8 Steps To Create a Daily Schedule (With Tips and Example)

Updated July 20, 2023

A person smiles as they read from their computer screen while working from home.

Actively establishing a daily schedule that includes prioritized tasks can help you keep your professional and personal lives balanced. A daily schedule can also help you achieve long-term goals by ensuring you're regularly working toward them. Learning how to add tasks to your routine and maintain your workflow can allow you to organize your schedule successfully.

In this article, we explain why a schedule is important, describe how to create a daily schedule, offer tips for maintaining your routine and provide an example daily schedule for reference.

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Why is a daily schedule important?

A daily schedule helps you prioritize your desires and needs efficiently and offers you a structure to support your productivity. Benefits of a daily schedule include:

  • Scheduling time to meet all daily goals

  • Boosting productivity

  • Limiting procrastination

  • Establishing healthy habits

  • Enjoying a good work-life balance

Related: 10 Ways To Boost Your Professional Time Management Skills

How to create a daily schedule

If you want to create a productive daily schedule that meets your specific needs, follow these steps:

1. Write everything down

Begin by writing down every task, both personal and professional, you want to accomplish during a normal week. Try to brainstorm rather than edit or organize. Remember to include tasks that you complete intermittently, such as changing the sheets on the bed or mowing the lawn, and everyday tasks, such as making breakfast or washing dishes.

Related: 6 Ways To Optimize Your Daily Schedule

2. Identify priorities

Once you have your list, review it and identify daily priorities. Consider using a highlighter to help visually organize your wants and needs into work and personal categories. For example, highlight daily work needs, such as answering emails or returning phone calls, in blue and highlight personal wants, such as reading a book for pleasure or going out for coffee with a friend, in green. Do this for your full list of tasks.

3. Note the frequency

Review your highlighted list and mark down the frequency you want or need to complete your tasks. Write this number next to each task. For example, write a "7" next to “make breakfast” since you plan to do that every day. Write a "1" next to “change the sheets” since you usually perform that task once a week.

Related: How To Make a Daily Work Schedule

4. Cluster similar tasks

Determine if there are similar tasks you can group for efficiency. For example, if you have "wash the dishes" and "wipe down surfaces" on your daily list of tasks, consider doing those together or one right after the other since they require some of the same supplies and take place in the same area of the house. Categorizing the tasks can also make it easier for you to complete every item on the checklist.

5. Make a weekly chart

Create, purchase or print a weekly chart. Begin filling it in with daily and weekly personal and work needs. Identify where it makes sense to complete tasks that recur weekly to keep your schedule as open as possible. For example, if on Mondays you have only four priority tasks, consider adding a weekly task, such as mowing the lawn rather than doing it on Saturdays when you have six priority tasks to complete.

Related: How To Plan Your Day: Benefits and 8 Tips for Success

6. Optimize your tasks

Review your weekly schedule and determine if there are areas or tasks you can simplify or optimize to save time. For example, if you traditionally go to the grocery store on Sundays but that doesn't leave time to manage other tasks that day, consider a grocery delivery service or moving the task to a weekday instead. Do this with any days that seem particularly full of activities.

7. Order the tasks

Once you've optimized your weekly schedule, create a loose hourly schedule for each day's tasks. Consider blocking times, such as "morning," "midday," "afternoon" and "evening" rather than an hour-by-hour plan. This way, if a task takes longer than expected or you have to attend to an emergency, you can still maintain your schedule.

Related: How To Schedule Your Day and Be More Productive

8. Stay flexible

Try out your schedule for a week or two and adjust it as needed. It might take a few weeks for you to establish a routine that meets your needs, both personal and professional, so be patient. Remember to allow for some flexibility every day since unexpected tasks can arise.

Related: 6 Benefits of Flexibility in Business

Tips for using your daily schedule

To ensure your new schedule is effective, consider the following tips:

  • Remember that it takes time to build a habit. Attempt to purposefully follow your schedule for several weeks before gauging success.

  • Adjust your schedule as needed. What you initially create may probably require changes, so make changes to the order of your tasks if it's not working.

  • Return to the schedule after disruptions. Make an active choice to return to your schedule after these changes.

  • Grant some leeway. If you deviate from your schedule or miss a task or two on Monday, remember that Tuesday is a new day and another opportunity to create consistent daily patterns to help you achieve your goals.

Related: Self-Management Skills: Definition, Examples and Tips

Daily schedule example

Review this example daily schedule to help you structure your own:

MORNING (7 a.m. to 11 a.m.)

  • Make the bed

  • Cook breakfast

  • Exercise

  • Answer emails

  • Journal

MIDDAY (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

  • Make work phone calls

  • Cook lunch

  • Meditate

  • Write 1,000 words

AFTERNOON (1 p.m. to 5 p.m.)

  • Work on professional project

  • Call a friend

  • Walk outside

EVENING (5 p.m. to 10 p.m.)

  • Prepare dinner

  • Write in a gratitude journal

  • Watch a show

  • Wash the dishes

  • Read a chapter of a book

  • Prepare for sleep

Related: How To Manage a Busy Schedule in 13 Steps

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Daily schedule template

Here's a template that you can use to make your own daily schedule:

MORNING (X a.m. to X a.m.):

  • Task 1

  • Task 2

  • Task 3

  • Task 4

  • Task 5

MIDDAY (X a.m. to X p.m.)

  • Task 1

  • Task 2

  • Task 3

  • Task 4

  • Task 5

AFTERNOON (X p.m. to X p.m.)

  • Task 1

  • Task 2

  • Task 3

EVENING (X p.m. to X p.m.)

  • Task 1

  • Task 2

  • Task 3

  • Task 4

  • Task 5

Download Daily Schedule Template

To upload the template into Google Docs, go to File > Open > and select the correct downloaded file.

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