Monday, October 06, 2014

Sticking to a Schedule Without Getting Sidetracked.

Is it possible to get through a day and accomplish everything on your to-do list without getting sidetracked?  When I was working a full time job it was much easier to stay on track, but now that I work at home, I find it easier to lose focus and let my mind wander.  We've all had days where we could sit in front of the computer and look at all the pretty things on Pinterest or play Candy Crush for hours (because we KNOW one more try and we'll beat that level!).  The secret is to draw yourself back to your responsibilities and keep on keepin' on.  Here are a few helpful hints that I have to use on a daily basis to keep me on schedule.

Keep a Written "To Do" List.
I am a lover of lists.  I have lists of all sorts and I keep several types of lists for any particular subject. For instance, I have a master grocery list that I keep on my fridge.  This is not the same list that I use when I am meal planning or the same one that I take to the grocery story with me.  I've become such an addict of lists, my husband pokes fun, but I truly believe they have a purpose and work.

I keep running lists of everything that needs to be done in my home and life: cleaning, organizing, home improvements, things I need to do for my animals (grooming, etc) and things related to working here at Simple Life, Happy Wife, among other things.  I go through these lists once a week and give things priorities.  I then choose the top priorities and put them on my to-do list.  I try to keep this list manageable and not load it down with so much that I can't possibly get everything done. When you complete something, check it off your list!  This is motivation to move onto the next item and get that list completed and checked off!

Set Up Routines.
Think about your typical day.  Are there things you do every single day, without fail?  If there are, these are your routines.  Routines are an easy way to dedicate a block of time to complete several things, rather than scheduling each item on your calendar or planner. In my personal life, I have morning routines and evening routines.  Here are what my routines look like:

AM Routine

  • Put one load of laundry in - I do this first thing in the morning to get a head start on my housekeeping duties.
  • Feed/water the dog - although our dog doesn't usually eat until later in the morning, I like to get her bowls filled so it's ready when she is hungry.
  • Feed/water the cats
  • Walk the dog and take the mail out
  • Exercise - I usually turn cartoons on for the dog (yes, she watches them) and do my morning exercise routine, which usually takes about half an hour tops.  
  • Brain training and eat breakfast
My morning routine takes no more than an hour and I know I should complete everything by 8 am so I can stay on track and move on with my day.  My evening routine takes a little longer and includes things I don't have to do every night (like reading my book or journaling), but again, it's just a block of time in which I have certain things to complete before I go to bed.  I usually start my evening routine after we eat dinner, unless we are going out for the evening.

PM Routine
  • Finish my housekeeping chores if needed
  • Exercise - my evening routine is usually quicker than the morning one.
  • Shower
  • Classwork and/or paperwork 
  • Brain training
  • Journaling
  • Reading a book or magazine

Turn Off Distractions.
Turn off the television.  Put away the tablet and phone and concentrate on what you have to get done! If you want to include these things into your daily schedule, it's best to set time parameters for them. Turn the tv on for your favorite show only.  Play one game on your phone or scroll through Twitter for twenty minutes.  Then get back to work!

Turn On Some Motivation.
I clean faster when I have some upbeat music to listen to.  Maybe you are the same way.  If this is the case, then it's ok to turn on the radio or some Pandora while you're scrubbing the kitchen or folding laundry.

Reward Yourself!
Having a clean house or a checked off list might be it's own reward at the end of the day, but if you are like me, you need a little extra reward.  Whether it be a nice, quiet bubble bath or a little dessert, treat yourself for a job well done!

What are some ways you stick to your schedule throughout the day?

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