Your schedule is probably pretty crazy; as a husband, father, grandfather, uncle, friend, leader, pastor, person – mine can be quite chaotic. One thing I’ve found that helps me create moments of margin is a block schedule. It may not work for you, but it’s really helped me plan out my week and stay focused on my priorities. Here are a few guidelines that may help you.
- Create A Weekly Time Chart
I use a simple excel spreadsheet with Column A representing the time of day and the next seven columns representing the days of the week. I chart my time from 5am until 11pm in 30 minute blocks
- Fill In The Chart With Everything You Have To Do
About twice a year, take your existing schedule and write down everything that’s required of you; work and/or other activities. As a Pastor I block my time each day so I know what meetings I need to attend, when I need to study, etc. Since I am a Pastor and have to preach several times each week, those times are blocked on my chart.
When I was helping coach my son’s Little League team we had weekly practices that went on my chart during that season of life.
- Fill In Remaining Blocks of Time With Priorities
Since my children are grown and no longer home, one key priority for me is to have a regular date day with my wife Janet! When my kids were at home, we had dinner together at home almost every night, so that was a priority block.
Another priority for me is my time alone with God which includes a specific time of prayer and a time to reflect on Scripture. For me this is a block of time early in the morning.
Currently I have a back issue & can’t do much physical exercise, but when I’m able, I add an hour block of time for working out at least three days a week.
I don’t always manage this as well as I’d like, but since I want to get up early, I set a priority time to go to bed so I will get enough rest.
- Build In Time For Something You Enjoy
Just like with a financial budget, if you don’t build in some fun, you’ll have a hard time sticking to it. I try to build in some blocks of time for things I enjoy. These blocks of time are limited, but include things like hobbies, reading, dreaming, reflecting, game nights with friends, etc.
- Leave The Remaining Blocks Of Time Open If Possible
There will always be things we don’t expect that place added demands on our time, so leave space for those. Don’t fill in every block with activities. In fact, if your block schedule is really crowded, you probably need to re-evaluate all you’re doing and weed out a few things.
Hope these simple suggestions help you get a better grip on your schedule and provide a little more margin in your life.
By the way – I’d love to know the things that help you manage your schedule too!