Color-Coded Time Blocking

I touched on this topic on stories last week and my inbox was flooded with requests to chat more about how I map out my schedule. I’ll let you in on a little secret- I don’t really worry too much about the planner I use. I mean, I LOVE a planner. And if I had to design a product, it would be a planner because I’m so opinionated about them. *But* I’ve never really found one that provides as much ample room as I need to time block.

I live and breathe by time blocking. Do you? If I don’t time block, I don’t know how to get a darn thing accomplished. Essentially, I plan my weeks on Friday {or Sunday evening} for the following week. I take a legal pad or notepad and cross-reference my planner with my google calendar for work, editorial for content, and kids’ school calendar. I whip out my notepad and list out each day the following week, and plan hour to hour. I jot down everything from work to what our family will be eating. While I do this, I color-code a few of the items. For me, I color-code our meals, what I need to do for work, social media postings, running to-do list, and kid activities. I leave the rest in black, that way I can quickly glance ahead and see the most important things. If a kid is sick and I need to readjust expectations, I can quickly say, “Okay, cancel it all but let me look to orange so I can see what is contractually due that day. If I’m going to run in the grocery store and want to see if we need anything else, I just look to blue for our menu.

I listed an example day in the photo and then I just fill out Monday-Friday when I take the time to plan weekly. Then, I don’t time block on the weekends. I give myself a short to-do list but we just run off what the kids want to do for the weekend, so I don’t find a need to be as structured. It gives me some breathing room to reset for the following week.

The great thing about using a legal pad or notepad to do this is you can always readjust. Last week we had another ice storm and I looked at Paul and said, “Every generation of parents is defined by something and I think we are defined by inconsistent childcare.” A smidge dramatic, but you know what I mean-ha. The past 2 years so many of us work from home and yet between school closings the first two years and now crazy Texas weather, it’s a bit hard to plan. 😉 I can easily start a new sheet of paper in a notepad, but I can’t really do that with a planner-which is why I don’t love planners that have the hour sections.

Grab my favorite color-coding pens and a legal pad and try it! I truly find freedom in the planning, but let me know how you plan your days!

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  1. Jacquelyn Rios wrote:

    Thank you Katey! I’ve been waiting for this post! I’m going to give it a try! I’m not the best planet and have another little one on the way and know that even if I do some sort of time blocking it will really help me out. I’m thinking to start I might do morning, afternoon, evening. It might be a little less intimidating for me LOL! Thank you again!!!

    Published 02 Mar 22Reply
  2. Lane wrote:

    Hi Katey! Thank you so much for posting this! It is super helpful! I’m trying it today! What do you do if a task takes longer than you anticipate or kiddos wake up early, something like that? Do you shuffle those tasks to another day? That is how I often seem to get off track! Thanks so much!! Lane

    Published 03 Mar 22Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Hi Lane! Yes! So I love the notepad or legal pad method because I can just move things around {more space than a planner}. If Harry wakes early, then I just look to the “must do’s” {usually orange and purple} and focus on accomplishing those, and move the pink {running to-do list} to the next day! xx, Katey

      Published 04 Mar 22Reply
      • Lane wrote:

        Thank you so much, Katey! That makes sense! I have tried this for 3 days and I do think I have been more productive! Thank you!!

        Published 08 Mar 22Reply
  3. For mental health reasons and just life in general, it is so important and helpful for me to stay organized! This is such a wonderful idea and way to stay on top of things. Color-coding things on my to do list has been very great for me recently. Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂


    Published 05 Mar 22Reply
  4. Rosamary Rodriguez-Tellaheche wrote:

    Thank you Katie!! I had one system with a planner I used this past school year for my kids. But in using it I found myself adding in my own appointments and reminders, which is great but I was using one colored pen then coding in highlighters lol. I got the different colored pens and now using a system similar to yours and my old one to accommodate in the new planner. I really enjoy writing things down and seeing it on paper. Even if I do still have it on my phone calendar. I love to check things off!

    Published 06 Jun 22Reply