26. How to Stick to a Schedule

3 Tips How to Stick to a Schedule

Are you struggling to stick to a schedule? If so, you’re not alone. 

Hi there! I’m Karin Nordin, I have a PhD focused on behavior change, which essentially means I’m here to bring you the real science behind self-help. 

Many people find it challenging to maintain a consistent routine. However, with the right strategies and mindset, you can effectively manage your time and stay on track. 

In this blog, we’ll explore practical tips grounded in scientific research to help you stick to a schedule and achieve your goals. 


Tip 1: Cultivate Uplifts for a Balanced Schedule:


Incorporating moments of mindfulness and joy, known as uplifts, into your schedule is essential for long-term success. These positive experiences act as proactive buffers against stressors and boost self-control.


Begin by reevaluating your schedule and identifying opportunities to include activities that bring you joy and empowerment.



It could be as simple as taking a short walk or enjoying a favorite cup of coffee. By consciously designing your schedule with uplifts, you create a more balanced and fulfilling day.



Now, in our one-on-one coaching program, Alliance Coaching, one of the tools we teach is time blocking. That’s a subject for a whole other blog, so I’m not gonna teach that here. But time blocking is essentially putting your schedule for the day into your calendar. 



Tip 2: Plan for Your Worst Day, Not Your Best:

When creating a schedule, it’s crucial to plan for unexpected challenges and disruptions. Instead of idealizing the best-case scenario, consider the potential obstacles you may encounter. 


Allocate extra time for tasks and activities, ensuring that you have a buffer for contingencies. 


For example, if your commute typically takes 25 minutes, instead of planning for 30 minutes of driving time, allocate 45 minutes to account for traffic or other delays. 



On the days you get there early you’re going to feel amazing, but on the days there is traffic or other delays, knowing you have that 45 minutes is going help you feel calm, peaceful, and grounded instead of rushed, chaotic, and like you failed to stick to your plan. 



Tip 3: Divide Your Day Mentally into Quarters:


Mentally dividing your day into quarters provides a fresh start effect and empowers you to refocus and readjust if necessary. 



Establish specific points in your day where you transition from one quarter to another. This helps create a clear distinction between past difficulties and future possibilities.



Here’s an example of my schedule split into quarters:

Q1: 5:00 AM – 9:00 AM 
Q2: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM 
Q3: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Q4: 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM



It doesn’t have to be even, but you want to give yourself specific quarter time frames. If a particular quarter of the day didn’t go as planned, use the next quarter as an opportunity to make improvements and move forward.



For example, let’s say you woke up and had a bad morning…



You can now pause and acknowledge that Q1 today was an absolute sh** show (I call this a pivot point), and now you’re going to refocus on Q2 and make it better.



These designated pivot points enable you to adapt your schedule and realign with your goals.




Sticking to a schedule requires a compassionate and flexible approach. Remember, the purpose of a schedule is to provide structure and guide decision-making, not to be followed rigidly. 



By incorporating uplifts, planning for contingencies, and dividing your day into quarters, you can enhance your time management skills and achieve greater productivity and fulfillment. Embrace these strategies and embark on your journey towards mastering time management.



By the way, if you’re loving the education you’re getting here, make sure you’re signed up for my Tuesday toolbox email list. Click here to join in the fun!


Every single Tuesday I send out information on a concrete change skill, like cognitive flexibility or growth mindset, along with tips and tricks for how to adopt that skill and grow it in your own life. 



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Hi, I'm Karin

I’m a funfetti flavor super-fan, a loving dog mom, a PhD expert in mindset and behavior change… and I’m here to help make personal development and transformation a process that’s actually fun.


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