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Productivity

The Truth About Paper Planners, Time Blocking, And Daily Routines

A paper planner showing time blocks and daily routines of a work from home mom

October 7, 2022

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The backbone of my Home Management System is a set of three productivity tools that hold all the information and steps I follow in staying on top of running my house and my business. I get asked a lot of questions about these things: how are they similar? How are they different? How do they all fit together? So, let’s get back to the basics by sticking to your routine with paper planners! 

It’s all about keeping it simple and not overthinking it.

Listen to the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast

3 productivity tools for your systems

Step One – A Paper Planner

Paper planners are a great way to set up time blocks and routines. Keep the information in your paper planner very specific so that you are capturing the outline of your time blocks, fundamental needs, and daily routines. Set this up on Sunday and follow it all week long.

Keep your time-stamped appointments in your electronic calendar instead of filling up your paper planner with a ton of handwritten details. You shouldn’t have to work hard to pull out the important details you need to be productive. I truly believe that a hybrid system is a way to your most productive self.

A paper planner should be super simple with a good amount of open space that allows you can customize it to your needs. Horacio Printing is the paper planner I recommend. It is the planner I personally use (as well as their SOAP Notes Bible study). You can use this link for $10 off at checkout of any product they offer. *This link is an affiliate link that does provide a small commission.

But how exactly do you plan your day?

Step Two – Time Blocking

Time blocking is a system that allows you to batch similar tasks or steps of a process together to maximize efficiency.
 
To find your time blocks start simple and identify your responsibility buckets with all the major activities and roles you have in your life like your marriage, home, children, and job (to name a few). Ask yourself what you need time for in your life and make sure you have a block of time dedicated to those things. What, if any of them, can be consolidated together to make the best use of your time?

Then establish your blocks based on what responsibility buckets can run at the same time, which ones absolutely have to be at separate times, and which ones have to be in the evening versus the morning and vice-versa. Then piece them together in a way that makes sense to you: where they need to fit and how long they need to be for your family.
 
I use a five-block system that includes:
  • Morning Routine Block which holds my morning routine upon waking
  • AM Block which holds my family’s routine in getting ready and getting out the door.
  • Midday Block which usually holds my time to work, exercise, run errands, and see to other to-dos for our home and family.
  • PM Block, where my kids are home from school and we are doing all the things before bedtime.
  • Nighttime Routine Block which is the time I get to myself or with my husband after the kids are in bed.

Once you have your time blocks and know what you need to do in each of them, BE CONSISTENT with your daily routine!

“One thing I have come to find as a work-from-home mom is that there is literally no way, no way, that I could succeed as I am without my paper planner, without my time blocking, and without my daily routines.”

Step three – daily routines

Within my blocks I have my routines, that is the things I do in the same order in that block each and every day. Each block has a routine for everyone in the family during that block, and everyone knows what they have to do and when.
 
If you don’t currently have routines dialed in here are a few ways to create a new routine:
  • Write down what you are already doing that is working well and make it a routine in one of your time blocks.
  • Build new routines by starting with your biggest problem area: Look at the one time of the day that isn’t working for you. Then create a simple set of tasks that you think could help it to go smoother. Write it down and put it into action the very next day.
  • If something really clicks with the whole family and alleviates the problem make it part of the routine. If it’s not working, try the next idea on your list and keep going until you find the right routine.
  • Once you find what works communicate your routines with the entire family and…BE CONSISTENT.

Frequently Asked Questions

I'm a stay at home mom and want to earn extra money, but I feel like I don't have time.

You need systems! Use my free time blocking workbook to learn how to schedule your day the right way. Also, my Systemize Your Life Academy will take you from overwhelmed to confident in just four weeks. I’ll teach you how you can take your time and make it work for you and help you gain control over your home!

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