How to Build a Schedule that is Right for You

There is no such thing as the perfect universal schedule. Just because Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk wake up at 5 am, doesn't mean you need to. There are tons of variables as well as preference that affect people’s day to day life. You need to understand yourself, how you best work, and what keeps you feeling good to determine the best schedule. Here are some important questions to ask yourself to help build a schedule...

  1. 1. First, how many hours of sleep do you need to feel your best?

    For the average adult this can range from about 7-9 hours, but if you need more or less that is fine just be aware of what works. I typically sleep 7 hours a night (usually a coffee or two involved) to keep myself awake and functioning throughout my day.

  2. 2. Second, what are your biggest priorities?

    In order, my number one priority is my schoolwork, second is the gym, third is cooking, fourth is my alone time, and lastly my creativity. These are the building blocks to your schedule and will be important when life happens. You may not be able to stick perfectly to your schedule, but you need to understand your priorities in order to be flexible when necessary. Your priorities should both reflect your goals and your passions.

  3. 3. Third, when, where and why?

    Using our priorities, we can ask when, where, and why to figure out the schedule.

    My number one priority is my schoolwork, as is for most college students. I spend around 6-7 hours a day (depending on my week this can change) on campus studying. I know I work best when on campus. My favorite place is the WALC reading room. I cannot focus and do my schoolwork in my house. I also know I am most focused and energetic early in the day and I like not having to do work after I eat dinner. My second priority is the gym. I am a morning gym person. I spend around two hours at the gym, and I want that to be the first thing I do in the morning to start my day. My third priority is cooking. I love cooking and it is important I have time to cook a meal at home, both to save money and help me to destress. I take 20-40 minutes to cook and eat three times a day. Finally, my alone time. I love quiet mornings and evenings, and this is often hard to get with so many roommates, so I have found waking up early allows me to enjoy time alone and start my day so I may have my evenings to relax. After dinner, assuming I finish everything, I can relax in my room, write, paint, watch tv and destress alone.  

  4. 4. Fourth, Build

    Now taking all that you have answered above, what is right for you and your priorities? I am not going to tell you to wake up before the sun or to stay up until 5. These are up to you to decide. But once you find a schedule that allows you to be most successful than it will not be taxing. A schedule should be sustainable. You may have to push yourself to break old habits to be more focused on certain parts of your life, but with time they should come naturally.

Finally, and most importantly, I tend to forget this, but don’t lock yourself down too hard. Flexibility is a wonderful ability and one that allows us the opportunity to experience different things. Schedules give us structure and keep us on track to achieve certain goals, but do not limit yourself too much. I decompress alone 90% of the time, but on Saturday I enjoy being with friends, not following any schedule, and just doing what is in front of me. Life is all about balance.