How to plan a staying in schedule

My master plan for the week

I mostly took last week off because I’ve been hit with total overwhelm and loads of anxiety. My normal weekly routine of work, college, teaching etc. has been blown away and it has thrown me.

I need to get back on track and get on with things so I’m working on a schedule for the week. I don’t think this is a one size fits all situation but I do have some ideas that might help the majority of people.

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My schedule is broad and open. It is there to help me ground myself and look after my wellbeing as well as those close to me. I don’t go into details about each days tasks, this is a framework to work around and to give me a sense of control.

Find a template

There are lots of templates for weekly schedules online. Some of them can be printed out and some you can fill in using your phone or computer. You can even design your own, now is a great time to learn a new skill.

Some templates break the day down into half hours, others have no timings at all. You will probably want to refine your schedule once you have got the basics down and I suggest you start with something that has 24 hourly areas so you can get a broad idea of how your week looks.

  • Print out a Weekly24HourSchedule This has one page colour and one page black and white so you don’t waste printer ink.
  • Use a Google Docs template – you will need to make a copy of it first as this is a view only file.
  • Design your own with Canva. (This is not an affiliate link).  Set up a free account and search the templates for ‘Weekly Schedule Planner’. There are loads of gorgeous designs that you can just print straight off without any editing, or you can play around and customise one.

Canva has loads of pretty templates for free

What is vital?

Sleeping and eating are two vital components to this staying alive lark. Although I tend not to sleep a whole nights unbroken sleep, I plan as if I will and I listen to soothing podcasts when I wake up. I started my schedule by colouring in a whole area for sleeping.

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Sleep is all blocked out in restful blue

My weekly plan is a broad overview so I haven’t put in details. I know I’ll brush my teeth and bathe before breakfast, it doesn’t need to go on the plan. If you want a really good 4 minute morning routine read this post by Arabella – 4 Minute Morning Routine – 240 seconds to get it together and kick start the day

Next comes mealtimes which divide the day up nicely into morning, afternoon and evening. I’ve coloured mine in a nice yellow.

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Meals split up the day

Colour coding

Using lots of colours can easily get out of hand. My basic rules are:

  • Blues – rest and relaxation
  • Greens – active things
  • Yellows – meals
  • Pinks – things that have to be done

What needs to be done?

Every day there are tasks that have to be done. I have to check emails, respond when needed, pay bills….. To keep it easy I’m calling this ‘Admin’ and giving myself an hour a day for the nasty stuff. I like to eat the frog and get the worst done first so that is going in early.

Theming week days

My work is split into different areas so I’m sticking to my previous timetable as much as I can and having themed days. Monday and Tuesday I work on any graphics or website jobs I have. Wednesday I use for college work. Thursday is a teaching day so although that is online now I can still go in and check my students work and Friday is a catch up day.

Your week will look different of course and may include young children. If it does, then themed days are a wonderful way to keep them entertained without too much hassle. For example, Pirate Day could include a film, a blanket picnic on an indoor treasure island, seeing what floats on water….. There are a load of resources on the internet for parents and carers but my first stop would be Pinterest.

What else needs to be done?

I live in a constant state of DIY so I have plenty of house maintenance to do. I’ve got houseplants that need tending, dishes that need washing and menus that need planning so we don’t eat all the food at once. I might do a 5 minute declutter of useless things. I’m calling this Maintenance and planning an hour after lunch to pick away at the little jobs.

How do you look after yourself?

We need to take breaks and these can be anything from a quick coffee to knitting, journalling or doing some exercise. I’ve blocked in an hour for self care of some sort in the morning and afternoon. This will break up the day and give me something to look forward to.  I can choose what I do each day and it might be any or a mixture of these things:

  • Exercise – stretching, lifting things, dancing….
  • Fresh air – the air is so much cleaner at the moment, get the windows open!
  • Creativity – doodling, sewing, knitting, try something new!
  • A TV show
  • Radio/Podcast

This break hour is a very good time to stay in touch with people. Phone a friend, Skype a relative. Maintain contact.

Work is in red and breaks are in blue

How do you entertain yourself?

Planning my week out like this should stop me from falling asleep on the sofa while binge watching crappy sitcoms on Netflix. However the evening is a different matter and I’ve left that open to loll on the sofa to my hearts content.

What about the weekends?

I’ve kept the main structure of mealtimes, breaks and maintenance work through the weekend but the time around that is very flexible. If it is sunny I’ll try to be in the garden. If it is raining I’ll be working on some DIY indoors or watching a film or two.

Here are some ideas:

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You might also like to try something from this epic list of things to do when isolating.

Lisa Cole

About Lisa

I'm Lisa Cole. I'm a designer, maker, teacher and writer who lives in Bristol. Less-stuff is about my journey to live a more organised life, save money and be more environmentally friendly.

I document little things I can change to live more sustainably. I'm not a minimalist!

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