Learn how to do a schedule audit to evaluate your daily routines and find more time in your day by prioritizing and reorganizing tasks.
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There are only 168 hours in a week. If you feel like you need more, you’re not alone.
One thing that can be really helpful is to do a schedule audit. Spending time writing down what you do each day for a week will help you find out where you might be wasting time. This will help you cut back on the unimportant things to make time for what matters most.
Do you feel worn down? Are you always busy, but never seem to get enough done? Is your to-do list getting longer instead of shorter… or maybe you have so much going on that you don’t have time to write that list down?
It’s time for a schedule audit.
A schedule audit might sound scary, but it’s really kind of fun. Or maybe I’m just such an organizing nerd that I enjoy planning about planning. Basically, you’re going to figure out where your time goes so you can reclaim it. The end result is that you’ll feel like you have more time, but also less to do.
Where does my time go?
A few months ago, I was talking to another blogger about finding more time to actually write blog posts. Somehow most of my “blog work” time is social media, editing photos, and writing down ideas that I’ll never get to. She suggested I look at how I spend my time and eliminate the things I was doing that took up a lot of time but didn’t really benefit me that much.
One Mama’s Daily Drama gets little traffic from Twitter, so I quit posting there so often. Facebook and Instagram bring a little traffic, so I created a specific time to work on those platforms. And I worked really hard on setting up a routine for Pinterest.
The extra time I wasn’t wasting scrolling through four different kinds of social media was instantly helpful. Since then I have done a schedule audit every time some part of my routine changes to make sure I’m taking advantage of it.
Schedule audit: track your time
Even if you think you know where you spend most of your time, I encourage you to track your time. You might be surprised to find out how much time you’re wasting!
Start by writing down your weekly schedule. I actually prefer to use a spreadsheet for this so that I can highlight the blocks by category. You can do it all with a pencil and paper, though.
And if your routine is pretty much the same each day, you might want to grab my printable daily routine planner.
For my last audit, my categories were:
- work outside the house
- family time
- time on my phone/watching tv
Write down the things you know are fixed, like the hours you spend at a job, driving to work or school, etc. Then add anything you do regularly. (For example, I balance my bank account and pay bills at the same time every Friday.)
The rest of your time is your “free” time. For a week, write down what you do in that time each day. You don’t have to be precise down to the minute, but make sure you give yourself a good idea of where your time is going.
For reference, here are two previous schedule audits that I’ve done.
The main difference between A and B is the number of hours spent at my outside job. When I suddenly had more hours to work on blogging, I did an audit to see where I could be spending my newfound time.
The second difference is that I made time to run errands and do other irregular tasks. I was doing those things before, but doing them over my other scheduled times. That meant that when I spent an hour taking the dog to the vet, that time had already been planner for something else. It completely threw off my routine on those weeks.
Schedule audit: cut out the extras
Once you know how you spend your time, you can decide what you should quit doing. And that’s totally up to you.
If you’re looking for a surprisingly easy way to cut back on technology, turn off notifications on your phone. It’s such a simple idea, but I turned off notifications quite a while ago. It took some getting used to, but now I don’t really have that fear of missing out.
If there isn’t anything you think you can cut out, read my post on time management tips.
Once you have your new routine in place, you’re going to feel pretty awesome and productive for a few weeks. Slowly, you’ll probably go back to some of your old habits. New things will come up as the seasons change – summer break to the school year, holiday season, vacation, times that are just busier.
Every time you feel like you’ve gotten into a rut, doing another schedule audit is a good idea.
Check out these other fun and creative ideas on One Mama’s Daily Drama: