Posts Tagged ‘planning’

In last week’s blog post, I wrote about honoring the time on the schedule. This week, I want to piggyback on that post with a few thoughts from a recent episode of Before Breakfast with Laura Vanderkam. Personally, I love when I discover that one of the strategies that I am effectively using to become a better time manager is already incorporating another time management strategy, and I just did not have a name for it. Of course, knowing my tendency (Questioner) and learning more about myself every day helped me to incorporate that strategy.

Laura Vanderkam recommends establishing a daily “must win” and then win at it. She picked up this time management strategy from Ashley Whillans, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School. This strategy of focusing on a daily must win comes from her recently published book, Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time and Live a Happier Life. Basically, get clear on the task that MUST get done per day, commit to it, accomplish it, and win at it. This doesn’t mean that only one task will be completed on the scheduled day, but it does mean that scheduling a must do will help with getting more accomplished.

Imagine my delight while listening to this episode and discovering that by managing by task, I’m also managing my time and winning at it. This is exactly the approach that I have been taking each Sunday morning when I create my weekly schedule. Some days there is only one task/activity scheduled in the afternoon/evening because I know something will crop up. For example, two weeks in a row, my hubby stayed in Hammond and wanted me to come meet him for an early dinner. One afternoon, it was on a Tuesday when I had an improv hangout scheduled. Last week, it was on Wednesday when I have my weekly RCIA class. This feels like a double win when I can get more done than what I have scheduled for any given day. Believe me, dear reader, I am never without things I can do when my plans fall through or I find myself with extra time. I keep a running list of tasks, projects, or activities for when that free time presents itself. Also, extra time means more time to read or scrapbook if I choose to just relax instead.

Tips from Laura Vanderkam: Win at Your Daily Must Win

  • Manage by task and not time.
  • Create short to-do lists.
  • Identify immediate priority for the day.
  • Designate the day’s “must do” and commit to win it.

With immense pleasure, I have completed today’s “must win” by writing this blog post and publishing it for your enjoyment, dear reader. It is time for Andrew and I to visit one of my favorite places, Books-A-Million, where I hope to purchase a mocha latte and Stephen King’s newest publication Later. Enjoy the rest of your weekend which may be your daily “must win.” Happiness!

“Anyone can pack a schedule. I think it takes some real discipline and a sense of one’s value to say, ‘No, my time is valuable to me, and I am going to spend it on the highest-value activities that I have determined are important for me and the people I care about.’” ~ Laura Vanderkam

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Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

Today is the last day of February. Yes, you read that right, dear reader! Another month of the new year is quickly coming to an end, leaving me with one more month of the first quarter of this year to complete or continue working on goals chosen from my 21 for 2021 list. On the whole, I am delighted with my progress. Some tasks are one and done while others are monthly and yearly goals that are helping me develop better habits.

Scheduling my time has been an effective strategy for me to meet my goals. Each week, I get better at scheduling the tasks or activities that I want to engage in during my extra time. It boils down to making decisions on the best use of my time. In fact, just last week, I had to come to terms with not having enough time or energy to declutter and organize the rooms assigned for this quarter. I put that goal on the back burner until I can finish with a weekly commitment that will end at the Easter Vigil. Scheduling my time is becoming a good habit for me and helping me to become a better time manager. With that being said, I still encounter hiccups along the way, and when I do, I adjust my schedule. Some hiccups are out of my control, but some of them are self-inflicted. I experienced both this week. Regardless of the occasional hiccup, honoring the time on the schedule is important.

My first hiccup was not receiving my last musical from Netflix on Monday. Apparently, the post office is having some hiccups of their own. Anyway, I had scheduled Monday evening to watch it. When it did not arrive, I used that 133 minutes to read and take care of other personal tasks. The movie is still MIA which means I cannot complete my marathon until Tuesday when the copy I ordered from Amazon arrives. Therefore, instead of scrapbooking this Tuesday evening, I’ll be watching Across the Universe. Thankfully, Kelsi and I will have our chat about musicals this upcoming weekend, so I’ll have plenty of time to get it viewed and reviewed beforehand.

My second hiccup occurred yesterday. I had scheduled working on my blogging course from 6:30-8:30 in the morning. Creating an ABOUT page for my blog was my assignment. (Please click on ABOUT in the previous sentence, check it out, and give me some feedback. It can always be changed and updated at anytime.) Even though I already had this page on my blog, I needed to update it. It was almost 11:00 in the morning by the time I finished. I spent two and a half additional hours on my course than what I had allotted on my schedule. I had other items on my list that needed to be accomplished. They included grocery shopping, dusting, cleaning the master bathroom, laundry, cleaning the other bathroom (leftover chore from Thursday), and scrapbooking from 2:00-4:00 in the afternoon. Thankfully, my hubby got off early on Friday and took care of grocery shopping. I did complete my laundry and cleaning the master bathroom. Dusting did not happen. Scrapbooking did not take place. You guessed it, the other bathroom didn’t get cleaned either. And, while I am on the subject of cleaning that bathroom, I am removing it as a task for Thursdays because I have only accomplished it once since I started scheduling my time which was the very first week. It keeps getting pushed to the weekend, so that is where it will be scheduled in the future. Additionally, I spent a great deal of time researching my next movie marathon which will start tomorrow and run through the end of April (details are forthcoming). I basically fell down a rabbit hole researching movies and did not crawl out until later in the evening. Consequently, those two chores and scrapbooking have been added to today’s schedule.

I know you are probably thinking, dear reader, what’s the big deal? In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal. Be that it may, it IS a huge deal to me. While not receiving the musical was clearly out of my control, spending an additional two and half hours on my blogging course was definitely within my control. I could have easily honored the time on my schedule (work 6:30-8:30 a.m. on the blogging course), completed by chores, gone back to my blogging course until 2:00 p.m., spent two hours scrapbooking, and then fallen down the movie marathon rabbit hole. Honor the time on the schedule. Now that I have been schooled, it is time for me to schedule my upcoming week.

Two more weeks until Daylight Saving Time and currently experiencing warmer temps has gotten me super excited. More daylight in the evenings and warmer weather is a gamechanger for me. How about you? Enjoy the remainder of the weekend. Happiness!

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” ~ Maya Angelou

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Sunshiny Sunday Morning

Today is the last day of my vacation. Despite being gloomy and wintery for a good portion of my week off from work, it was pleasant being at home. The inclement weather easily swayed me to slow down and recharge. My hubby and I basically hibernated in front of the fireplace until Thursday. I scrapbooked one of the days, read a bunch every day, napped, and watched a couple of musicals.

The time off made me realize that I needed to adjust one of my goals (#6 Declutter and organize each room in my house.). The first quarter of the year is always difficult for me with lack of sunlight and colder temps. It makes me lethargic, and I generally shut down when it gets dark in the evening. I should have known better, especially with my weekly commitment with RCIA including a number of weekend commitments in March. Additionally, I was chosen to participate in Laura Vanderkam’s Tranquility by Tuesday Project which started on Wednesday. Both RCIA and Vanderkam’s project are worthwhile commitments that will end by mid-April. Therefore, decluttering and organizing each room in my house will be put on the back burner until that time. Of course, this does not mean that I cannot declutter if the mood strikes me. However, I’m giving myself permission to back off on that one goal temporarily. It’s purely a mental thing for me.

Only one week left in February, dear reader. Daylight Saving Time is three weeks away with the beginning of spring right on its heels. Hopefully, warmer weather will arrive soon. In the meantime, I will continue refining my habits, meeting my daily and monthly goals, and investing my time wisely. Happiness!

 “Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars, but remember to keep your feet on the ground.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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Reviewing schedule from the week of 24-30 January.

Overall, managing my time this past week was a huge success. Creating a schedule helped me maximize my time at home more effectively. For the most part, I completed everything that I set out to accomplish for the week. Therefore, the next step is to review the schedule, make revisions (what worked and what didn’t), and repeat the scheduling process for the upcoming week.


Instead of spending 19 hours on tasks or activities I wanted to engage in this week, I spent 25.5 hours. I ended up with an additional 7.75 hours than the week I tracked my time. How is this possible? Well, on Sunday (01/24), it took me 3 hours to write my blog post instead of 4.5 hours. I gained 2.5 hours because I did not travel to and from anywhere to run errands, go to the movies, or eat at a restaurant. In addition, I did not sleep as long over the weekend. I woke up at 4:45 a.m. on Sunday (01/24) and 4:50 a.m. on Saturday (01/30). Over the weekend that I tracked my time, I woke up at 6:40 a.m. on both mornings. This left me with 1.25 hours that were spent on other unscheduled tasks (paying bills, watering plants, putting away groceries, etc.), Trivia Crack, hanging out with family, or puttering around the house.

The only task that I failed to finish this week was decluttering my office. I decluttered for a total of 4 hours this week (3 hours on Sunday and 1 hour on Tuesday). I was unable to declutter on Wednesday afternoon because Andrew was using the office. I didn’t declutter yesterday because I used an extra hour to complete a scrapbook layout, and I used another hour to clean the hall bathroom that I was unable to clean on Thursday. With that being said, the office does look better than it did last Sunday.

I spent 8 hours on chores for the week. If I could not complete a housekeeping task, I moved it to another day. I didn’t get to vacuum/mop the master bedroom or bathroom on Monday because that time was used to pick up new glasses for Andrew and me. I lost 1/2 of an hour of scrapbooking on Tuesday evening because of cooking later than normal. I did add a second load of laundry on Wednesday. Since I arrived home a 1/2 hour later and had to clean up Sophie’s potty accident on Thursday, I did not have time to clean the hall bathroom (moved to Saturday). On Friday, I vacuumed all of the rooms, including the ones that were skipped on Monday. Barry, Sr. volunteered to grocery shop alone on Saturday which allowed me to clean both bathrooms, do laundry, and dust. Later that afternoon, Barry Sr. and I cooked a new recipe together which took 2 hours.

I devoted 4 additional hours to my blog (Thursday) and blogging course (Saturday), 6 hours watching television (mainly Sunday), and 30 extra minutes reading (Sunday and Monday). I also enjoyed two days scrapbooking (Tuesday and Saturday), attending RCIA (Wednesday), and eating dinner at Mrs. Billie’s house with my family (Friday).

Scrapbook layout for Andrew’s Ireland scrapbook


After reviewing this past week and looking at what worked and what didn’t work, it’s time to revise the weekly schedule. Honestly, there is not much to change for the upcoming week. Kelsi decided not to livestream on Twitch today since she and her family are celebrating her mom’s birthday, so that time was rescheduled to write out my Valentine’s Day cards. I kept my daily routine, the housekeeping schedule, my course/blogging/writing schedule, and my self-care schedule the same. However, instead of scrapbooking on Tuesday evening, I will attend a virtual Improv hangout with my group from Anubis Improv. This allows me to scrapbook twice a month and participate in Improv twice a month. Tomorrow is the first day of February and the first day of the Musical Movie Marathon that Kelsi and I will be participating in throughout the month of February. I have scheduled my first musical for tomorrow evening.

As for decluttering the office, I will work in there today if I have the time and energy. If not, I will chip away at it throughout the week. Andrew’s room is next on the decluttering list, so I’ve scheduled myself to finish the office no later than Saturday (02/06), so I can begin working on his room.

Weekly Schedule for 31 January – 06 February


It’s time to approach the new week again with a plan (schedule), a sufficient amount of sleep, and a positive attitude. When something works well, repeat the process. Hopefully, scheduling my time weekly will be a routine that helps me invest my time better so that I can spend it effectively on the tasks and activities that will allow me to live my best life. I must remember to be flexible when something unexpected happens because tasks or activities can be adjusted and assigned to another day. I must remember to be open to opportunities, especially with family and friends, because connection with those you love is super important.

It amazes me that today is the last day of January. I’m off to a terrific start with focusing on my goals for the year. I’m excited about the blogging course, having more time to write, watching musicals in February, and my forthcoming break in two weeks. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, dear reader. Happiness!

“What you choose to dedicate your time to matters, not just for you but for all those who are affected by the withholding or the deliverance of your unique gifts.” ~ Debbie Ford

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According to my time log for the week of 11 January, I have 19 extra hours to invest in worthwhile endeavors. How will I fill those extra hours? First, I made the decision to break up this year into quarters. Next, I looked at my 21 for 2021 list and chose seven items that I want to work on for the remainder of this quarter (January-March). 

  • #1 Manage time.
  • #4 Eat more vegetables.
  • #6 Declutter and organize each room in my house.
  • #8 One NO spend month.
  • #11 Read Atomic Habits by James Clear.
  • #14 Take a WordPress Blogging Course.
  • #20 Scrapbook at least two times per month.

As part of my goal to manage time, I created a few realistic schedules that include the four areas (health, home, happiness as it relates to my career, and hobbies) that I am focusing on this year. The schedules include a daily routine, a housekeeping schedule, a decluttering schedule, a course/blogging/writing schedule, and a self-care schedule.

My daily routine has already been established; however, I’ve incorporated my daily challenges for this year within my daily routine. Therefore, #Read21in21 will take place in the morning, Walk 20 for 2021 will take place in the afternoon/evening, and writing in my gratitude journal will take place in the evening as part of my evening routine. Ideally, I’d like to post my daily Instagram photo in the morning. 

My housekeeping schedule has me completing certain tasks on specific days. Like many people, I don’t want to spend my entire weekend cleaning my house. In addition to the tasks that have been scheduled, I will load/unload the dishwasher, clean/wipe down kitchen and bathroom counters, and straighten up daily. Of course, there is some flexibility with this schedule. We did laundry (sheets and clothes) yesterday since Barry went grocery shopping on Friday, so no laundry for me today which means more time in another area.

My decluttering schedule has been organized by the month according to what is planned in our lives at that time. My goal is to declutter and organize each room in my house. Therefore, I will focus on the office for the remainder of January. I have assigned today, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday of this week to complete this room.

February will include Andrew’s room which will take no time at all since he keeps his room pleasantly clean and organized. There are some items in his closet that need to be removed, minor paint touch ups that need to be done, and artwork to be hung. Our spare room has inadvertently become a room to store stuff. This was Andrew’s bedroom when Barry, Jr. lived at home. It still houses much of Andrew’s stuff, some of Barry, Jr.’s stuff, and general stuff that has not found a permanent home in the house. Thus, we are devoting February and March to the spare room. Both my hubby and I are off for a week in February, so we are clearing everything out in February, so that we can paint and install crown moulding in March. March will also include the bathroom and hall that connects Andrew’s room and the spare room. Ambitious, I agree, dear reader, but totally necessary.  

My course/blogging/writing schedule will focus on my blog which will include both Thursdays and Sundays to write, edit, revise, and publish posts. Saturdays from 6:30-8:30 in the morning is when I have scheduled time to work on the WordPress Blogging course that I registered for back in December. I may also use Thursdays to work on the course if I am not working on anything specific for my blog. Even though I have been blogging for 10 years, I want to learn more about blogging and try to take my blog to the next level. 

Right now, my self-care schedule mainly includes getting enough sleep, writing in my gratitude journal, praying, and including time for my hobbies (reading and scrapbooking). I have scrapbooking time scheduled for Tuesday and Saturday of this week. My goal is to alternate scrapbooking with my improv hangouts on Tuesday evenings. Since, there is only one more Tuesday left in January, I’ve added Saturday to scrapbook, so I can meet my goal of scrapbooking twice per month. 

Of course, my schedule is also comprised of weekly commitments. I watch Kelsi’s livestream on Twitch on Sunday afternoons (2pm) and Thursday evenings (8pm). I attend RCIA meetings on Wednesday evenings with Mr. Mike (Shelly’s stepdad) who I am sponsoring to become Catholic at the Easter Vigil in April. My family and I have dinner with Mrs. Billie, my mother-in-law, every Friday. Now on Tuesday evenings, I will either be improvising or scrapbooking. In addition to the items or activities I have scheduled, I do write a daily to-do list to take care of tasks that need to be completed day-to-day, such as paying bills, errands, filling out forms, etc. 

I’m super excited about everything I have scheduled for this week, dear reader. So excited that I woke up at 4:45 this morning and got started right away on this blog post. I love having a plan, and I love accomplishing my goals even more. Everything I want to do this year is laying the groundwork to be my best self which I can accomplish by making the time to focus on the four areas that I have chosen with intention for this year. Naturally, unexpected situations will crop up, opportunities will present themselves, and movie marathons with Kelsi are inevitable; howbeit, schedules can be adjusted to accommodate the unanticipated or serendipitous. Happiness!

Puar helping me with my weekly schedule.

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”                  ~ Bruce Lee

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