How to Plan for Success

You may have heard the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” And I thoroughly agree.

I learned the importance of planning and scheduling while I was in college and raising two kiddos. Since then I’ve always been a planner.

Why?

  • Because planning keeps me focused and on target with my goals and what needs to be done. I know where I am going and the steps to get me there.
  • It alleviates stress. By planning, and having things written down, I don’t have to think about it and I can use mental energy on more important things than my to do list.
  • Planning and scheduling helps me set boundaries and keep my priorities straight. It makes me sure I don’t overbook myself, or add unnecessary, non-essential items into my day and life.
  • Planning sets me up for success – whether in my personal life or business. Planning has helped me achieve and be able to run a business, make time for self-care and hobbies, and time for my family and loved ones.

These are just some of the benefits of planning and scheduling, and today I’ll share with you how I plan for a successful day, month, and year. Now if you’ve never really been a planner/scheduler before, don’t be daunted. It may seem complex at first and it does take time to set up. But after the set up, then it’s just making minor adjustments as needed.

Tools you need:

  • Large blank whiteboard
  • Small blank whiteboard
  • Monthly whiteboard
  • Various colored dry markers (I like the medium to thin ones – but that’s just because I’m a sloppy writer)🤪
  • your phone (if desired)
  • a Kitchen Timer (optional, but seriously recommended)
  • A Full Focus Planner- the best planner that I have ever used (and I’ve used a lot of planners in the past 30 years)
  • An afternoon for set up

Your Annual Goals and Weekly Schedule

On the small planner, list your yearly goals. Include business, personal, and financial goals. Whatever areas in your life that you want to achieve success in.

For the super achiever, number them in order of importance along with the quarter/date you plan to start and the quarter/date you intend to complete.

On the large board list your average daily schedule with times. Include meal times, exercise times, morning and evening routines, etc. If you work outside the home, you’ll block off those times (make sure to add in enough time for your commute). I have created set times for all I do in the day. My “Tasks” are different each day, but the time I do my “tasks” is the same each day.

Make sure you keep a margin – some breathing room in your day between activities for things that come up unexpectedly. For example, you’ll see that between my morning routine (5:30-7:30am) and workout/yoga time (8:30-9:30am), I have an hour of margin. I will also plan for something to go longer (usually 15mins longer) than I know it takes to do (such as lunch, teaching a class, etc.). This again gives me breathing room in case something comes up or I just need a little down time to rejuvenate between activities. You have to add flexibility into your schedule – be firm but not rigid; committed but not obsessive. 🤪

And also understand that no day is perfect. Things come up, and goals change, or our lives take on a different season. And that’s okay. We’re human after all. But the schedule you set should work for you the majority of the time, and if it doesn’t, then just adjust it until it does. I’m always making adjustments to my weekly schedule. You wont know until you start working the schedule. What looks great on paper (or whiteboard) you may find doesn’t work in real life. So, again, just adjust until it works. And don’t get frustrated with yourself. You haven’t failed if it doesn’t work right away. It’s a process, so be patient. All you got to do is just get started.

Now this is the important part!! No plan works if you don’t work the plan! I use to keep my schedule only on my phone or in a written planner, but I found I wouldn’t always look at it. By putting my schedule and my goals in a place I see regularly – I can’t miss it. It’s there to remind me. I have these planners hanging on a wall in my home office. But in a bathroom, kitchen, etc., works too – wherever you’ll notice it throughout your day. Side note: having your schedule visible also helps set boundaries with loved ones. They can see when you are and are not available. 😀

** If you do work outside the home, and you are able, you may want to do this for your work schedule as well.


Monthly Schedule

The monthly schedule is where I list important meetings, appointments, etc. for the month. Then I sit down with hubby once a week (usually Sundays) and we review our upcoming week and put it on the schedule. Pretty simple and I keep this on the counter in my kitchen so we can see it every morning when getting our coffee.

Finally, I set my schedule on my phone. While I don’t rely on my phone (A: Because I forget to look at it; or B: I’ll look at it and find myself 20 mins later scrolling Instagram. UGH! ) But, I do put my daily schedule/appointments on my phone with alarms set. This is just another opportunity to keep me on point if I’m out of the house.

The Use of a simple Kitchen Timer

Now, if you’re anything like me, you can get started on a project in the morning and not come up for air until its past dinnertime. By using a timer, I set the amount of time I’ve allotted for that activity and once it goes off, I’m done. Now, I admit, sometimes I will reset it for an extra 5 mins, but I have gotten much better at sticking to the time limits I set.

The Full Focus Planner

I use my Full Focus Planner to write down the details of my day – such as what “tasks” need to be done. But the Full Focus planner is so much more than a to do list. It’s a full system for creating productivity – not just in my work, but in my life. It helps me define and streamline my yearly goals and plan the essential steps to achieve them. The Full Focus Planner is my workspace that all my other planning and scheduling hinges on. It’s where I do my deep thinking. My deep planning. My why for what I want and my how to get there. It’s where I set up my Daily Routines, my quarterly milestones, the next steps on key projects, and even my rejuvenation and self-care. It’s my planning bible. I can’t recommend it enough!

Well, if you stuck around and finished this post, it means I didn’t set your head spinning. Again, don’t get daunted. Once you’ve started planning and scheduling, it gets easier and you’ll make it your own. The biggest thing is to stay flexible. As I said it’s a process – a lifelong one. Enjoy it – and the productivity and success you create along the way!

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