We all have a lot to do and a limited amount of time to do it. Figuring out how to get more done — or at least, the most important things — is a challenge you probably face every day.
I get it! I am a busy homeschool mom of 6, a small business owner, and have lots of other projects and interests on the side. So there’s no shortage of things to do. But for years I struggled with how to organize my time and my tasks most effectively. None of the typical systems seemed to work for me.
- They were too complicated
- When I fell behind the whole thing seemed to fall apart
- They couldn’t adjust well to my busy life and sometimes unpredictable (kids) life
So i just kept falling back into winging it and trying to scramble to keep up.
Then I discovered the loop schedule and my life was simplified.
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What is a Loop Schedule?
A loop schedule is simply a way or organizing your work into a rotating list. Anything that doesn’t NEED to be done today gets put on the list. You start at the top, do one (or more) things a day, and then when you get to the bottom of the list, you loop back up to the top.
It’s so simple. But it’s incredibly useful. Loop scheduling is an easy method that adjusts to your needs. Plus, it’s flexible to fit any type of work you need to manage:
- Homeschooling (try a looping list for your routine, or a loop schedule for electives)
- Homemaking (make progress on deep cleaning, decluttering, and projects)
- Business (be more consistent with training, special projects, etc.)
I even put my prayer life into a loop schedule at one point to be more intentional!
How I Mange My To-Do List & Use Loop Scheduling
Having a long and unrealistic to-do list was causing me stress and weighing down my productivity. Here are the three things I do to manage my tasks reasonably:
- Do a “brain dump” every night before bed. Keep it all in a master file. Even if you never look at it again, you’ll sleep better. Trust me.
- Keep a mercifully short to-do list of 3-5 things that HAVE to get done the next day. If it’s a rough day, drinking coffee counts. 😉 I call this my “daily-do’s” and even though I used to make it 7 things, 3-5 is really more realistic now.
- Put everything else on a loop schedule. Anything that I want do regularly but not every day. Items I don’t want falling through the cracks. I call them my loop-de-loos.
Each day, I do my best to get the 3-4 daily things done. Then I do the next 1-2 items on the loop schedule. If you need something to happen more frequently, add it more than once to the loop.
If you need something to happen less frequently, use a sub-loop. A sub-loop is basically when you make one of the items in your list point to another looping list. For example, an item in my loop schedule might be “deep cleaning.” When I get to that item, I turn over the page and select something from a long “deep cleaning” list.
Here is an example of a loop schedule I had back when our youngest was a baby (4 years ago!) and I was just getting back into routines.
And here’s an example of my 9 year old’s homeschool / work routine. You can use something as simple as that or our more advanced Student Work & Habit Tracker. But you get the gist. Daily Do’s, Loop-de-loos, adjust as needed, good to go.
Get Started with Loop Scheduling
It’s really easy for you to get started with loop scheduling.
- Download the free loop schedule printables here.
- Try creating a loop schedule for your homemaking or homeschooling.
- Adjust things as you go. Tweak things to fit your needs, changing the frequency of items or creating sub-loops to make it fit your goals.
- Want to make the most of this tool? Check out the Loop Scheduling Workshop!
That’s it! I hope you enjoy trying out this tool and I would love to hear how it goes! Let me know in the comments.
Loop Scheduling Workshop
The Loop Scheduling Workshop will provide you with several additional templates to get you started as well as a guide to begin implementing loop scheduling in your home right away!
This Post Has 23 Comments
Tami Qualls9 Jan 2017
The perfectionist in me was wanting to type up my daily and loop lists. Then in your video you stated how you reviewed what was working vs. what was not before you wrote out the next one. I love that idea! My focus this year is PROGRESS not perfection, so I think the loop idea will help!
Tauna9 Jan 2017
Yes! That really does help to have that frame of mind – progress, not perfection! It means we’re going places. 🙂 Glad you found it helpful too!
Marcy9 Jan 2017
I love this idea. I think I’ll begin using it for Ben’s homeschooling and my bogging! Thanks for the video. That really helped!
Tauna9 Jan 2017
Thanks Marcy! I’m glad you found it helpful. 🙂 Let me know how it goes!
Natasha9 Jan 2017
I think I’m with you on this one! I sort of do loop scheduling, but your system will be so much more benificial to me! I don’t do well with absolutely rigid, but I also need some reminder of what needs to get done to stay productive without the overwhelm. Thank you so much for sharing! I want to try it for sure!
Tauna14 Jan 2017
That’s exactly how I am! Let me know how it works out for you 🙂
Anne-Laure10 Jan 2017
I am a definitely domestically challenged homeschooling mom of 4 (soon 5). I am discovering your website and loving it! I have already got help and encouragement from it! This loopy thing is definitely something that helps me a lot and that I need to implement more.
I would love to hear more details about how you deal with your emails. I saw a line “Emails: delete or reply” in one of your daily-do list. How do you do this? Are you able to handle all incoming emails in one step that way? I have lost the control of my inbox and don’t know how to regain it…
Blessings from Europe,
Anne-Laure10 Jan 2017
PS: I just thought will be looking at the video, maybe you give more details on your email line there. That is just SUCH a challenge for me to view videos with all the children around me. I am definitely an “article” Mom 🙂
Tauna14 Jan 2017
Oh my, haha! You picked out one of the things I’m really struggling with which is why it’s in my list! Right now I’m trying to delete or reply. If I don’t have time to reply I’m not reading it. 🙂 because too often I reply in my head and then forget to reply in real life! I have a few folders but usually I just rely on search to help me find things I need to find later. Sometime I need to spend a day just cleaning out my unread emails. It’s a disaster. Lol! Sorry I couldn’t help! If I come across some genius system I’ll be sure to share. 🙂
Anne-Laure18 Jan 2017
thank you for replying honestly. Your answer DID help me. In the meantime I also took time to purge my inbox so it is better now.
Inspired by your posts, here is the strategy I designed:
1. My goal is now that when I look at new emails: I sort, delete or reply. I have 3 folders I can sort incoming emails into: one for optional information stuff to read “one day”, one for commercial offers I may need “one day”, one for information about online orders that I need to keep at least until the order has been delivered/paid/reimbursed. I don’t need to write this on my dailyDos because I look at my emails anyway 🙂 With this my inbox content should *generally* not grow anymore from one day to the next.
2. Then I am putting a “computer maintenance” line on my dailyDOs: to progressively reply to all the older emails in my inbox then progressively purge my email folders and also do other random computer maintenance things when my emails are under control. Doing one thing everyday, progress not perfection!
I am really excited about the inspiration your methods are giving me!
I am also having a “visual clutter control” line in my dailyDos. Actually it is an add-on loop where I go over every clutter catching area in our home and bring it back to its uncluttered state. I am very visual and visual clutter depresses me big time. I am SO happy to have found a working strategy to keep it under control!
Well, in short: thanks so much!
Tauna18 Jan 2017
Ah, these are FANTASTIC ideas! I’ll be adopting them for myself. Thank you so much for coming back to share with us!
Lindsay10 Jan 2017
Thanks, Tauna! Like you, I realize that I’ve organically developed a loop schedule without knowing that’s what it was called! This gave me some good ideas for how to refine my current system. I rarely comment, so since I’m here I’ll add that I’m blessed by your blog and enjoy following you on FB. Congrats on the newest arrival!
Tauna14 Jan 2017
Thanks so much for the encouragement Lindsay! I’m so glad you found a few helpful things to try with the scheduling. Just writing about it lately has helped me come up with some helpful ways to apply it in other areas of my life. Love it when that happens! 🙂
Jeniffer Do Nascimento11 Jan 2017
I”ve been looping our schoolwork for a while, but I never thought about using loops with housework and blogging. What a great idea!
Tauna14 Jan 2017
It is SO helpful! For blogging, too. 🙂 I’m going to try to make one for our new garden this year as well!
Chris Bruno11 Jan 2017
Yes! This is the housekeeping system that works best for me as well just never knew it had a name
Tauna14 Jan 2017
That’s fantastic! Always good to know it works for others, too. 😀
Melinda12 Jan 2017
I just want to say that it’s so refreshing to read and watch your stuff! Whenever you explain your challenges or why something didn’t work, I say to myself, “YES! Me too!” You and I (and probably thousands of other homeschooling moms) think alike. We face the same interruptions, the same failures, and the same struggle with being disorganized creatives. 😀 Organization and schedule-following in its truest form seems to be reserved for the type A folks out there, but it’s nice to be reminded that we can find our own brand of order! Although I’m frustrated with (and tired of) the many scheduling systems that I haven’t been able to follow in the past, I’m looking forward to trying out loop scheduling. Will this hybrid/upgrade of my 50-item to-do list be the thing that finally works? I sure hope so! I’ll at least give it a try since it works for you! I know I have enjoyed using the relaxed home planner. Thanks for inspiring me to keep trying…
Tauna14 Jan 2017
You are so welcome! I’m always glad to hear when it’s helpful! And I love that phrase “our own brand of order.” Lol! So true!
Colleen6 Jul 2017
This sounds perfect for me! I am like you…I just don’t do well with the rigid schedule. And once I get “behind” I feel overwhelmed and just stop. I am hoping this works well for me in both homeschooling and homemaking!
Tauna Meyer7 Jul 2017
You’re welcome, Colleen! Let me know how it goes!
Hannah Alaganou20 Apr 2020
Is it just me? The video is completely silent. It’s not my device because other youtube videos are playing just fine for me. Have loved the loop scheduling idea for a long time – I’ve recently implemented it for our prayer time as we were always praying for random subjects – neighbors, church, missionaries, family, persecuted church, abortion, etc., with no rhyme or reason. For example I’d find we were praying for neighbors over and over, but it had been weeks since we’d prayed for our local abortion facilities to close, etc. But I was discouraged from making a prayer schedule because we had too many topics to get through in one week. So I finally just wrote out all the topics in list form on a notepad, tore the page of the pad, slid it into a page protector, slid in a piece of cardboard (I tore off the back of a used spiral notebook!) to stiffen it, and slipped a jumbo paper clip on the left side on the first topic line. (Obviously if I had a laminator I would use it!) Now every evening after we pray I just slide the paper clip down to the next line! I love it. We are praying more consistently for those things the Lord has laid on my heart. It takes us about two weeks to get through the whole loop. Can’t wait to start looping homemaking tasks as well using your printables.
Tauna Meyer27 Apr 2020
As far as I can tell it’s working, so it must have been a glitch.
I like your solution! Thanks for sharing 🙂