As I sit here typing this latest article, my windows are open and my house is full of the smell of fresh air, thanks to an unseasonably warm February day.
The springlike weather has me ready for the busy season that inevitably awaits my family and me — both of my boys are busy with school and sports, and both my husband and I get busy with volunteer and work obligations.
It is a flurry of activity to be sure but somehow, we survive each year, thanks in part to some scheduling strategies I have added through the years.
Whether you are single or managing a busy family, working or retired, here are some scheduling strategies to make your life a sweeter and of course, a simpler one.
The idea is not to have a schedule free of commitments but to have a fulfilling life where you have time for what you love and what really matters most to you and your family!
I know the notion of developing a schedule sounds contradictory to a simple life but typically having a schedule in place will actually prevent you from over scheduling your life.
Before you commit to any new activity, obligation or appointment, you need to know what you have already committed to, right?
It isn’t all that different from setting a budget — who goes shopping without knowing what their budget is?
Whether you are a busy working mom, a single professional looking to make the most of your personal and professional time or a retiree hoping to enjoy the fruits of retirement, having a schedule in place will actually make day to day activities much more relaxing!
Other than the things that you know you have to do — work and school in particular — you only schedule those things that give you joy or fulfillment.
I like to start with my big picture calendar — making note of major events, holidays and special occasions that I know will impact my life through the year — I try to do this each New Year, but you can start one today — better late than never, right?
From there, narrow it down to seasons and mark the things that you get enjoyment out of each season — whether it is afternoon trips to your local park or a few visits to watch your favorite baseball team play — give those moments a tentative space on your calendar so in the hustle and bustle of every day life you don’t run out of time and space in your life to do them.
Add in those obligatory doctor and dentist appointments and you suddenly have a nice glimpse of your year, month and days ahead. And of course, do not forget to schedule your down time activities too!
Anyone who knows me, knows that Saturday mornings from 8-9 a.m., you can find me on my couch, coffee in hand, blanket in lap, enjoying some “me” time with my latest Netflix binge show.
Knowing what your plans are will actually help you balance your time better — try it for the next few months and see how much easier life can be.
It makes it a lot easier to say “no” to those things that we inevitably say “yes” to — and then later regret committing our time and energy to!
If you know that you signed your son up for 12 weeks of lacrosse every Saturday, that new fitness class that begins at the same time should be delayed until you have the time to commit to it.
While you are putting dates on the calendar, start thinking about your daily schedule.
Have you ever noticed how school children thrive in the classroom with a well-followed schedule?
Recess at 10, lunch at 11, math at 1, dismissal at 3:30?
Schools run like clockwork — by design and necessity — by doing certain things at the same time each day, week or month adds a nice layer of simplicity to your day because you become conditioned to do those things at that time.
The same goes for the most successful offices and employees.
Even some of the most relaxed retirees I know have a set schedule for their tee times, salon appointments, volunteer meetings and grandchild visits!
If you begin seeing your day in a set schedule — and making note of the areas that are unscheduled, you understand what time you have to spare for other things!
Setting up a daily and weekly schedule can be as simple as setting routines for morning, afternoon and bedtime and having a consistent schedule for when you will wake up, eat meals and turn in for the night.
These routines are particularly important for families with children at home but can help families of all types to develop consistent routines.
When trying to get your children on a schedule, remember to work backwards in terms of time.
For example, if your goal is to get your kids in bed by 8:30 p.m., make a list of all the things that need to happen for them to be in bed.
Dinner, baths, chores, story time should all be budgeted for and knowing how long these take — and beginning the process at 7 p.m., instead of 8:26 each night, will make the notion of these everyday events far less stressful!
So, regardless of how much of a homebody I am, I find that my children’s social lives keep me busy, pretty much throughout the year.
When you combine that with two working parents, several jobs, kid activities and sleepovers, you have a very busy family.
To make sure we have everything covered, I can choose to call in some reinforcements in the name of an app I have saved on my phone and tablet.
There are several good family scheduling apps out there — Cozi ( and Hub (, for instance — that can let you share calendars, to-do lists and chores to keep everyone in sync and organized.
Parents who live in different households can try the Two Happy Homes app ( to manage kid schedules and contacts more easily.
If you are looking for a simple calendar without all the integration, Google calendar is about as good as it gets — and you can still share calendars with other family members to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Getting help with these apps — and your trusty schedule — helps prevent you from saying yes to the church potluck when your husband has already bought tickets to the Orioles game that day!
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)