I was always an avid believer that without a plan in place, it could only lead you into the midst of chaos. That if you don’t know where you are going, how do you expect to get there. Every ‘i’ was to be dotted, as was every ‘t’ to be crossed. This planning has served me well in being organised in my career, in my personal life and especially in motherhood. Every plan was attached to a goal and it worked like clockwork - until it didn’t!
So, when didn’t planning and goal setting work? When life happened… and I forgot how to roll with the punches. When I realised the moment something was out of my control, I felt like I had no control. It became a battle that couldn’t be won. I realised I was planning to try to control what life was throwing at me and it was a wonderful realisation. Why? Because I knew instinctually that you simply cannot control what happens in this life. This set me back on the path to freedom and fun again.
Like anything is this life, it is all about balance. Being organised is a great skill to have. Having an ideal diary and plan in place is also great. Be it at work, home or both, so long as it is not to used to the extreme.
So how do you know if you are planning to procrastinate, to control or planning for productivity? Some self-checking hints and tips below;
Know your values and goals
I’m sure you have heard this over and over, and that is because it matters to so many aspects of your life. There is certainly some truth in knowing where you are going, the trick is to not to try and control the steering wheel so much on the way to getting there.
Plan a First Draft
If you’ve read my previous blogs, I’m a big fan of the ‘ideal diary’. Whereby you plan out how you’d prefer (key word) your week to go and do you best to stick to it. It is basically a first draft plan, which makes it a little more flexible, so you don’t have to over plan or beat yourself up if you don’t get to the massive to do list.
Plan for no plans
It sounds strange to schedule in spontaneity, but if you don’t, you will likely plan your life away. Give pockets of time for yourself daily, weekly and yearly.
Plan for timeframes
Almost everything is never as urgent as it first seems. Be sure you are not taking on too much of the unimportant or future-self jobs. Work towards the progress principle and you can free yourself from the busyness trap.
Plan for purpose
Does your planning cover things you need to get done, or are you simply filling out your day with busyness? If you are planning out your day, make sure each task has a genuine purpose or end goal, otherwise you will likely struggle to feel accomplished.
Plan for action
For every plan put in place, attach an action to it. You may be planning for an overseas holiday, but until you book the travel agents and start making payments, it’s not a plan, it’s a dream or wish.
Plan for assistance
Who says because you are making the plans you need to do all the work? Outsourced! Delegate! Get a cleaner, a lawn mower guy, EA, VA, PA, whatever works for you and your life/budget. Most people dread planning because they feel they will be planning more work for themselves, when in fact you can identify when the task can be handed over.
If you plan to make plans, all you are doing is making plans. If you want to be productive and progress your goal, the key is plan effectively rather than make yourself unnecessarily busy.