Help for Planning When Your Schedule is Unpredictable

With packed schedules and harried lifestyles, planning has never been more important!  Without proper planning, priorities are neglected and time is spent on the crisis of the moment or surfing the net.

Some people are fortunate enough to have fairly predictable schedules with only occasional modifications required.  But if your life is filled with one interruption after another, traditional methods may not work for you.  You need something that works if you have an open day and something that works if your day is packed.  So here’s a strategy that just might give you the best of both worlds.

To plan for an unpredictable schedule, you need THREE lists.  It sounds like a lot but it’s not as bad as it sounds.

  • List One.  This is a list of things you need to do every day, sort of a checklist.  Life won’t fall apart if you don’t get these things done (make dinner, tidy the house, exercise, etc.) but life will go better if you do most of these tasks on most days.  And this list is most effective if it’s typed.
  • List Two.  This is a list of things you MUST do that day – priorities!  You will have problems if you don’t do these things.
  • List Three.  This is a list of things you need to do sometime.  Whenever you think of something random you need to do, write it on this list.  It’s a good idea to mark the items that are higher priority so you do those first (or at least get them done).

I made pages for my planner that incorporate these three lists.  You can see them here.  But if you’re not interested in a planner and want something simpler, here’s a planning sheet you can use.

Planning Page For Unpredictable Schedule Download

To make this sheet most effective, type in your list of Daily Tasks and then print the page.  Put the page in a sheet protector.  I would recommend cutting away the section of the plastic sheet protector that covers the Things To Do area so you can write directly on the sheet.  Put the planning sheet on your refrigerator or some other highly visible location.  For the Today’s Priorities section, you can use post-it notes or a dry erase pen.  I would also use the dry erase pen to mark off Daily Tasks as they are completed.

So there you have it.  A simple system that allows you to be prepared for whatever life throws your way.

How do you handle an unpredictable schedule?

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Born in Kentucky, I am a wife and mom to 1 son and 2 daughters . I have an ink pen obsession, as well as a love for all things planner. I have been married for 10 years to my high school crush. I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

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6 thoughts on “Help for Planning When Your Schedule is Unpredictable

  1. Thank you! Those are great ideas. I do much better with routine but my husband is self-employed so our schedule constantly changes. One thing I started doing was just scheduling the “wasted” time into my day so I spend 30 minutes each morning surfing the net and don’t feel guilty about it. I guess I start my day with down time which is a little backwards but it works for me.

    1. I do that, too. I allow myself an hour in the morning to eat breakfast, read the news, surf the net, check on the blog, etc. I also take at break at 3:00 most afternoons. I have a coke and read. Those breaks keep me going!

      My husband is self-employed, too, but his schedule is pretty predictable. It’s the finances that are unpredictable!

    2. I should have also said that realistic planning means including “wasted time” into your routine because you KNOW you’re going to do it. So you’re wise to schedule it. It’ll keep your day from getting off track because you didn’t plan realistically and it will keep you sane!

    1. You’re not the only one who changes the list! I do that, too. One of my problems is that when I make my list the evening before, I’m overly optomistic about what I can do and what I’ll want to do! Then when I get up the next morning, I look at the list and think: “Are you crazy? What were you thinking when you planned that?” That’s where homemade planners come in handy. If you mess up a page, you can make another one!

      Thanks for commenting.

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