. But what I can do while they’re awake, are things like cleaning up, house chores. So do you see how these tiny shifts can completely change your day, your week, and your life?

Stop trying to do things in the time of day that doesn’t make sense for you to try to do it.

Download Your Time Blocking Worksheet

So let’s recap, here is where you can download the Time Blocking Freebie template. You can print this our to list out… hour by hour, day by day, all the things you’re doing. Helpful events you need to remember, appointments, anything you need to plan around for your week.

Don’t forget you need to do this at the beginning of each week. But if you forget, it’s okay to sit down and write it out whenever you do remember.

In the beginning, set a timer at the same time every day, I did on Sunday’s to help me remember to do this.

Once you’ve gotten your time blocks filled in, create a list of things that need to get done and things you want to get done (your non-negotiables priorities.)

Prioritize your tasks and number them, starting with #1 being the most important thing to get done, and then take your weekly skeleton and fill in these tasks block. This is a foolproof, simple way to manage your time and your week.

You’re going to be so much more productive using this method.

I promise you, this is also helpful in keeping boundaries so you don’t do something, like clean the kitchen for an hour, or work for two hours if you don’t need or want to.

When you’re completing these tasks, be mindful of the clock, you can set a timer or an alarm to remind yourself when it’s time to move on to the next task.

It’s just to help you be mindful of the time and move on to the next thing.

This is a tiny baby step that’s going to change the way you see your time and your life. If you actually do it, that’s the key.

Remember nothing changes if you leave everything that you’ve learned right here. You have to take it with you.

You have to implement it.

You have to actually do something with what you learned.

So get started right now. Don’t wait!

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