I have tried using strict schedules to manage my days, schedules like the ones suggested in Mothers Rule of Life or Managers of Their Homes. I think formulating a well thought out schedule can be very helpful, but around here, with three kids four and under and big kids with lots of activities and outside work, strict scheduling can be frustrating. What I have found workable is to have a routine where some things are scheduled, meals perhaps, or outside the house commitments, or wake times, or bedtimes, but most things are routinized. By routinized I mean if we are out late the night before, perhaps the kids can sleep a little longer, but the tasks for morning and breakfast remain the same. Dinner and bedtimes can be shifted as needed too, but the routines and tasks that belong to each remain. This way our days follow a predictable sequence of events, but if the demands of life necessitate us shifting some things around, it still works without everything falling apart.
So, roughly, our days look like this:
Breakfast and morning tasks
Lunch and noon tasks
Quiet time/reading time/NAPS
Snack and afternoon tasks
Dinner and evening tasks
I assign particular tasks for each child, and it seems to work to have chores at the same time as meals, some before, like picking up the clutter, some after, like dishes or laundry. This seems to work for us as we can get a lot done, but aren't tied to getting them all done at an exact time, as each day is different.