Caregiving Routines

Conquer Today! Three Essential Tools for Productive Days

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Do you find yourself struggling to get through each day? Learn how to use three essential tools for your most productive days yet!

One of my biggest struggles as a sandwiched homemaker has been trying to balance everyone’s schedules and routines. My children and my MIL thrive best when we stick to a routine but with all the doctor appointments, therapies, friendships, and general errands, I found myself drowning in unpredictability.

Finally, I found a system that WORKS! All you need are three essential tools:

  1. Your favorite calendar
  2. Your favorite task management app
  3. Conquer Today! Daily Planning Sheet

This system is fast, easy, customizable to your specific needs, and very adjustable.

Do you find yourself struggling to get through each day? Learn how to use three essential tools for your most productive days yet!

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Benefits of Scheduling

Scheduling your days for productivity goes far beyond appointments. It’s about finding the right time of day to complete tasks. You are more inclined to make time for others. It insures that you take care of yourself. I’m a type-A personality so scheduling is a MUST for me. For those of you who believe scheduling your days to be restrictive, let me assure you the benefits are numerous. My three favorite scheduling benefits:

  • It helps you focus your time allowing for optimal productivity.
  • Being productive helps you sleep. You’re burning energy getting things done AND your mind is allowed to truly rest because everything is written down.
  • It improves your relationships. With your tasks scheduled, you will waste less time. Naturally, this results in more time with those you care about.

Favorite Calendar

I use Google Calendar. Each family member and area of my life (menu, home routines) has a different calendar. Each calendar is assigned a color.

On my calendar, I keep appointments and those projects I might be putting off for another day.

Related Post: Take My To-Do List and Let It Be

In the past I’ve used a paper planner for my calendar. I find them bulky and difficult to carry with me. An app was the best choice because I’m rarely without my phone.

Benefits of Using An App

  • I can share events with my husband, our care aid (for my MIL), babysitters, and extended family as needed
  • It’s always with me so appointments don’t get forgotten.
  • I can set reminders for appointments I’ve had to make way in advance
  • Multiple calendars and sorting options
  • Easily move and reschedule appointments (for the perfectionists, like me, out there)

Your Favorite Task Manager

For my tasks and checklists, I use the app Things 3. There are several others that would work just as well. Every day, I breakdown the tasks that I must do today, would like to do, should do, and what other’s need me to do. I set my top three goals for the day and break them down into small tasks. Finally, I break those tasks into Focus Blocks (breaking up your day into six 2-3 hour blocks of time) to give me a general idea of what time I’d like to accomplish my tasks.

Related Post: An Organized Daily Routine

What To Look for In A Task Manager App

  • The ability to break down projects into small tasks
    ex. Project: Weekly Home Blessing, Tasks: Clean toilets, Vacuum, Mop, etc.
  • The ability to schedule your tasks and add reminders
  • Categories and tags so you can filter your tasks
  • Recurring option that allows you to setup daily, weekly, and monthly tasks

**While the temptation to use a combination calendar/task app is strong, I find they get easily cluttered and confusing. Keeping them separate makes it easy to find appointments and complete tasks.

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The Conquer Today Daily Planning Sheet

The final step to my planning process is to take everything off my calendar and task management app and put it on one daily planning sheet. I use it in my Noteshelf 2 app on my tablet but it also works great printed out.

Benefits of Using The Conquer Today! Daily Planning Sheet

  • Writing something multiple times helps you remember it
  • You will see your day broken down on one, easy to read page
  • It helps keep you focused and motivated

Free Printable Conquer Today! Daily Planning Sheet

Productive Days

By using the right tools in the right way and you will find your days becoming more productive. Your stress will be reduced with some simple planning. You will become more accountable and dependable. Forgotten appointments and tasks will be a thing of the past. Most importantly, remember to hold your schedules loosely and focus on what is most important in your life.

BONUS: Top 10 Tips for Productive Days

  • When planning an appointment, also plan for the time it takes to get read for that appointment (everyone dressed and out the door), travel time, and a 15 minute buffer.
    ex. I know it takes me 1 hour to get everyone (including myself) out the door and 45 minutes to get to most of my destinations. For a 9:00am appointment, I start preparations at 7:00am.
  • Spend 10 minutes each evening planning tomorrow. Write out your task list, check your calendar, and review your day.
  • Get as prepared for tomorrow as you can. Lay out clothes, pack bags, get lunches prepared. This will keep you from drowning in the chaos of the morning.
  • Batch your daily tasks as much as possible. If I’m reheating my coffee (30 seconds) I’ll put a few dishes away. After I fix my hair, I wipe down the bathroom. If I have a doctor’s appointment scheduled, I’ll run a few errands while I’m out.Related Post: Moments of Rest
  • Instead of scheduling every waking minute, schedule focus blocks. This will keep the inevitable interruptions from upsetting your entire day.
    • Focus Block One | 6:30-9:00
    • Focus Block Two | 9:00-12:00
    • Focus Block Three | 12:00-2:00
    • Focus Block Four | 2:00-5:00
    • Focus Block Five | 5:00-8:00
    • Focus Block Six | 8:00-11:00
  • Schedule your time to check email, social media, and messages. This will keep you from wasting precious minutes and give you a reward for your hard work.
  • Don’t over-schedule your tasks. Stay focused on your top three goals for your day and the tasks needed to conquer them.
  • Write everything down. If you think you will need to remember it later, write it down. If you had a great idea in the shower, jot it down after you dry off. I carry my phone or tablet everywhere and keep all my “brain dumps” on a Trello board.
  • Check your lists often and don’t be afraid to move things around. If I find that I don’t have the time to bake bread today like I thought I would, I move it to my master task list so I can reschedule it for another day.
  • Assign themes for your days. Have a set errand day, a cleaning day, a day for planning your next week. This will help you focus your task list for those days.

Did you like this post? What are some ways you stay productive in your everyday life? Let me know in the comments below!

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