How to Manage Time if You Hate Schedules

I hate schedules

I hate schedules. I shouldn’t. I’m busy all the time, and it would make sense for me to schedule my days out.  But the truth is, what works for me isn’t what works for most people. As a virtual bookkeeper, my schedule rotates throughout the fiscal year. I barely worked last month, but I was full time in February and March (tax season) and I will be again in August and September. I now have two kids under two who have evolving sleep schedules. My dad, who helps me out when he can, is on shift work so even my child care is inconsistent. Oh yeah, and this blog? It takes up time too. I could quit, but I enjoy it, so it stays on my to-do list.

Despite all I have going on, the fact that I hate schedules hasn’t really hurt me, even though all the experts agree you need one. I’m good at changing things up – actually, I used to do that in offices anyway, just to keep myself entertained.  But, I get that not everyone is.  I decided that since my upcoming fun hosting posts don’t have pictures to accompany them yet (I didn’t want to do too much on my two week maternity leave – I’m not that much of a slave driver) I’d go ahead and talk about my strategies to avoid scheduling. I’ve read approximately half of the 250 million time management theories, so obviously I’m super qualified.

Use a To-Do List

One of my more easily accomplished lists.

I’ve spoken of my to-do list before. I currently use Wunderlist for myself and Trello for my clients, but I can’t plug either of them. Microsoft bought Wunderlist to do away with it, which crushed me, but I’ll survive. I could move everything to Trello, but honestly, it’s not for me. I like a simple checklist. When did everything go to boards? It’s kind of dumb. Anyway, the point is if you’re not going to use a calendar, you need to have something else to keep you on track. You may not check your emails precisely at 10:00 A.M., but you do need to check them at some point. Put that on a to-do list, cross it off when you’re done, have one less thing to worry about doing. Sometimes just having the to-do list makes me work quickly simply because I want my list to be shorter.

Choose Your Priorities

Honestly, my kids run the show. I don’t work from home because I hate people or because I can’t get a job. I work from home so I can be with my children. Once they’re in school I’ll start the job search again. I’m not full time, but having the clients I do prevents gaps in my resume so I don’t get charged a higher mommy tax. Hopefully. Anyway,  they’re number one, so I won’t have client calls while they’re awake. But… those little rugrats don’t pay me. So sometimes, unfortunately, I have to skip an art project and do some accounting instead. Returning phone calls has to take precedence over laundry. If you hate schedules, you have to accept that sometimes you can’t get everything done. Either have a makeup day once in awhile or just let it go.

Be Strategic with Sleep

Basically I just test my pillow for firmness and then wake back up.

What a weird thing to say, right? Sleep is super important. Everyone knows this. But I don’t have time to do what I do and sleep the recommended amount of hours, at least not at once. Before you start freaking out that I’m advising you to be unhealthy, remember that I have a newborn so my situation is a little different. If my first is any indication, my next full night of sleep will be in late 2018. That doesn’t mean I have to be tired all the time. It means I have to have a plan. It is possible to switch up your own sleep schedule, and that’s what I had to do.

I didn’t change my schedule up a lot. Actually, it was only a one hour difference. Instead of going to bed at midnight, when I could barely function enough to do any work, and getting up at six with my son, I started going to bed at eleven and waking up at five. Wah-lah. That’s an extra hour by myself in the morning, when I’m refreshed and ready to work. You might not be a morning person, so maybe you will need to change your sleep the other way around or add naps or something, but a little change in sleeping habits might go a long way.

If You Hate Schedules, Stop Scheduling

Freeeeeeddddddooooommmmmm!!!!

I have a client who has used every scheduling system in the book. Every. Single. One. For whatever reason, he thinks that there will be some magical scheduling device that forces him to do what he is supposed to do during the day. Like me, he’s a self-employed parent who prioritizes his kids. Unlike me, he refuses to simply say, “I hate schedules and they don’t work for me.” People, don’t believe everything you read. Not working set hours isn’t going to kill you. It’s not going to make you less productive if you’re not producing anything anyway. If all you do all day is rearrange your schedule because you’ve gotten behind on something, give it up.  Go on, tear that schedule up, delete it, whatever. Don’t you feel better already?

 

21 thoughts on “How to Manage Time if You Hate Schedules

  1. This is great! I’m definitely a to-do list maker. LOL. I worked on a schedule every day as a nail technician, a new client each hour. I’m over it now. I’m productive, but no schedule for me! These are awesome ideas!

    • Beth Davidson says:

      Thanks! I actually just read an article confirming that writing things down really does make us more productive, so bring on the to-do lists!

    • Beth Davidson says:

      I definitely feel you there. I had a period where I felt constantly hungover – without drinking a drop of alcohol – because I was so sleep deprived. I finally figured it out though, so I’m sure you can do it too!

  2. Aish Das-Padihari says:

    I actually love scheduling and planning and making to-do lists. I get lot of satisfaction in checking things off from my list and that gives me a lot of satisfaction.

  3. I feel like maybe you’ve been peeking inside my brain! Lol, I hate hate hate schedules. But I know they are important and necessary to get things done. And with having a kid, routines just work. So I love your little schedule hacks 🙂

    • Beth Davidson says:

      If you’re not too busy, would you mind telling my son that routines work? He doesn’t believe me. Lol.

  4. I used to use a planner for literally everything… then I kind of got lazy with it. I found that writing a quick To-Do list on my phone at the beginning of a busy day has really helped me to stay organized. It literally takes 2 minutes to do too!

    • Beth Davidson says:

      That’s great! I have mine automated so I don’t have to add “do my to-do list” to my to-do list. Lol.

  5. Schedules don’t work for everyone although I couldn’t be without it to be honest. My to do lists include everything from work and blogging stuff to cleaning, tidying and social stuff so I don’t forget a thing x

    • Beth Davidson says:

      That’s how my to-do list looks too. It’s pretty bad, there’s about 40 things on it every day except Sunday. You are more organized than I am if you can stick to a schedule! Or perhaps I just have fickle kids. 🙂

  6. Robin Rue says:

    I absolutely love schedules so I have no idea how I would survive without them. This is such a great way to do things if you are not a scheduling person.

  7. I’ve survived as a work from home mom simply by changing the way I sleep. Summers are tough but beyond that, I know I can’t get everything done during the day so I leave most of my computer work to night hours when my house is sleeping. I go to bed late and get up early but it takes so much stress away knowing I have designated time to work instead of trying to make it happen during impossible hours.

  8. I am not good with schedules – as soon as I make one I don’t like it. So, instead I work with rhythms, and those change seasonally. I am a work-at-home homeschooling mama, so I am constantly on my toes.

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