How to Chunk Your Schedule to Have More Peace

How to chunk your schedule to have more peace and balance in your life.

What is schedule chunking?

Schedule chunking, or time chunking, is when you dedicate certain times of day, or days of the week to certain types of activities.  Just like the old ‘Wash on Monday, Iron on Tuesday…’ adage, you can have your own schedule of activities. 

Why do schedule chunking?

Routine makes life easier 

Way back in elementary school life was simple.  You knew what to expect when – Math in the morning, Gym on Tuesdays and Art on Thursdays.  Do you know what you are going to do next in your day?  Or are you haphazardly moving from one task to the next?

Having a routine removes decisions.  If you already know what you are supposed to do next, you don’t have to decide.  That not only saves time but it also saves brain power.  Removing decisions reduces stress.

Chunking fosters batch processing

I’m sure you know that making a batch of cookies all at once is faster than making just one cookie every hour all day long.  We tend to do lots of physical activities as batches, such as laundry or cleaning.  Doing things in batches is more efficient.  

What often is overlooked for batching are thinking tasks.  We love to multitask, even though it’s been shown that multitasking actually wastes time

Some thinking tasks that could be batched:

  • Answer all emails once a day
  • Answer all texts once a day
  • Plan your week’s or month’s meals in one sitting
  • Plan out all the holiday shopping in one sitting

What thinking tasks do you do that could be batched and done in a schedule chunk?

Manages energy levels.

Some tasks in life just take more energy to do.  Whether it’s the physical energy of cleaning out the garage or the mental energy of writing a condolence letter.  It’s important that we use our energy wisely.  If you don’t know when you have the most energy during the day, check out my post here for tips.

Using schedule chunking makes it easy to manage your energy levels.  You can group all your high energy activities and schedule them for your high energy times.  You can also group your low energy tasks and schedule them so that when you have no energy you don’t have to think about what you are going to do!

Reduces Anxiety

Schedule chunking can reduce anxiety.  If you know that something has a time to be done on your schedule you can stop worrying about when you are going to do it, or whether it will get done.   I don’t have to think about my bills until Friday afternoon because I know I have time in my schedule to both pay them and to check on my finances.

Batching some tasks in a scheduled chunk can remove stressful interruptions.  If you have dedicated time to check email twice a day you can silence your phone guilt free.  Eliminating notifications can bring more peace than you could ever anticipate – trust me.

Makes your time more intentional

We all sometimes wonder where our time goes.  If you have chunked your schedule you know exactly where your time has gone.  In addition, you can see at the start of the day or week how much time you are spending in each area of your life.  If it looks lopsided, you can make changes to your plans before you actually spend your precious time.

I find schedule chunking also makes me aware of the time I need just to make the mundane tasks of life happen.  This helps me appreciate that those mundane tasks are necessary.  

How to chunk your schedule

Group tasks

When making your to do list, try to categorize by the type of activity it is, how much mental or physical energy it takes and whether there are groups of tasks – like paying the bills – that can be batched.

This is just like planning to do errands.  You wouldn’t purposely divide your grocery shopping into several trips and get just a few things each trip.  Just like you would plan your errands so you go to the post office first, followed by the pharmacy and then the grocery store, you can do the same thing with your to do list.

Don’t forget to put the fun stuff on your list too!

Schedule the chunks

Once you have some groups of tasks, it’s time to start scheduling them.  There are two major ways to chunk your schedule:

By time of day

Chunking your schedule by time of day is a good way to manage your energy levels.  I know that I am my best mentally  right after breakfast until lunch.  I plan all my intense mental work for this time.  My afternoon is for less intense tasks.  I plan after dinner time to be with my family. 

By day of week 

If you are a mom, or someone else whose tasks are more unpredictable (you can’t predict when someone is going to spill juice all over the carpet), you might want to schedule by day of the week. If you have one day dedicated to do the laundry and another day to clean the bathrooms, you can eliminate having to decide what you should do next after you finish cleaning up that juice.  You know it’s Tuesday, so you are working on laundry.  

Scheduling chunks on specific days of the week is also good for groups of tasks that are not so big that they have to get done every single day, like meal planning. These kinds of chunks are also great for quality family time or other social activities.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a dedicated time each week for visiting family and friends?  It certainly would make planning what to do easier!

A diagram of chunking a work week of time
Organize your schedule in chunks

Schedule those tasks

The final step to using this method, at least at first, is to actually write in the tasks in your schedule in the appropriate areas.  Why?  Because you want to make sure that you actually have enough time in your schedule to get done all that you have planned. 

If you have more than you can get done – aren’t you glad you figured that out now?  Check out my post about how the Eisenhower Matrix can help you distinguish urgent vs. important to help you prioritize.  Then cross some stuff off that list!

As you get more used to using this method, just make a prioritized list of everything you expect to get done in each chunk.  This eliminates decisions during your chunk time so you can just accomplish.  Anything not done can be done in the next chunk you have scheduled for that activity.   

Do you chunk your schedule?

I’d love to see what your chunked schedule looks like.  I know what my life looks like, but would love to understand others as well so I can be the most helpful 🙂

How to chunk your schedule to have more peace and balance in your life.

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