How to Make Visual Schedule Magnets
Something I had a difficult time coming to terms with due to internalized ableism ("I should be able to do xyz") is the fact that taking care of my home is hard. Executive dysfunction makes things like getting myself organized, prioritizing, transitions, time management, and "getting things done" a major struggle. I have an idea of what needs to be done, but to get from point A to the finish line feels like walking through a thick fog while tripping over gnarled tree roots protruding from the muddy ground.
About a year ago I discovered Struggle Care which changed my life (you might be familiar with DomesticBlisters on TikTok). KC Davis' words of wisdom helped guide me to a place where I am no longer chasing after the dream of a clean home and instead focus on making my space functional so that it serves me.
This process has helped me release shame and self-judgment around what I believed my home "should" look like. I felt like I finally was given permission to take care of my home in a way that actually works for me. (You mean I don't have to fold my clothes?! Thank you!)
Due to the sudden tragic death of a family member last summer, everything went off the rails. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I was finally able to get back into my Struggle Care routine, but it still felt hard. I wasn't sure what I needed to shift, I just knew it needed to.
Visual schedule magnets for a functional home
Fast forward to this past week when I was listening to the newest episode of Catie & Erik's Infinite Quest: An ADHD Adventure. On this episode Catie interviewed KC Davis and in their conversation KC talked about chore magnets she ordered after being inspired by a book she read called Fair Play by Eve Rodsky.
I, in turn, was inspired to create my own visual schedule magnets for care tasks and responsibilities. I immediately ordered wooden square pieces and adhesive magnets. I first made a list of all of the magnets that would be helpful to have. I then took to Canva where I designed my visual schedule magnets. I printed them out on cardstock and cut and glued them to the wooden pieces. (I considered using sticker labels but I have a hard time getting the template lined up to print out correctly).
I have links to the magnet templates I created listed below (jump to Magnet Templates).
Setting up the magnets
I created visual schedule magnets for my son's morning routine, closing duties, bedtime routine, and then for activities that are happening day-to-day (like swimming, friend time, etc). His magnets are separated into sections on his own white board. I'm contemplating using a Sharpie to draw squares under each magnet for him to move them into once they are completed, but I can't get myself to commit to permanent marker just yet.
My spouse and I have magnets for our care tasks / responsibilities, and I have my closing duties (“closing duties” and “care tasks” are terms from Struggle Care). I don't have any specific times attached to these because I feel too boxed in if I do that. We have ours on the refrigerator so that they are prominent and don't fade into the background.
Under ‘This Week’ I have care tasks / responsibilities that are assigned to each day of the week. This way household members can grab ones they feel like they can take care of so I’m not the only one doing everything. But also it helps me remember what I need to do to keep my home functional.
This visual schedule setup has been tremendously helpful. My son likes knowing what to expect and will reference his magnets. For me, I like that it’s visual and I can see when I’m taking on too much. I can easily move things around.
I still use the Tiimo app for my morning routine because it keeps me from getting stuck on one thing or from forgetting important things (like taking my medication). But I like the magnets for the care tasks / responsibilities / day-to-day things.
Here is what I used to create my visual schedule magnets:
- 160 Pieces 1.5 x 1.5 Inches Unfinished Squares Blank Wooden Pieces
- 120 Pieces Round Magnets with Adhesive Backing
- Glue stick or Modge Podge
Here are a few magnet templates you are welcome to use. You can upload the JPG version of the blank template to Canva and fill it in on there. (I'm most familiar with Canva but do whatever works best for you!) Scaling it down to 75 in my print settings worked best to have them fit how I wanted on 1-1/2" wooden squares.
Here's some examples of the magnets I made if you're having a hard time coming up with what to put on yours!
Child's Closing Duties Magnets
- Clear table
- Pick up toys
- Put books away
- Put shoes away
- Dirty clothes in hamper
My Closing Duties Magnets
- Take PM medication
- Load dishwasher
- Put water in the coffee pot
- Wipe counters
- Take dog potty
- Check the mail
Scheduled Care Tasks Magnets
Note: I only spend 10 minutes at the most on each of these.
- Monday: vacuum
- Tuesday: clean bathroom (toilets, shower, mirrors etc.)
- Wednesday: change litterbox
- Thursday: clean living room (mirrors, windows, dust, etc.)
- Friday: laundry
- Saturday: change sheets
- Sunday: refill medications for the week ahead (which also includes checking to see if any need to be refilled via the pharmacy)
Sunday is also the day I typically find dinner recipes, do the grocery shopping (we typically use grocery delivery because it's what is most functional for me), and clean out any remaining leftovers from the fridge that have gone bad.
And remember this isn't about getting your home "clean", it's about making it functional which looks different for each person. The way KC Davis explains closing duties is doing a kindness to our future selves so that our tomorrow self has a functional space to be in.