As discussed last week, I’d like to talk about some skills and strategies for your career and life that will set the foundation for a successful 2019!
The first of these skills that I’d like to talk about is planning. I’m going to share some of the tips and strategies that I use for laying out my plan so that I know what I need to tackle each and every day. This methodology works for me, and I encourage you to give it a shot and see if it works for you too!
First, I like to do high level planning using my monthly desk calendar. I break my planning down by terms for school, which for me is 2 months at a clip. Use whatever span of time works for you. For most people a month at a time would probably make sense.
On the calendar I make note of all of the due dates for assignments and discussions for class.
Next, I’ll put in family obligations (parties, parent-teacher nights, date nights) as well as any events for my day job that fall outside of normal working hours.
Last I’ll put my client calls for my coaching business on the calendar. I like to see all of the high-level items in one place.
Next comes the weekly planning.
On a weekly basis, I’ll make a master list of everything I need to get done in the four areas of my life: school, business, work, and home.
This is my brain dump of everything that has to get done that week.
It’s really important to get all of those to-dos out of your head and written down somewhere that you can keep track of them.
They take up too much valuable brain space, and they act kind of like an app running in the background. All of the to-dos use up your battery if they’re all just hanging out in your mind.
I like to use 4X6 sticky post-its in pretty colors, one color per area (school, business, work, and home). I keep these master lists and plan my days out using these.
And then! Now this part is critical…I schedule out each day down to the half hour.
Ok, at this point you’re definitely thinking I’m insane, but listen, it works. I put down all of the meetings for work, all of the commitments from my monthly calendar, and then pick out the priorities from my master lists and it all gets scheduled into the daily planner.
Literally everything goes in there. All together. My commute, picking up the kids from daycare, exercise, and rest all go in along with the actual time to work on each of my to-dos. Both for the week days and the weekend. This allows me to see, realistically, what I can get done every day.
I do my planning on paper, so the master lists get stuck on the page in my planner opposite of whatever day I’m on. This way if something takes me shorter than I had expected, or I end up with a cancelled meeting I always know what to-dos are next on deck.
Once you put something on your calendar, commit to sticking with it. This is where discipline comes in. We’ll talk about discipline soon as well.
And listen, of course life happens. You’re not always going to be able to execute on your plan perfectly. But with this methodology you’ll know exactly what you need to do to get back on track.
This may seem like a lot of work, but having a strong plan in place is the start to actually making progress on goals and giving yourself that amazing feeling of accomplishment! Also, doing the planning work up front will help you save time down the road when you’re actually executing tasks since you don’t have to decide on the spot what you should do next. You’ve already batched your decision making and your tasks are as good as done!