How To Make Work Schedules (With Tips To Make Your Own)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 17, 2021

When you have many tasks to organize and accomplish throughout the day, it can be stressful to manage them all and meet your deadlines. Using a schedule can help you organize your tasks, manage your time, and increase productivity. Knowing how to create effective schedules can help reduce stress and improve your efficiency in both your professional and personal life. In this article, we discuss what a schedule is, why they're important, how to make one, and tips for making one on your own.

Related: Work Routine

What is a schedule?

A schedule is a record of upcoming events in your personal or professional life. For example, if you have any upcoming meetings or deadlines, you can input them into your schedule to keep track of their exact dates and times. You can also create a mixed schedule, with work and personal events, to ensure you have a good work-life balance and prioritize your tasks appropriately. Schedules can be any format or style that works for you, such as a physical or online calendar, or a to-do list.

Why are schedules important?

Schedules are important for people in any industry or role because they help keep you organized and allow you to plan your time wisely. Listing and planning all the tasks you need to complete for the day or week is also a great way to ease your mind. Instead of trying to remember all of your upcoming tasks, include them in your schedule to eliminate unnecessary stress. Having a schedule also helps you meet deadlines and organize your work accordingly. If you notice your schedule is too busy one day, transfer some of your work to another day or ask for help.

Different types of work schedules

Here are some of the most common types of work schedules you'll encounter:

Full-time work schedules

Full-time schedules vary depending on the company and role, but they typically require you to work 40 hours per week. If you work over 40 hours, you may get overtime pay. The most common full-time work schedule is from Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5 pm. Your full-time schedule can also change from week to week, depending on your role.

To compensate for the longer hours, employers must give you benefits, such as health insurance, vacation or sick days, or retirement plan options. Benefit packages change by company, but employers outline them in your work contract or agreement. Ensure you determine what your benefits are before signing your contract to ensure they suit your needs and lifestyle.

Related: Full-Time Hours: Definition and Benefits

Part-time work schedules

A part-time work schedule is anything less than a full-time schedule, typically 20 to 30 hours a week. A part-time schedule gives you more freedom to pursue other responsibilities, such as childcare or school. Alternatively, some people choose to get two part-time jobs and work full-time hours each week.

Part-time employees are usually ineligible for benefits, but some companies may still offer benefit packages with lower compensation. Schedules for part-time employees are less predictable than for full-time employees since employers schedule them according to their needs each week. For example, you may have Saturday and Sunday off from work one week, and then have days off on Wednesday and Thursday the following week.

Related: How Many Hours is Part-Time Employment?

Fixed work schedule

As a full-time or part-time employee, you can have a fixed work schedule. A fixed work schedule is one that consists of the same hours and days each week. For example, your schedule every week could be Monday to Friday from 9 to 5, or Saturday to Thursday from 4 to 12. Employers tell you in the interview or before you sign your contract whether you have a fixed schedule. Having a fixed work schedule can help you schedule the rest of your daily tasks easier.

Flexible work schedule

The alternative to a fixed work schedule is a flexible work schedule. A flexible work schedule is less rigid and can change every week based on the employer's needs or your personal life. For example, many companies that use flexible schedules allow you to switch your shifts with your coworkers if you have other commitments that day. The hospitality and food industries tend to use flexible work schedules to schedule employees according to busy periods.

Rotating work schedule

Industries that need employees at all times of the day, such as hospitals or fast-food restaurants, typically use a rotating work schedule. A rotating work schedule is when employees work one shift for a certain period, then another shift for the next period. For example, you may work the morning shift for two weeks and switch to the afternoon shift for the following two weeks. This makes it a fair way to schedule employees and avoids employees having to work the same shift all the time.

How to make a daily work schedule

To help you make an effective schedule for your tasks at work or in your personal life, consider the following steps:

1. Find a scheduling template

To keep your schedule organized, consider using a template. There are many great physical or online scheduling templates to choose from, such as calendars or to-do lists. You can also choose from daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly planners to keep track of your short-term and long-term goals. Try out a few different options to see which type of schedule suits you best.

2. Create a list of tasks or goals to complete

While you're looking for the ideal template for your schedule, you can also create a master list of tasks, deadlines, and goals you want to include. Writing your schedule in an organized way is easier if you work from a master list. You can also use this list to prioritize your tasks appropriately according to their deadlines or urgency. If you have personal and work-related tasks or goals, write them all down on this list. You can determine in the following steps whether you want to include everything in one schedule or create separate ones.

Related: Setting Goals To Improve Your Career

3. Decide how long you want to spend on each task

Estimate how much time you need for each task on your list, whether it's personal or work-related. This helps you determine the time you need to block off to complete certain tasks. Consider breaking larger tasks or goals down into small steps or deadlines to help you plan. For example, if you're working on a big project at work, think about tasks you can complete each day to complete the project on time.

4. Organize the tasks in your schedule

Determine whether you want to include all of your work and personal tasks or goals into one schedule or make two different ones. Having two different schedules can help keep you organized, but it may be harder to keep track of everything you need to do. If this is the case, try creating one schedule and writing your personal tasks in one colour and your work-related tasks in another.

Once you've decided on the tasks, goals, and deadlines you want to include, input everything into your schedule. Start with the most important tasks, since you can reschedule minor ones that coincide with them. Then, add any repetitive tasks, such as weekly meetings or phone calls. Finally, add your personal tasks to the open time gaps you have left. Avoid filling all the empty spaces in your schedule. You need time to relax and complete unexpected tasks throughout the week.

Tips for scheduling

To create and follow an effective schedule, consider these tips:

  • Refer to your schedule constantly: the best way to follow a schedule is to commit to it fully. Refer to your schedule whenever you can and adjust it when necessary so it's always accurate. Try to pick one day a week or the same time every day to work on your schedule to create a routine.

  • Give yourself plenty of time: it is often better to overestimate the time you need for certain tasks or goals so you don't feel rushed. This ensures you can always complete your tasks on time to meet strict deadlines.

  • Schedule your challenging tasks when you're most productive: if you know you're productive at a certain time of day, like as soon as you wake up, schedule your most challenging tasks then. Completing these tasks may motivate you to complete your other tasks and reduce procrastination.