5 Simple Tips for Creating Realistic Schedules that Prioritize Rest

Are you struggling to find time to pray? Drowning under the weight of a to-do list that seems impossible to stay on top of? So many women understand the concept of physical clutter and mental clutter, but rarely do we take the time to evaluate the time clutter that drowns us in never ending to do lists and responsibilities.

5 simple ways to create realistic schedules that priortize rest

Rhythms of Rest and Work

This world glorifies weariness and revels in busyness but this is not how we were initially designed. We were created for a rhythm of work and rest! We were made to work well at the dreams and plans the Lord sets before us, but to also be intentional about creating margin to slow down and rest.

This post will give you a few simple tips for creating realistic schedules that allow you to get more done and have margin to do the things you love.

What is a Realistic Schedule?

A realistic schedule is one that is manageable, with realistic expectations of what is possible and appropriate given the demands and tasks at hand. It takes into account the fact that we only have 24 hours in a day.

This type of schedule makes the most of that time, while also keeping in mind that you are only one person. So many time management gurus encourage us to fit more tasks in the the tiny pockets of time in our day. They constantly encourage us to do more and more.

There is no rhyme or reason. No understanding of our true nature. Completely disregarding the fact this striving for more and more is not sustainable.

A realistic schedule will do 3 things: maximize one’s time, prioritize those responsibilities deemed most important, and finally, allow time for flexibility. 

Why Should we Prioritize Rest when Creating Schedules?

It is countercultural to place rest as a priority when considering our productivity and the struggle to get more done.

Why should we rest and “waste” that time when we could be getting more done? To understand this we should go to the source of all the things we do to understand what life is supposed to look like.

Rest in the Bible

Hebrew Word for Rest

We see in the Old Testament of the Bible the word for rest is the Hebrew word Nuach, which means to rest or be quiet.

“For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.” Exodus 20:11.

Greek Word for Rest

The New Testament presentation is seen as the Greek word Anapausis. This word means cessation or refreshment.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29.

Rest, quiet, ceasing, refreshment. This is the entire picture of rest in the Bible and the original intention of life.

Bible Verses about Rest

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1

“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” Psalm 129:1 ESV.

“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14.

Restorative Rest

The work you were called to do will not drive you so hard that you have no margin for quiet, calm tranquility. (This includes motherhood, wife-life, and your career.)

Rest gives you space to be restored and strengthened to do the good plans. Physical rest strengthens us . Mentally, we get peace in rest.

When we choose rest instead of striving, we can gain clarity and peace of mind. When we create our schedules with a rest mindset, we draw a line in the sand.

We are not allowing the busyness around us dictate the weariness we experience.

Prioritize Rest- steaming white china cup of tea next to a pen with a peach colored flower top, placed on a journal

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Tips for Creating a Realistic Schedule

Now that we understand the overall importance of rest in our time management and planning, let’s look at a few tips to help us create a sustainable realistic schedule. Here are 5 tips that really help me to stay on task while also embracing a more calm existence.

1 – Know What’s Important

•The first tip to creating more realistic schedules is to prioritize what is important. When you know what you are saying yes to, then your no becomes easy. We want to prioritize so that we can set boundaries around our time and energy.

In my book, Finding Time, I encourage moms to list 2-4 tasks or activities that are important to them. Setting this priority list and writing it down allows you to see what is important to you, so when you evaluate your schedule you can see what fits into your priorities, and what does not.

Some examples may be things like:

•Quiet Time for Prayer

•Spending meaningful time with kids

•Family dinners

•Space to work on your dreams

•Time for fitness


The important thing here is to list non-negotiable tasks. These are things that have to be included in your day!

2 – Evaluate your Schedule and Minimize What You Have to Manage

•After you have listed the 2-4 things that are important to your day, the next step in creating a more realistic schedule is to look at your current schedule and minimize the things you have to manage.

So many of us create our schedule and plan our days based on obligations.

Without clear direction on what we want to do, we try to fit everything in. Creating a more sustainable routine involves clearing out those obligations and creating your schedule with boundaries based on the things that are important to you.

Setting those tasks (the non-negotiable ones from the step prior) create the foundation of your routine.

•To complete this, journal your typical day from beginning to end. Seeing how you actually spend your time vs how you would like to spend your time can be really eye opening for creating a more realistic routine.

3 – Weekly Planning

•One of my favorite parts of my week is the time I set aside on Sunday evening to plan my week. This typically includes listing out the tasks that I want to do for the week (I keep this to no more than 8-12 tasks). Then divide those tasks out to each day of the week.

This helps ensure that you don’t over book your days, and helps leave space for the inevitable “fires” that come up.

4 – Create Routines that Prioritize Rest

We may all know that woman who has it all together. Her life seems to be completely under control and if you ask her how she does it, she will often begin describing her very particular daily routines. It is a well known fact that children love routines, but adults can thrive on them too. Rest starts here.

•Whether you choose a morning routine or a night schedule, being diligent about daily planning and scheduling margin for rest helps ensure that it’s a part of your plan.

5 – Maintain the Margins

Society has us fooled. It has led us to believe that if we are not actively doing something we are being lazy. The fact is, it is often in the contrary to this belief that the most productivity happens.

•When we take time to slow down; take a moment to breathe and clear our mind of one task before rolling into another. When we stop multitasking, we are much more productive!

•Maintaining your margins is to overcome the tendency to want to fill every spare moment in your day.

It is impossible to stay consistent with a realistic schedule if you are constantly filling every spare moment in your day with tasks- constantly trying to add one more check mark to your to do list!

•This is why it is important again to write out your to do list, but also to factor in cushion and definitive stopping points. Not only for tasks but also for the day.

Finding Time as a Busy Woman is Not Impossible

•It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that productivity means doing more, but it’s important to remember that being productive starts with embracing a rest mindset.

•Doing more starts with reducing the clutter in your schedule and creating realistic schedules is one way you can do this. 

•Implementing these small changes will allow you to accomplish all of your tasks without feeling overwhelmed or burned out by the inevitable stresses in life.

If any of this resonates with you, order our book Finding Time for practical advice on minimizing the things you have to manage and sustainable time management strategies!

Ashley Hudson is a mom of two, wife, dentist, and blogger with a passion for seeing women walk in authenticity and God given purpose! She does this through her writing at Undoubted Grace, an online community of busy and working moms learning to enjoy and embrace their individual stories of motherhood. She encourages overwhelmed women in balancing work and family life, practicing intentional self-care and cultivating spiritual growth.

You can read more about Ashley and her mission to encourage working moms to cultivate a lifestyle of calm at:





5 simple ways to create realistic schedules that prioritize rest- woman sitting outside in white sleeveless dress with teal shawl, left hand touching hair

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