Creating a Daily Schedule


“A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days,” wrote novelist Annie Dillard.

I love this image~ a net for catching our days. Because if we’re not careful, those slippery little suckers will swim right by while meaningless distractions splash all around us.

What’s exciting is that as we enter and exit seasons of our lives, we get to create new routines based on our changing circumstances and desires. No matter what stage of life we’re in, following a carefully-crafted daily schedule helps us meet the responsibilities we have to ourselves and others.

A personal daily schedule isn’t just a matter of making random to-do lists on post-it notes. It’s a daring act of soul-searching that requires us to make tough choices about our values and passions. As Dillard cautions, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

While a daily routine must include seemingly mundane tasks, we can turn them into comforting rituals performed with great love and purpose. Dedicated parents go to tedious jobs every day in order to provide for their children. My friend prays for each family member as she folds their laundry. I listen to classical music while cleaning the house, inspired to show gratitude for our home.

Our schedule should also include time to pursue our personal interests and dreams. Our time is finite. If we squander it doing things that hold no particular joy, we miss the chance to do what we love. You’re not obliged to go to bunko just because your cousin’s neighbor invited you~ unless you love bunko! We have to carefully guard our time and be aware of activities (and even people) who don’t bring us closer to how we choose to live out our days.

Here’s one way to create a personal daily schedule~

  1. Take a large piece of paper and chart out the 24-hours available in each of the seven days of the week. Mark off at least eight hours for sleeping. If you are employed, mark off that time, too.
  2. Fill in the things that you are responsible for in your personal life on a daily or weekly basis. This may include washing the clothes, the baby, the car, the dishes, the dog, the kitchen floor, and your hair. It may be overwhelming, but put it all on the schedule so you can face the truth about your commitments.
  3. In the space remaining, fill in your days with things, however simple, that make your heart sing…playing the guitar, taking a bubble bath, going to church, golfing, reading mysteries, or volunteering at the hospital. No room left on the schedule? Hmm, what does that tell you?
  4. Now, time for some soul-searching, or in the words of Tim Gunn, “Make it work!”

We have to ask ourselves some tough questions. Am I being a good steward of the hours in my day? Am I meeting my daily responsibilities? What can I delegate? Could I pay someone to do something? Am I wasting time? Are there things I could stop doing? Am I doing things that bring me joy? Does my daily routine reflect my loves?

When you cast out your net each day, what are you hoping to reel back in? Please tell us how you approach your daily routine. Let’s have a conversation about making the most of each of our days.

“The problem, when you cast your net too wide, is you inevitably catch something you don’t want to catch.”  Edward Felton

(Watercolor by Otto Trott~ Old Man Casting a Net)

Think On These Things~ Alicia




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