When it comes to planning your day, how much is too much or not enough when it comes to making a plan you can stick with?
Two comments I hear the most are, “I don’t know what to focus on” and “I have sooooo much to do and not enough time to do it”. It not just from friends, colleagues or my clients, I’ve said them too.
Not knowing what to focus on can keep us stuck, lost in distractions + chasing shiny objects in the hope they will give us the direction we long for.
While that overwhelming feeling of having sooooo much to do can see our schedules bursting at the seems as we try to do ‘all the things’ and often all at once.
These are the results of too little or too much planning.
It may sound a little bit like the Goldilocks and the Three Bears but when you have a just right plan, you’ll have a plan you can stick with.
You’ll be focused, more easily avoid distractions, be less likely to be overwhelm, and you’ll be energised as you enjoy getting things done.
So what’s the secret for this just right planning?
Let’s take a look at 5 essentials strategies that will help you make a just right plan you can stick with.
5 ‘just right’ planning strategies
There are 5 essential strategies that will help you make a plan you can stick with. And it doesn’t matter is you’re a digital or paper planner, prefer time blocking or todo lists.
Using these essential 5 will free you from overwhelm, distraction and help you avoid burnout!
Set aside time to plan
There are two key times for planning that are essential if you want to make a plan you can more easily stick with … weekly and daily.
First, each Sunday we cook breakfast together as a family and take turns leading our weekly meeting.
What started a handful of year ago as a way to make the most of our time when our car was in repair for almost a month, has turned into one of our favourite + tasty traditions.
We can’t imagine trying to live a life of purpose without this essential activity.
Part two of this strategy is the daily check in. Knowing what we are going to work on tomorrow has become just as important. It helps to get the important things done and stick with our plans.
Identify your big rocks
Just like at the start of a new year, put the big rocks on your calendar at your weekly meeting. This makes filling in the details so much easier.
And it makes it easier to ensure you get the important things done.
Your big rocks may be family time, appointments, meetings, routines and projects you’re working on. And don’t forget to add rest, I’ll talk about that one in a moment.
I see big rocks as a snapshot of my vision, like a road map for where I’m going. And when I have some space time I know just what to work on because I know what my big rocks are.
Plan work, rest + play
This one’s just as it sounds. ‘Just right’ planning isn’t just about getting work done. It’s about living a balanced life.
Planning work, rest + play is essential if you really want to get things done and enjoy life. What’s the point of getting all those todo’s done if you don’t have time for anything or anyone else?
Work, rest + play … they’re three parts of a whole.
Focusing on work without rest, leaves you feeling worn out and can lead to burn out. Without room for play there’s little room for creativity and new ideas to shine through when you need them.
So if you’re feeling stuck or a little frustrated, maybe you need some more play in your day.
And too much play without getting things done leaves you feeling empty and void of purpose. After being a graphic designer for the past two decades I agree with Solomon, enjoying our work is a blessing from God. (Ecc 2:24) It’s taken me a long time to learn to schedule + enjoy rest + play. And I’m so glad I did or I wouldn’t have given myself opportunity to enjoy a lazy day in school holidays with my son, meet up for our regular day in the city with my sister or enjoy lunch chatting with friends.
So do yourself and your todo list a favour … schedule some work, rest + play!
Leave some margin in your schedule
This strategy is super important if you’d like to enjoy doing what you need to do each day. And it’s the secret to avoiding overwhelm, feeling stressed out and worn out.
Making sure there’s some margin, or white space in your schedule gives you room to breath. This isn’t your rest or play time. It’s blank by design.
It’s how we can handle the unexpected things life throws our way with more peace and calm than if our schedule was jam packed from morning till night.
Recently I needed to create a new time map of my week. I wanted to set some new revenue goals and business consulting packages. So I needed to get clear about how much time I have in a week for the different parts of my business.
By design I purposefully decided to leave an hour of my day unplanned.
When a friend rings, I know that I have time to walk out of the office and sit in the back yard to focus on them for that call. And when my husband comes home from work I can stop for a quick chat and catch up. Those few minutes have become a special part of my day. And it’s all because I decided to leave some white space in my schedule.
If you are blessed at the end of your day and find you have some extra time in your, enjoy it! … share it those you love. I guarantee that time invested with them will return more joy to your life and crossing off one more thing on your todo list ever could.
Consider margin one of your big rocks and schedule it in.
Create habits to make it easy to follow through
Just like weekly and daily planning, creating habits makes it so much easier to follow through on your plans.
The reason it’s so much easier is that when your brain makes taking action automatic, you no longer use energy trying to decide if you’ll do something or not. You brain is always looking to conserve energy, it’s why it makes habits out of our repetitive actions.
And if you haven’t already made the decision to follow through ahead of time I can almost guarantee you won’t. It’s in our nature to choose comfort over effort. It saves us energy.
My daily routines are entered around the person I want and need to BE to have the kind of business + life I want.
My non-negotiable make it easy for me to feed my :
- body with water, a healthy breakfast + exercise
- soul with learning + laughter
- spirit with prayer + gratitude
- day with intentional plans
No matter what the day brings give yourself the best opportunity to handle it the best way you can, and not from a place that’s dry, weary and worn.
So make it easy to follow through on the important stuff, like exercise, drinking enough water, growing your faith and planning your day, by making it a habit.
You’ll thank yourself later!
Success comes when you #takeAction
Two verses come to mind that remind me of the importance of not only having a plan but one that will help us finish strong.
- Without a vision, people perish. (Prov 29:18)
- Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost before you build. (Luke 14:28).
Use these 5 strategies for just right planning and make a plan you can stick with.
- Set aside time to plan : weekly and daily
- Identify your big rocks for the week
- Plan work, rest + play
- Leave some margin in your schedule
- Create habits to make it easy to follow through
It’s time to flourish!
Choose your planner in store and make a plan that you can stick with!