Author Topic: Seeking assistance creating habits, making plans, and successful time management  (Read 3390 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 36
Improving and mastering these skills will give me opportunities to reach new levels of success. My thoughts that the army taught me to never let consistency lead to complacency prevents me from forming beneficial habits. I believe in the joys of living in the moment while planning my future. I have great long term plans and goals; however, I struggle with the short term scheduling and planning ahead. The knowledge shared from MMM as well as many on this forum has lead to many insights, opened doors, and given me new opportunities.

The supervisor at a local hospital has made it clear that they will have opportunities for me after graduation next July. I am currently getting experience at one of the best hospitals in the nation three days a week. Two week days are dedicated to class time. 20-30 hours each week is invested working nights and weekends at a restaurant; earning cash to pay living expenses. I also have a growing small business or side project. If 80% of small businesses fail, my 9th or 10th business will blow your mind. My next day off will be October 20.

My free time is very minimal, which is why proper management is crucial. Planning provides better opportunities for growing and building relationships with family, friends, colleagues, mentors, and co workers. Successfully managing alone time will help prioritize homework and studies. Typing this out and seeking help may help me find ways to make planning ahead more enjoyable.


  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 665
Here are a few things that have helped me do better with time management:

1.  No tv at the house.  No antenna, no cable, just netflix.
2.  Using the calendar on my smart phone to organize appointments
3.  Reading the book Better Than Before to help me learn how to form habits

Hope these help.


  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1301
Reminds me of my grad school days, when I was working three jobs and also taking classes. Proud to have done it, glad to be done with it!

One thing I did at that time was to keep a very detailed time diary for a typical week, much as MMM encourages tracking expenses in the early days of Mustachianism. Helped me find a few places I could be more efficient and also reassured me that I was using most of my time well.

Another thing that I have found to be very helpful is creating routines to handle a lot of the ongoing chores of life, which frees up brain space for all that other work you are doing. So for instance, keep a running grocery list through the week, and then Tuesday afternoons is grocery time. Wednesday morning is laundry day, or whatever. An old-fashioned way of handling groceries/meals is to have a weekly menu--ie, Monday is breakfast for dinner night. Tuesday is pasta w. sauce and meatballs night. Wednesday is grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup night. A little boring, yes, but you are in survival mode here. When I was in the crazy grad school years,  I also planned leisure time into the routine. 10 PM Saturday night to 10 AM Sunday morning was my Sabbath (I am Christian, but the principle applies even if you aren't religious). Later when I got a fellowship and dropped some of the jobs, I stretched it to 6 PM-noon. Having that time to relax, guilt-free, was really helpful keeping up the pace the other 6.5 days per week.

I recently came across the to-do app/website Workflowy which has worked very well for me. It is free until you surpass 250 to-do items in a month.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6341
Some more general advice for how to be MOTIVATED to establish habits:

I found the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People to be awesome.

Also I got a lot of good ideas from the FlyLady, even though I don't follow her system exactly.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 36
I appreciate your responses. Books and websites are extremely helpful. Habits and routines may get consistently boring. They also lead to more time for fun and productivity.

I'm currently listening to the book "The Power of Forgetting". My current reading choices include "How We Decide" as well as Tom Butler Bowden's series of 50 classics of Prosperity, Success, Psychology, and Philosophy. The 50 Success Classics includes the cliff notes on Stephen Covey's 7 Habits. After having so many roommates over the years, I have minimized the distractions with a recent move into a small apartment. It looks like FlyLady will be a big help in making my new apartment a home.


  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 506
+1 to the suggestion to build in the principle of rest. Even if you don't take a day off, take a Friday 4-6 pm long walk regularly for instance.


  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 774
Using the calendar on my smart phone to organize appointments

This has been key for me. If you look at my Google Calendar, it looks like I'm booked from 6am to 9pm. I schedule everything I want to get accomplished for the day and have my phone remind me. Two things that help me stay on track is:
1) Scheduling fun time. I have a half hour block in the mornings built in for me to dope around on the internet. Between waiting for caffeine to kick in and just being less productive in the mornings (I KNOW I'm a night owl and more productive in the afternoon/evenings), it gives me a guilt free way to relax. Plus I'm ready to be more productive by the time my half hour is up... Emails have been read, Facebook has been checked, Buzzfeed articles have been read, time to work!
2) Learn to be flexible. Flexibility is a learned skill. Too much of it and it's hard to reach goals, but too little of it and you'll drive yourself crazy. You have to find the right balance for you and figure out how to rearrange your schedule.

Nothing is booked after 9pm for me - I allow myself to do whatever I want then. Netflix, video games, read... though I did continue with my class lectures after that because I was enjoying myself.


  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2676
  • Location: Florida
Yup, in the army a routine might get you killed:) Forgot about that one.

I am a morning person - so I have

1. a morning routine which is non-negotiable and includes heavy doses of caffeine.
2. I prefer to handwrite my daily lists.
3. I go over and get ready what is needed for the next day the night before.

If there is something you want to add or delete from your schedule, good or bad, challenge yourself for 30 days. Then re-evaluate - and always only one goal at a time. Actually, since I found MMM I participate in some of the "gauntlet thread" challenges from time to time. Or throw down your own gauntlet.


Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!