If your personality lends itself to having everything laid out and in its place, you probably thrive on having a good, solid schedule. Even if the day doesn’t go according to plan (which might happen more often than not!), you have a solid plan to fall back on, helping you get back in the game.
And that’s good! Except when it’s not. If we find that the plan is failing on a regular basis, it might be because we have overscheduled. That leads to stress on ourselves, our families, and our relationships, causing the benefits of planning to backfire on us.
How to Minimize Overscheduling
The key to avoiding this stress is to minimize overscheduling from the beginning, while you’re building your schedule. You can still have everything laid out and in its place. You can still enjoying knowing that there is a plan to fall back on, no matter what the day brings. But you can also be confident that you’re not overstretching yourself and your family.
Fortunately, it’s really not hard to give your schedule the wiggle room it needs to handle the ebb and flow of life.
Here are five suggestions to help you evaluate your schedule and minimize overscheduling.
Minimize Overscheduling by Including Flexibility
It can be easy to either underestimate the amount of time it takes to accomplish something or put activities back to back with no space.
As you look at your schedule, add extra time to every single activity. An hour for errands. Fifteen to twenty minutes for each subject in the school day. Thirty minutes for the bedtime routine. (You never know when those extra snuggles might be a necessity!) Even if it means cutting out a few activities, go ahead and plan for flexibility.
Not only does this minimize overscheduling, but it also automatically provides space for an extra ice cream cone stop, a play date in the park, or an unexpected quick visit from grandparents.
Minimize Overscheduling by Scheduling Self Care
There is much debate over the term “self care,” but really this is not about curling up on the couch and eating bon bons. This is about putting on your oxygen mask first so you can make sure to then take care of your children. It’s about health.
Because it feels selfish, it can be difficult for a planning-oriented mom to take the time for self care. So, put it on the schedule. By doing so, you are giving yourself permission to make sure you stay healthy and able to meet the needs of your family.
Minimize Overscheduling by Allowing Free Days
Yes, my scheduled friend, these are days when nothing is planned. Build a list of suggested activities that your family can choose from that day. But, allow these days to be completely flexible and free of schedule. If possible, do this at least once a month.
Minimize Overscheduling by Revisiting & Adjusting
Life has a way of turning even the best laid plans upside down. This can bring huge discouragement to someone with your structured planner personality, but you can combat that by considering every new schedule to be a beta run!
Spend the first week running the new schedule, making notes along the way. Keep revisiting and tweaking your schedule until it works smoothly.
Also remember that every schedule has an expiration date. What worked in the fall might not work in the spring. And summer can be a whole different adventure! What worked to minimize overscheduling in one season might not be applicable in the next. So, every few months, revisit the schedule again, making sure it’s still working, adjusting as needed.
Remember, You’re Not a Failure…
You’ve probably experienced the feeling of failure that descends when the schedule doesn’t work or when life knocks you off the plan. But, you have not failed! The schedule is your tool, a resource to help you manage life well. You control your schedule — your schedule should not control you.
So, take a deep breath, remember that a schedule is a good thing when used well, and let your schedule serve you. You won’t regret it, and you just might find you love your schedule even more!
Not sure what kind of planner you are? Take our Planner Personality Quiz to find out!