How to Create a Loop Schedule for Your
Intentional Growth Replaces Checklist Mentality
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Do you ever create a list of daily habits you want to get done because you know they will help you grow and move you closer to your goals, but then you fail at getting it all in, you struggle to maintain that morning routine, and you feel like you’re falling further behind? Yeah, I’m guilty of this too, and guilty of making myself feel guilty for not getting it all done every day. We are so good at guilting ourselves, aren’t we? You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?
Well, what if I told you it doesn’t have to be like that? What if you could create a system for yourself that actually worked and made you not only feel like you’re moving forward, but actually worked to grow you!
Enter the loop schedule.
Okay, so I have to share the backstory to this before we are going to be talking about the loop schedule in regard to our goals and daily routines. I’m a homeschooling mama, and I used to struggle with feeling behind because we weren’t getting everything done every day that I wanted to or that felt I needed to. This probably happened more on the side of the things I felt I needed to get done. There’s that mom guilt.
We place so many lofty expectations on ourselves as mothers, and I can tell you, homeschooling moms place even higher expectations on themselves when it comes to education because their worst fear is doing it wrong or creating an atmosphere where their child falls behind.
I was in that boat. Then I read “Teaching From Rest” by Sarah Mackenzie, which I highly recommend for you homeschooling mamas out there! In it, she shares about loop scheduling for your child’s learning. I had never heard of it before, but it simplified so many things in our own home!
I used to always feel so behind, and I was extremely frustrated when I was homeschooling the boys because I felt like I could never get it all in.
I wasn’t doing science every day. I wasn’t doing history every day. I wasn’t reading with them every day. I wasn’t doing all the things. But then I realized that I homeschool for the flexibility. I do it because I can learn their learning styles and what pace they are at, and I can meet them there.
Some days we might speed through lessons because they kind of know it already, or they easily pick up the concepts, and it becomes more of a review for them. Sometimes a lesson might take three to four days for them to get through, and I have to be okay with that. The point of teaching is for them to find understanding and understand how to learn. If I rush them through the process or a lesson to get it done or check it off, then I have failed them.
So when I learned the art of loop scheduling, our homeschooling changed.
Maybe there are certain subjects that you want to get done every day such as reading or math, but then you take the rest of the subjects, the supplemental things, and put them into what’s known as a loop schedule. You’ll have your set time of learning for the day, and you’ll begin at the top of the loop schedule.
For example, once you’ve finished working on the subjects you do every day, if history is first on the loop schedule, you’d work on history. If you have extra time, you can move onto science, but if you don’t, then you just stop and begin where you left off the next day. Maybe that history lesson is exciting and has so much content that you need a couple of days to dive into it, so you would just continue with it until you hit a stopping point. Then you can move onto the next subject in the loop schedule. Some days you may get through a few subjects, and sometimes you may do one subject for multiple days.
When the allotted time is up for the day, we just stop where we’re at and be done for the day. We don’t worry about what we got done or didn’t get done or if we’re behind or ahead because the next day we just pick up where we left off. If we only did history the day before, then we’d pick up with science the next day. We no longer are ever behind.
This can even work for the subject itself.
You don’t have to finish a lesson each day. Some lessons may take multiple days to work on because the purpose of teaching is to create an understanding in the student and for the student to learn how to learn and to love learning. If we’re rushing through things and not caring if they grasp the concept or not, then we defeat that purpose, and they will not grasp a love for learning.
They will see school work as a checklist that needs to get done, and when it’s done, then they can move onto something else they deem to be fun, like video games. And that will stick with them in the long run. The idea of learning for fun will be a long lost art.
I treat each curriculum book itself the same way.
At the end of the year, do they really have to have each of the books completed? Is that our objective, or is our objective teaching the love of learning and the art of how to learn and doing it at their own pace in their unique learning style? Sometimes we will close up the books if we’re not done with them (because mama needs a summer break too), and the next year, we will pick up where we left off. I don’t necessarily look at the grade level of the book. I look at, did we finish it? If not, that’s okay, we’ll just go back and finish it before we move on to the next one.
I hope that’s making sense to you. Are you getting the idea of what a loop schedule looks like? Because now I want to take you back to our topic for today and show you how that can look in our daily routines.
Just like we shouldn’t feel the pressure of finishing all subjects every day with our children in our homeschool, we shouldn’t feel the pressure to finish all our good habits we want to create every day in our daily routine.
Maybe you have a morning routine or an evening routine. Or maybe you just have certain things you like to get done to grow yourself every day no matter when it happens throughout the day.
The problem with creating these habits is that they can easily become checklist items and lose their intentionality if we’re not careful. We can feel rushed to get them done because we know they are good for our personal growth, or we know that we need to do them to reach our goals. It can become a have-to rather than a love-to. Just as we want to teach our children a love for learning, we should create in ourselves a love for our good habits.
So what if I told you to throw out that checklist you’ve made and create a loop schedule for your habits!
What if I told you that you don’t have to do all 3, 5, 10, 15 things on your list every single day in order to grow yourself and hit your goals? I’m guessing you may have just let out a huge sigh of relief because I know I did. Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves and feel like we have to earn our way to our goals. And, yes, we have to do the work to get there because, without actions, our goals are just wishes.
For a long time, I felt like if I didn’t do every habit on my list every day, then I was doing it wrong, and, therefore, I wouldn’t earn the right to hit my goals. This may sound drastic, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has felt that way.
How many of us do that in our Christian faith where we feel like we have to earn our way to God’s love? If we mess up we are guilt-ridden rather than faith-filled. This mentality is wrong. There is no earning it. You can never be good enough, and you can never give enough to earn His love. His love is unconditional. His mercy is for us. All we have to do is say yes to it. Sometimes that’s a hard concept to grasp.
So back to our daily habits.
Maybe there are certain ones you do want to get done every day. Maybe you want to ensure you get a 30-minute workout in every day, or maybe you want to get a quiet time in every day. These things are your non-negotiables, and you would start with them before moving into your loop schedule.
Sometimes reading takes longer because you really get into it, and you don’t want to stop. Well, with checklist mentality, you’d need to stop right at 15 minutes in order to get everything else on that list done. With loop schedule mentality, you could take the entire time to read if you wanted to because you can move to the next discipline tomorrow without feeling any guilt or condemnation, and without dropping your expectations of personal growth.
And I think one of the most important parts of this is that intentional growth replaces checklist mentality.
You have a busy day, or a curveball is thrown into your day, and you can only get in that one non-negotiable discipline? No problem, just continue with the loop the next day! Pick your non-negotiable and loop the others.
For me, I will not negotiate my time in the Word with the Lord. I need to start my day out that way. I want to fellowship with him and pray and journal my thoughts. So that is the first thing I do, and I work to do it every day. After I finish that time (which can vary every day based on how into it I am), then I move onto the next thing on the loop schedule. If I wake up late because I needed that extra sleep, I don’t have to feel guilty and behind. I can just know the loop schedule is there for me when I can fit it in, whether it is today or if has to wait until tomorrow.
If you keep looping, you’ll never appear to be behind, and it will give you the flexibility to put as much time into each activity as you need or want rather than being rigid about 10-15 minutes per activity to get it all in every day.
Sometimes we’re inspired and not ready to be done in 15 minutes. When that happens, intentionality outrides the schedule. Many times I’m not ready to be done reading the Word in 15 minutes, and I spend my whole hour there!
Do you feel overwhelmed by the daily routine you created and don’t always stick to? Do you find yourself guilt-ridden rather than intentionally growing? Leave the checklist mentality behind and replace it with a system of progression and intentional habits.
A loop schedule for your daily routine takes all the habits and routines you want to develop and turns them into a system that works. Each morning, in whatever time you have, you can work on the first habit on the schedule. Take your time, do it well, and make it intentional. If more time allows, then you can move onto the next habit. When time’s up, just stop. Start up again tomorrow where you left off. There’s no more 15 minutes of this and 15 minutes of that. Now you can take your time with each habit, and you can get excited about that time. Isn’t that such a weight off your shoulders?
So, now, how do you create this schedule?
First, you’ll choose the disciplines and habits you want to create in your life. It doesn’t really matter how many. Three, five, ten. I’d probably keep it under ten, though. Here are some ideas of habits you may want to add to your loop: Workout, read, listen to success podcasts, dive into the Word, pray, speak affirmations, journal, take a bath, go for a walk, talk with your accountability partner, learn a foreign language, visualize your goal, or reflect and make adjustments to your goal.
When choosing your habits and daily routines, it’s important to decide for yourself what areas you want to grow in and what habits will bring you closer to your goals. And once you’ve chosen them, write up a schedule. If you have any non-negotiables that you want to do every day, put them on top labeled non-negotiable. Then label the rest of them as a loop schedule. You can place the list in a page protector and use a dry erase marker to mark off the habits as you do them. Then you’ll always see where you are at and what you’ll work on next.
Once you’ve gotten through the loop, erase and begin again. Who cares if it takes you one day, two days, or a whole week to finish the list? What matters is that you’re creating these disciplines in your life, and your making them a natural and intentional part of your routine.
Goodbye checklist mentality! Hello, intentional living!
I’d love to hear how it goes for you. If you create a loop schedule and begin practicing it, drop me a message to let me know how it’s working for you. What are you learning? I’m active in my messages on Instagram @redhotmindset, or feel free to just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. One thing you have to know about me is that I am the only one in my messages and inbox. I don’t have an assistant working for me in there, and I do this intentionally because I want you to hear directly from me, and I want to be the one building the relationships. So when you message me, know that it’s actually going to me and not a third party.
Let’s continue this conversation of loop scheduling for our daily habits and go deeper! If you’re not in the Red Hot Winners Community on Facebook, come join us there! It’s a great place to dive deeper into the podcast discussions and connect with others who are going after goals of their own. We have created community, accountability, and a support in this engaging group. Head over to www.facebook.com/groups/redhotwinners to join in the conversation.
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