In this weeks blog, I’m sharing my top tips to plan effectively so that you can prioritise more time for what’s important in your life, how I plan my diary and one very key lesson I learned years ago, which I still use today.
How do you plan?
Are you an electronic diary kind of person or, like me, love to have a pretty planner..? Or several..?
Whilst this may seem excessive, I’m yet to find a planner that ticks all my boxes – so I use two or three. One for the home and my interiors projects, one for my Blogs and Missions and one for my Fitness and Wellbeing Goals including the “everyday” . The dream is to take all the aspects I love about the planners I use and add my own little spin. Wonder if you can guess what I’d add? Do you think if I make a wish, it might just happen..?
“The key is not to prioritise what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
I have used the diaries and calendar from Boxclever Press for years, in fact am sure I was one of their first customers the year they launched which coincided with me becoming a new mum. Writing the important things down is key to managing my time effectively.
I was delighted recently when they asked me to review their new academic diary and calendar for 2021 / 2022 and share with you how I use them and what works for me. These planners are as close to perfect as I can get. They have everything for me as a busy mum of teens and and help me plan my writing and goals effectively.
The new school term for me is a perfect time for a new focus, and yes with that, a new planner! There’s something about having a new pencil case and notebook to reignite the passion around your working life, home life and yes, planning the final quarter of the year, all whilst wondering how that time has passed so quickly!
The planning starts for me before the Autumn term begins. I’m not sure what it’s like in your house but as the school summer term finishes, my inbox starts to flood with fixtures and dates for the new term. As a swim mum, this includes swimming fixtures as the season runs from late August through to the following summer.
Getting everything in place from dates to labelling the school uniform, early in the school summer holidays, means I can relax that little bit more without too many shocks the week before the new school year begins!
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”
Look after the big rocks first.
The same year I became a first-time mum, I attended a Franklin Covey course on time and life management. There began my love for Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits for Highly Effective People. The biggest lightbulb moment was to look after the Big Rocks first.
The Big Rocks are the things in your life that are MOST important, they go in your planner first. It sounds a simple thing to do, but how many times when we are in the thick of life, we can revert to reactive living and not proactive. With a planner that works for you together with effective planning, life really does seem that much more manageable.
My Top Tips to Effective Planning:
Find a planner that works for you. it sounds really obvious but get to know it, spend time looking at all its functions so you are able to use it to your best advantage.
Put the big rocks in first, including YOU time – book it like an appointment. You wouldn’t miss you appointmentt for your car to have an MOT. Book them in for you too! Easier said than done I know, however practise makes perfect!
Create a system; with pens, stickers, whatever works for you to highlight the important appointments and fixtures that matter.
Create time for a Power of an Hour each day. Having focused time to work on ONE thing, working with intention and without distraction, it’s incredible what you can achieve.
Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail! It’s the little things that have a huge effect on the big things, so simple but true. So plan ahead – if you’re planning on working out first thing in the morning, prepare ahead by getting your kit ready the night before.
Consider how you can limit any stresses that come your way. What do you need in place to limit any stresses that may come your way? As a stationary lover, having a box of birthday and celebration cards to hand is always helpful with children in the house.
Each Sunday, I spend a little time getting prepared for my week ahead. This involves looking at my planner, doing a diary check with the family. Adding and taking out what can help and hinder the week ahead. I confirm my workouts, plan the weekly menu, including the shopping list and print my Consistency Checklist for the week ahead. I’ve created some free downloads which might help you.
“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically, to say “no” to other things.
Let’s be real.
Trying to plan effectively and having systems in place, are all well and good, but let’s be honest and realistic for a moment, life happens! We can plan for most things, yet curveballs can occur which will send us out of kilter. We’ve certainly learned that in the last year haven’t we?
We all know that it is how we respond to these circumstances that matter so please be kind to yourself. If you drop the ball, that’s ok. I truly hope that sharing some of the things that work for me, help you too. Be kind to yourself and put things in place that work for you.
Sending love as always,