Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Schedules Aid in Simplicity

Ask anyone who claims to have a simple life, and I'll bet they'll tell you one of their secrets is a schedule. People who regularly reach their goals rely on automated systems, like schedules, to keep their lives running efficiently. It might be internal, something they don't think about but that comes naturally, or it might be something they write down in advance.

After reading other writer's blogs, I know many of you write at a certain time each day to reach your goals. Others might work around your young children's daily needs or even the seasonal conditions of your region. But most of you adhere to a natural rhythm to maximize your output. If you're energetic in the morning, that's when you write. If late night is the only time you can get an hour's peace, you use it.

Setting a schedule and sticking to it can feel complicated. It's hard to change our habits. And frankly, sometimes we shouldn't. I think it's important not to shove ourselves into a mold we think should fit but never will.

If you have a schedule, does it fit your life? If you don't, do you feel your method is failing you?

Does your productivity increase when you set a schedule? Do you find it simplifies your life or does it feel even more complicated?

My productivity increases when I set a schedule. The complications of planning it in advance aren't always fun, but it's worth it when I achieve the goals I'm working toward. The sad truth for me is when I don't set a schedule, my goals take much, much longer to achieve.

Join me on Friday to set one goal!


  1. hmmmm i may have to drop my friday to set a goal!!!

    im not sure... i dont think i have a schedule, and im not sure if it's because schedules and deadlines make me procrastinate more or whether i just procrastinate too much in general therefore never SET a schedule...


    as i said... may have to drop by, set a goal and give it a go!

    thanks jill!

  2. I LOVE this blog. Always a combo of stuff.

    The photo (Venice?) rocks!!!
    And makes me giggle. I think of Venice as so wildly UNscheduled.

    Sigh. Ah. Back to the question.

    Yes, I have a schedule that God is using to SAVE me right now. Get up at 5:00. Edit a chapter of DUE final edit. Then I get to visit with bloggites for a bit. Sigh. On to next chapter.

    Those perseverance verses are being whispered by the Counselor...


  3. You aren't kidding! Our whole family functions better with a schedule and routine. It's at the point where I'm ready (so ready) for school to start, so we can get back to it.

    My writing schedule will be a few hours each morning, after the kids have left on the bus.

  4. ^ I'm like Janna... I have my whole family life on a schedule and things always work so much more smoothly when we stick to it. I do have a harder time making my stuff a priority in the schedule & need to work on that.

  5. I try very hard to set a schedule and my children try very hard to complicate that schedule.

    For the last eight years I've had to go with flow.
    ~ Wendy

  6. Good Morning!

    Miss Ali: I'm laughing at your comment! And I'm flat out telling you--set just ONE goal or you'll feel overwhelmed. Make it be something easy enough you know you can achieve, but hard enough you haven't sat down and tackled it yet! Or maybe just rely on your natural rhythm? If it isn't broke, don't fix it!

    Patti: Ironic, isn't it? :) The picture just made me so happy, I had to put it in! Your life sounds productive and fulfilling. Something we all desire!

    Janna: Same here. Love summer, but fall and winter are my most productive months. Come back next week, and I'm sure I'll be tearing my hair out, ready to kick the kids back to school! But now? Not quite ready...

    Kelly: I understand. With everything else to get done, it's tough squeezing in any time for your own needs. Even reading is a snatched time affair! It's gotten much easier for me now that my kids aren't babies.

    Wendy: I LOVE how you put that--it's the truth!! I could write a post about the things my kids come up with each day to complicate things. At 10:00AM--"Can we go skating?" I've never taken you skating--why would I at 10am on a Tuesday?? "We're going back to the fair today right?" We spent four hours there in 90degree heat yesterday--"NO!"

    Sorry. It's that time of year!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  7. I don't have a schedule yet. For the longest time I wrote whenever I wanted when I wasn't at work, but now with a 7 month old, I'm finding her distracting - she's so DARNED cute. And she likes to chew on my laptop a/c cord - which isn't a good thing. hmm...

  8. Yup, I seem to get more done if I stick to a schedule

  9. I NEED to set a schedule. Thanks for the push of encouragement. :O)

  10. Jaime: Chubby cheeks are a fun distraction! Enjoy them!

    CJ: Me too. And I feel so good about myself at the end of the day!

    Diane: It's easier to set one during transitions--like when the kids go back to school, or after Christmas. But, as long as they're flexible, schedules can help anyone at anytime.

  11. Sadly, I think my schedule is mowing me over! Hopefully once school starts we can get into a routine--one that involves being home enough to get things accomplished.

  12. My schedule fits my life right now, but it's not as organized as I usually am, and therefore could be far more productive. But summers do that to me sometimes. Once school starts I hope to tighten up my schedule a bit so I can fit more priorities in.

  13. It's funny that everything else in my life revolves on a schedule~ my workday, the kids, dinner. I manage it all on a beautiful timeline that is rarely altered.

    You would think I would do the same with my writing! I need to change that!

  14. I love scheduling. Without it, I wouldn't get much done. When I have lots of time, I actually love making the schedules. I used to love doing my lesson plans when I was a teacher. It bothers me to be thrown off. I'm learning to go with the flow however.

  15. I follow a somewhat easy schedule. I would like it to be a bit more organized--but the baby seems to complicate that as everything happens on HIS schedule. lol... Here in a couple of months though, I should be able to get him on enough of a schedule, that I can get the rest of us into a routine.

  16. I love a schedule (some might call it a rut.) I love the school year, even though it means more demands on my time as a homeschooling mom, because it's more regimented and scheduled than our free-wheeling summers.

  17. Right now I don't really have a schedule because it's the summer. But during the fall I find it's easier to just fall into this schedule of waking up at 7, shower, breakfast, piano practice, classes, piano practice, homework, piano practice, work, dinner, sleep. My life just falls into a routine that is easy to follow.

  18. Jill:
    I could do a schedule and be a happier person. My husband is retired and has some health issues. Friday, we see a surgeon to see if and when he will have surgery. There's always something going on that keeps me off schedule.

  19. Georgiana: Summer does that to me too! I do the best I can with my mornings and TRY not to feel guilty about the rest!

    Cindy: Yep, me too. As much as I love summer, I get more done during the school year.

    Tamika: Ah, the perils of SAHM's! I know. I had the same problem until about three years ago. That's when writing became part of my schedule.

    Nancy: I am drawn to organizers, planners, and all that fun stuff. Lesson planning sounds fun!

    Ralene: Babies make the schedule! You're right though, in a few months you'll be able to work around him better.

    Erica: Rut? Schedule? No problem! Whatever works. If you love it, it couldn't be described as a rut.

    Abby: Your fall schedule sounds terrific. Are you aiming for professional work with your piano playing? I'm very impressed with your practice.

    Quiet Spirit: There IS always something, isn't there? :) Praying your hubby does not need major surgery.

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  20. Hi Jill -

    I find a Task List and deadlines are the best tools for keeping me on track. Without them, I procrastinate.

    Susan :)

  21. Setting goals and attempting to stick to a schedule definitely makes me more productive. Summer has been very difficult with that. But I'm reaching goals, just later than I hoped to.

  22. Susan: Task list and deadlines--two powerful tools!

    Heather: Summer has been rough for me too. It's great spending time with the kids, but it's hard to ignore the voice in my head telling me to write more.

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  23. I am better when I have a schedule and deadlines, but I can also get hung up and not be flexible when I need to be. So I'm learning to balance:)

  24. I agree. Schedules help keep me on track too. Every night I sit down and write a list of things I want to achieve the following day. Without it, I'm sure I'd waste my time fluffing around with unimportant things. Plus it's fun crossing things off a list - always gives you such a sense of achievement :)

    I just spotted you through the comments section on Scott Eagan's blog. I don't write soley Christian fiction, but I do have a couple manuscripts, plus a few more I'd like to write one day. It's nice to meet you :)

  25. Karen: I have that problem too! :)

    Melissa: Welcome! You write your list the night before? What a great idea. Then you're not thinking about it in bed. I write mine in the morning, but I will confess I have index cards and a pen on my nightstand for writing ideas or have-to-do's down.

  26. Great thoughts, Jill.

    I don't have a schedule per se, but I have a dry erase board on my office wall, on which I write goals and number them by priority and date. When i finish one, I erase it and go on to the next. I even use scented markers--that makes it more fun! I'm amazed at how this simple tool keeps me focused and motivated to write, submit, and create blog posts.

    See you tomorrow, dear!

  27. Jill, your thoughts are very interesting. I haven't had a schedule for a long time. I'm not terribly disciplined, so schedules really helped me. When I was in the USAF, I loved the structure of my days. Same with teaching. I thrive with a schedule. Then pain entered my life, and it changed everything. Although I am no longer in its chains, I still have some minor issues that cause me to produce when I can. Sometimes I can't touch a project for days, and other times I can work on a manuscript for hours. It helps me to remember God's mercies are new every morning and sufficient for that day. I miss my schedules, but I'm thankful for His grace.


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