Whether you like every detail of your day mapped out or only need a general idea of what’s happening, no matter which style you prefer, you only need 3 things to plan it well. The only goal is to know each day what you have to do.
I love to map out my life, the next few months, even the year. I jot down ideas of what I need to do, should do or could do. I make lists and plan out the months, the week, right down to the day and my routines. I like paper, pens, and notebooks, it’s all delightful to me.
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Then there’s my husband who doesn’t like planning much at all but he has to for work and home. He appreciates the skill of those who do it well because it doesn’t come naturally to him. He works at it so that he gets at least the essentials done.
Because of this huge difference between us, I have come to believe that there are only 3 items that are truly needed if you want to succeed at planning. You don’t need all the bells and whistles, but you do need these 3.
AS LONG AS YOU HAVE THESE YOU’RE SET
Your life is made up of different areas of time. The yearly calendar has set it up for us already so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
These are 3 areas you have to find a place to track, FUTURE, PRESENT AND RIGHT NOW
1. FUTURE / YEARLY CALENDAR
An annual wall planner. Big picture, birds-eye view of your year. You should be able to see at a glance exactly when big events are on or busy times are happening.
RECORD TO REMEMBER REPEATING ANNUAL TASKS & EVENTS
- Family Birthdays
- Holidays / Annual Leave
It can be either on your phone or on the wall. You might choose to have everything on a wall planner but have Birthday reminders in your phone. You can do a mix of both but decide on what you will do and stick with it.
2. THE PRESENT / THIS MONTH
A desk diary or electronic calendar app that has more details of activities than your annual wall calendar does.
You’re expanding a portion of the yearly view and zooming in a little. You can add more detail to the tasks and activities; names, times and other information to note.
This can be either electronic on your computer screen where you can see a month at a glance or in a desk diary that opens to the month view and you write them in manually.
Decide whether you will carry a diary with you or if you will take a note of the details and add them later?
You might decide to add items to your electronic monthly calendar using your phone.
3. RIGHT NOW / WEEKLY
Here you have a layout of weekly tasks that need to be done. A loose notepad plan on your desk, a paper diary or electronic one on your computer.
EITHER REPEATING EVERY WEEK TASKS OR EVENTS FROM YOUR YEAR OR MONTH VIEW COMING UP
- Phone calls
- Family Activities
- Clubs, Sports, Lessons
Routine, regular weekly tasks
You will rely on the information you have on your monthly calendar which needs to be incorporated into your week. Take the information each week from your monthly calendar and allocate time for your meetings, deadlines and other tasks that apply to this current week.
I could go into detail about planning out your day from the weekly layout but there are a lot of things that make this different for each person. You can plan out your day as much or as little as you want to as long as you are organised and prepared for the tasks and events that are happening.
- A MAP OF THE YEAR; birds-eye view – wall planner
- MONTHLY layout for future planning, ideas, details, more specific about things you need to remember are coming up
- DAILY details are your friend, task management and time blocking to make sure your week can go smoothly
ONE FINAL THING YOU MUST DO
You don’t need anything else, but there is ONE thing you must do or none of your planning will work for you at all.
It’s a regular check of your calendar. Specifically, it must be checked weekly, either at the start or end of the week.
Look at your 3 areas of planning, the overview of the year, this month, and checking your weekly activities.
It’s really the only thing remaining that is completely up to you whether your tasks are done or not. Checking your planning and setting aside time to do things is one thing, but ultimately you have to actually DO the work.