I think by know you have all realized that I am a big believer in planning. I have talked in many of my blogs about the importance of planning, and how good planning allows you to achieve your goals. I have also been asked many times how I go about my planning, so today I want to share with you my planning techniques......and these have been gathered throughout many years of trying to figure out what works best for me and my lifestyle.
- planner - one of the most important things is to figure out what kind of planner / system do you want to use. There are so many possibilities out there from paper to digital, but it is important to try out a few and decide for yourself what works best for you. I personally still use a paper agenda.
- format - here as well there are many different formats - daily, weekly, etc overviews. I personally use weekly overview (on 2 pages), and for me it is important that the days are vertically listed - this allows me to see my whole week at once, and also I know right away what times of the day are busy, etc. In addition to that I also have an yearly overview in the beginning of my planner - this allows me to see right away any events, vacations, etc happening throughout the year.
- size - if you go for a paper planner / agenda it is important to decide on the size. I used to have an A4 one, and although I loved how much space I had, it was so big and heavy that it was difficult to carry around everywhere. So since almost 10 years now I have been using midi size (9.5cm x 17cm) - it is compact and I can put it in my purse and take it along anywhere.
- system - I have so many different activities, that I am using different color for each activity - this way I can see right away how my week looks like in terms of our son, our daughter, my business, my blog, workouts, socializing and simple errands (my husband is always laughing at this part.....but that's what works for me;)
- planning - in terms of the actual planning I go as follows:
- each Sunday afternoon or evening I take anywhere between 20 to 45min to plan my week ahead (yes, with all the different colors!) - meanwhile this has become always as meditation:)
- I have found out that the most effective way for me when planning my week, is to go by activity - first come the activity with the kids, my workouts, business, blog, etc
- meanwhile I have a very good feeling of how much I can actually manage each day, but I want to stress that it is extremely important to be realistic. Don't plan too much (especially in the beginning until you get a feel), as you end up getting frustrated with yourself.....in the beginning try to distribute your To Do's, and if you see that you have time for one or another activity that particular day, then just do it
- what works for me is really to write every little To Do out - it might sound funny, but I even write down when I will do grocery, wire the invoices, etc
- at the end of the day, I always have a look at what is planned for the following day, and see if anything else needs to be added. This also helps me kind of mentally prepare for the next day
Please remember that we are all different, and what works for me, might not necessarily work for you! There are many techniques out there - from paper, to electronic - and I think that just like with everything else, it is important that everyone figures out for themselves what is the best technique for me personally........what works best for me. For those of you who are not big planning fans, I challenge you to give it a try....like everything else it needs some practice and getting used to in the beginning, but soon enough you will realize how beneficial and helpful this tool is.
Photo by © tonda55 / Fotolia.com