How To Make a Schedule For Yourself: 16-Step Guide

In this new article you’ll learn how to make a schedule for yourself.

If you feel overwhelmed by your daily tasks, implementing a schedule can greatly enhance your productivity, efficiency, and organization. Try out different tools like notebooks, planners, or scheduling apps to structure your time and determine which method works best for you.

It’s important to establish realistic expectations and strike a balance between your responsibilities and leisure time. To stay on track, make scheduling a habitual part of your routine and reward yourself whenever you complete a task.

How To Make a Schedule For Yourself:

1. Monitor the duration of routine activities:

Keep a record of how long it takes you to complete regular tasks such as getting ready in the morning, eating, doing laundry, grocery shopping, answering emails, doing homework, and other similar activities. Record these times for about a week in a notebook, spreadsheet, or note-taking app.

This tracking exercise will enable you to accurately estimate the time required for specific tasks. Additionally, it may help you identify areas where you can improve your productivity. For instance, you might realize that you spent 10 hours playing video games when you should have dedicated more time to studying.

2. Explore different methods: notebooks, planners, and apps:

When creating your initial schedule, experiment with various written and digital approaches. If you prefer a blank canvas, consider using a notebook or a note-taking app.

On the other hand, if you prefer a pre-designed layout with dates and time slots, opt for a planner or calendar app. Choose the method that aligns with your personal preferences. If you dislike dealing with physical paper, go for an app.

However, if writing by hand helps you stay focused and organized, use a pencil and pad. As you utilize your schedule, you’ll develop a sense of what you like and dislike. Once you find the most suitable method, stick with it and consolidate all your tasks in one place, whether it’s a notebook, planner, or app.

3. Note down dates and days of the week, if needed

If your schedule doesn’t automatically include dates and days of the week, make sure to fill them in at the top of each page. Allocate a whole page for each day to focus on current tasks and make notes when necessary.

This inclusion of the day of the week helps you keep track of activities that occur on specific days, such as music classes on Mondays and Wednesdays. If you’re using a blank notebook, you can use the left page for a chronological schedule and reserve the right page for daily priorities and additional notes.

4. Allocate time for fixed commitments

Classes, regular meetings, and other fixed tasks form the foundation of your schedule. Start by scheduling these fixed blocks of time, such as “8:30 a.m. – Intro to Psychology” or “4:00 p.m. – Yoga class.”

If you’re using a blank notebook or spreadsheet, it’s helpful to divide the page into half-hour intervals on the left side and leave space between each interval for bullet points or notes. If you’re using a planner or scheduling app, it likely already includes designated time slots.

5. Create a separate list of tasks

While filling in fixed tasks is straightforward, structuring the rest of your time can be challenging. Begin by writing down all the tasks you need to accomplish on a blank sheet of paper or a new document on your device.

Prioritize the tasks by assigning a number or letter to each one. For instance, label your most important tasks with 1 or A, which you’ll schedule first. Use 2 or B for medium-priority tasks and 3 or C for low-priority items.

You can mark the priority level next to the task in your schedule or use symbols like asterisks or exclamation points to draw attention to them. If planning for the week, make a list of weekly tasks, and for a single day, list your daily tasks.

6. Schedule important tasks during peak focus times

Fill in your schedule by starting with the most important tasks. Estimate the time needed for each task and schedule your top priorities during periods when you are most alert and least likely to be distracted.

Use visual cues like asterisks, underlining, or highlighting to highlight high-priority tasks. For example, if you are most productive in the morning, allocate that time for high-priority projects and leave tasks like paper filing or email deletion for later in the day. It’s crucial to set reasonable expectations and avoid trying to squeeze complex tasks into unrealistic time frames based on your tracked log of task durations.

7. Include specific details for each task

As you enter tasks into your schedule, include specific information to ensure you remember what each entry means. Avoid using shorthand that may become unclear later on.

For example, if you have a meeting, include the time, location, and attendees. You can also add bullet points to note the meeting’s topic. Remember to strike a balance and provide enough details to keep you on track without writing an essay for each task.

8. Specify start and end times for each task

Whether you’re using a scheduling app or a notepad, including start and end times for each task is crucial for maintaining a structured day. It provides a clear understanding of how your day will unfold and where you need to be at specific times.

For instance, you might allocate time from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. for preparing an outline, attend a class from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., have lunch at 12:30 p.m., and participate in a meeting from 1:00 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. It’s important to set reasonable expectations and refer to the log where you tracked your time to accurately estimate the duration of each task.

9. Allocate time for enjoyment, family, and relaxation

It’s impossible to be productive every moment of the day, so it’s essential to make time for activities you enjoy, spending time with loved ones, and relaxation. If you tend to forget to take breaks, it’s especially important to include reminders to unwind and have fun.

For example, you can include entries such as “Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. – Have dinner with Tom and Andrew (wrap up work by 5:45!)” or “Saturday, 12:00 p.m. – Take Alice to the swimming pool.”

10. Keep about 25% of your time open

Filling your day with consecutive tasks without any flexibility leaves no room for adjustments. It’s advisable to allocate some time for interruptions or delays. Leaving at least 15 minutes between tasks allows for some flexibility in your plans. Additionally, if you need to travel somewhere, remember to leave an extra 10 or 15 minutes in case you encounter traffic or unexpected delays.

11. Establish a consistent scheduling routine

Making your schedule at the same time every day helps integrate planning into your daily routine. Whether you review your task list while enjoying your morning coffee or do it the night before, incorporating schedule planning as a daily ritual is beneficial.

You may find it helpful to plan your week on Sunday night and then make adjustments and organize daily task lists each evening or morning. Even if you’re not running behind or getting distracted, the extra time blocks can be used for breaks, exercise, or additional work if needed.

12. Keep your schedule visible

No matter if you use a notebook, planner, or app, make sure to keep your schedule easily accessible. Allowing it to gather dust will decrease your likelihood of sticking to your time management goals.

If you use an app, install it and sync your account across all your electronic devices. Consider using a desktop or home screen widget to pin tasks and reminders for quick reference. Additionally, posting a whiteboard or calendar in your workspace with important dates and weekly goals provides at-a-glance information.

13. Mark completed tasks to stay motivated

The act of checking off a completed task may seem simple, but it can be highly satisfying. By marking off each accomplished task, you gain a sense of progress and maintain an overview of your responsibilities.

Don’t panic if you don’t finish all your tasks in a day. If something slipped through the cracks, revise your schedule and prioritize it for the following day.

14. Reward yourself for achieving tasks

Having something to look forward to makes it easier to complete tasks, especially those that are mundane or uninteresting. For example, if you have a day filled with presentations, meetings, and deadlines, treat yourself to breaks, an ice cream cone, or another small reward after each completed task.

Apart from individual task rewards, plan a larger treat for yourself after a productive day. Take a long, soothing bath, play video games, watch a movie, or engage in an activity that brings you joy.

15. Use productivity apps to minimize distractions

If you find yourself easily distracted by web browsing or social media, consider using apps like StayFocused (1) or Freedom (2). These tools block distracting websites during designated work periods, helping you stay focused and productive.

Additionally, keep your phone in your pocket or bag instead of placing it on your desk. Keeping it out of sight reduces the temptation for distractions.

16. Schedule regular breaks to prevent burnout

A jam-packed schedule without breaks is overwhelming and often leads to procrastination. Pushing yourself too hard can also negatively impact your performance.

It’s essential to allocate time for rest and rejuvenation to make your workload more manageable and give your body and mind a chance to recharge. For example, while it’s great to tackle household chores on a weekend day, if you spend Saturday mowing the lawn, catching up on laundry, and cleaning the house, allocate most of Sunday for relaxation.

Each evening, strive to schedule at least 1 to 2 hours before bed dedicated to unwinding. Use this time to read a calming book, take a bath, or listen to soothing music.

In summary, creating an effective schedule for yourself involves several key steps:

  1. Track your routine activities: Keep a log of how long it takes to complete everyday tasks to accurately estimate time allocation.
  2. Choose a scheduling method: Experiment with using a notebook, planner, or scheduling app to find the method that suits your preferences and needs.
  3. Include dates and days of the week: Fill in dates and days at the top of your schedule to keep track of specific activities occurring on certain days.
  4. Fill in fixed time blocks: Start by scheduling fixed tasks such as classes or regular meetings to establish the framework of your schedule.
  5. Make a task list: Write down all the tasks you need to accomplish, prioritize them, and assign numbers or letters to indicate their importance.
  6. Prioritize tasks strategically: Schedule high-priority tasks during periods when you are most alert and free of distractions.
  7. Provide task details: Include specific information with each task entry to avoid confusion and stay on track.
  8. Include start and end times: Set specific start and end times for each task to structure your day and estimate time requirements accurately.
  9. Allocate time for leisure and relaxation: Set aside dedicated time for activities you enjoy and to spend with loved ones to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  10. Leave room for flexibility: Budget time for unexpected interruptions or delays by keeping some open slots between tasks.
  11. Establish a consistent scheduling routine: Make planning your schedule a regular part of your daily or weekly routine to develop good time management habits.
  12. Keep your schedule visible: Ensure that your schedule is easily accessible, whether in a notebook, planner, or digital app, to stay organized and on track.
  13. Track completed tasks: Mark off completed tasks to feel a sense of progress and maintain an overview of your responsibilities.
  14. Reward yourself: Provide small rewards for completing tasks and plan larger rewards for productive days to stay motivated and incentivize progress.
  15. Minimize distractions: Use productivity apps or strategies to block distractions and keep your focus on the scheduled tasks.
  16. Prioritize self-care: Schedule regular breaks and time off to prevent burnout, allowing yourself to rest and recharge.

By following these steps, you can create a well-structured schedule that helps you stay organized, productive, and balanced in managing your daily tasks and activities.

Thank you for reading this article about how to make a schedule for yourself and I really hope that you take action my advice.

I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here