Master Schedules

Well, those drifter’s days are past me now,

I’ve got so much more to think about:

Deadlines and commitments,

What to leave in, what to leave out.

-Bob Seger

That lyric is for my mom, but it perfectly sums up time management as a new mother.  That’s probably not the situation for which Bob Seger intended it, but it works, and I’ll use any chance I get to throw out some good lyrics.

Alright, down to business.  One of the best time management tricks I’ve learned is that keeping a to-do list is not enough, you need to schedule a time for everything, or it will just stay on the list.  People frequently ask me how I juggle a full-time job, two part-time jobs, taking care of two kids, and all my hobbies.  I have an easy answer: planning and scheduling.  Actually, I have a lot more free time than most people I know.  I’ve also learned that structure is freedom – rather than being a slave to my schedule, I feel in control of all my responsibilities, and my free time is truly free time.

The other important aspect of time management is to practice minimalism.  If you choose to spend time on something, it should meet one of these three qualifications: 1) it is something you need to do, (2) it is something you love to do, or (3) it makes your life significantly easier.  It’s better to completely devote yourself to a few significant tasks instead of taking on multiple responsibilities that aren’t that important to you.  As you make your master schedules, try to decide if it meets one of the three qualifications, and if it doesn’t, it’s time to let it go.

Because the frequency of your responsibilities completely varies, it’s easiest to create four master schedules: daily, weekly, monthly, and annual.  Daily schedules are especially helpful for children and for times during which there’s a change in your routine, such as different work hours or a new baby.  They may not be needed for everyone.  These master schedules should only keep track of routine occurrences; non-routine events should go on your Family Calendar or Personal Calendar.  Here are a description and example of each type of schedule:

Daily Schedule

The daily schedule can be kept in the Family Notebook or posted somewhere that you’ll see daily.  A trick with the daily schedule is to do as much as you possibly can to prepare for the next day.  Here are some ideas of what you can include on the daily schedule:

  • Beauty/Hygiene: showers, preparing for work, preparing for bed
  • Pack: anything needed for school or childcare the next day, lunches, anything needed for the next day’s errands
  • Food: do as much as possible for breakfast the next day, thaw meat for dinner the next day
  • Plan: lay out clothes for the next day for all family members, put cleaning supplies where you will need them for the next day
  • Reward Chart:
  • Clean up clutter around the house
  • Wipe down kitchen table and kitchen counters
  • Dishes

Weekly Schedule

The most organized people I know plan almost everything they can on a weekly basis.  This includes outfits for all family members for each day of the week and hairstyles for each day; however, this can also be done each night.  Here are the tasks that should be scheduled each week:

  • Planning errands including the library, post office, and bank: I run errands the same day each week, but you still will need to plan what you need to do at each place
  • Determining which gifts and cards you need to purchase and send that week
  • Chores: Laundry, lawn care, auto care, send cards and gifts for the week, take out the trash
  • Exercise routine: workout videos, gym, outside exercises, in-home exercises
  • Beauty/hygiene: shaving, nails, hair, and skin treatments
  • Cleaning and decluttering: bedrooms, bathrooms, floors, dusting, decluttering, refrigerator and small appliances, automobile
  • Parents’ Activities: clubs, meetings, hobbies, volunteering
  • Children’s Activities: clubs, sports, school, playgroups
  • Miscellaneous

Monthly Schedule

Most people have responsibilities that need to be done one to three times per month  – enter the monthly schedule.  On this list below you’ll see some inclusions that are also on the weekly schedule – this is because some tasks (such as certain cleaning, errands, and activities) are not done weekly, and thus, do not belong on the weekly schedule.  Here are some ideas of what to include on your monthly schedule:

  • Beauty/hygiene: waxing, manicures, pedicures, massage or chiropractic visits
  • Date nights
  • Activities with the kids: Mommy/Daughter day, Daddy/Daughter day, Mommy/Son day, Daddy/Son day
  • Events and social gatherings
  • Auto care
  • Deep cleaning and decluttering: clean out the garage, clean oven, blinds and fans, windows, curtains, clean inside cupboards
  • Planning: look over your schedules, finances, goals, and events for the upcoming months
  • Miscellaneous: pay bills, donate unneeded items, shopping for clothes and household items
  • Parents’ Activities: clubs, meetings, hobbies, volunteering
  • Children’s Activities: clubs, sports, school play groups

Annual Schedule

The annual schedule is my favorite because I like to look at the big picture of everything I have going on.  I add an extra row on my annual schedule for my challenge for that month.  To see what I mean, check out the “My Annual Schedule” below.  Please note that the list of annual tasks should include any tasks that are done less than once per month, and at least once per year; many should be done quarterly.  Here are some ideas of what to include on your annual schedule:

  • Events: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, events, traditions
  • Auto care: oil changes, tire rotations, deep cleaning
  • Health: physicals and check-ups, dental exams
  • Home maintenance: check smoke alarm batteries, change the furnace and air conditioning filters
  • Miscellaneous: clean jewelry, shine the silver and China
  • Lawn: plant garden, blow out sprinklers, aerate the lawn, fertilize
  • Review finances: assess budget, insurance plans, and retirement plans
  • Evaluate self and family: set and review goals


These calendars are saved in Office format so that you can tailor them to what works best for you.  If you do not have Microsoft Office, just e-mail me ( and I’ll send you a pdf format.  Be sure to keep your schedules in your Family Notebook, but if you’d like to display them as well, there are some fun ideas of ways to do this below the printables.

Daily Schedule Blank Template: Daily Doings

Weekly Schedule Blank Template: Weekly Template

My Weekly Schedule (for an example): Weekly Schedule Example

Monthly Schedule Blank Template: Monthly Blank Template

My Monthly Schedule (for an example): Monthly Schedule Example

Annual Schedule Blank Template: Annual Template

My Annual Schedule (for an example): Annual Schedule Example

Display Your Schedules:

I like to use these display ideas for my non-routine events (tasks and events that I know about in advance, but do not happen in a recurring pattern).  They are also great to use for your master schedules if you’d like!

Creative daily routine display:

Cute picture frame weekly schedule:

Weekly Schedule Chalkboard Magnets:

Monthly Schedule Chalkboard Wall Decal: