Planning. Planning is by far one of the most important areas in our daily lives in order to keep us focused and dedicated to the right direction. However, planning only works if you are determined to actually use your plan and keep up with it. Life can get crazy, but no matter how crazy it gets if you have a plan you’ll be able to make it through.
- Planning For The Long Term
When you are planning anything from your day to your week, it’s essential to know where you want to be going. If you do not know long term plans, you will never be able to figure out what you need to do on the short term scale. The daily is influenced by the yearly. In order to plan effectively, you need to dream about the future. For the first step of planning, look at your ten year goals, your five year goals, and your three year goals. Once you have a basic understanding of the direction you are heading towards long term, you can better prepare for the present. Also handy tip, work from ten years down, each new area of planning should be breaking those ten year goals into smaller steps.
- Planning For The Year
The next area you want to plan for is your year. Now that you have your three, five, and ten year goals planned out, it’s time to narrow those down into the steps you can take this year to get closer to reaching them. These are steps with a deadline, a deadline that does not necessarily have to be in December. You can have a goal for this year that could be accomplished by June. Deadlines help you understand when you want to have certain things finished, they help you know when to focus on a specific area. Be sure to note that we often over estimate how much we can do in one year and underestimate what we can do in two or three years. It can be helpful to extend some of your 2020 goals to 2021 or 2022 for the sake of your sanity and your schedule.
- Planning For The Quarters
By now you can see where I am going with these planning points. After you’ve established your long term goals and your more short-term goals, it’s time to break them down ever further. Separate some of your goals into different quarter, limit the amount of time spent focusing on everything all at once. Divide your goals so you can dedicate more of your attention to one area. Multitasking is possible, but if you are truly working towards some larger goals you will accomplish more in the long run if you hone your attention in on just a couple things.
- Planning For The Month
Now that you understand what you want to do in the current quarter, look to the month you are in. There are only so many days in a month, it is best if we plan what we want to do in those coming days ahead of time. That way, when we get into a new month we know exactly what we want to accomplish, instead of trying to figure it out as you go along and suddenly it’s the last day of the month and you haven’t really accomplished anything. A lot can happen in a month, but only if it is planned out ahead of time.
- Planning For The Week
Narrowing it down ever further, we have reached a specific week. A week holds only seven days, but those seven days can be incredibly productive. We have reached a period of time that also reflects certain habits we want to form, there are a lot of things that can be done every week that need to be written down for them to be done. It’s all about narrowing it down further and further until you can get to the very small intentional steps that will eventually come together to create those five and ten year goals. When it comes to weekly, I really like to have the next few weeks already planned out that way I can look ahead and add things that pop up to these short-term plans.
- Planning For The Day
This is what it all comes down to. The ten years, five years, three years, one year, four quarters, months, and weeks all come down to a single thing: the day. The single most important part of the planning process that cannot be planned out appropriately without all the other plans backing it. The daily plan comes in the form of a to do list. It has the daily habits and the days events. You can see exactly what need to do done in order to get you to the next step. If you cannot tackle a days tasks, you will never be anywhere closer to reaching those long-term goals. We must narrow down each layer until we have a list of tasks that can be done within a 24 hours time frame.
This is how I plan. I start big and I narrow down. For me personally, I love handwritten plans when it comes to the monthly, weekly, and daily. I have three notebooks open at all time, that sit just to my left at my desk. They are kept open to the month I am in, the week I am in, and the day I am in. That way whenever I question what needs to be done, I need not do more than look over and see exactly what steps need to be taken in order to be that much closer to my dreams.
The key, however, to planning is flexibility. Although you need to have plans, you have to be willing to alter them when something comes up, because something always does. Life is never certain and therefore we have to be willing to alter our plans when the time comes. It is a simple truth about life that must be accepted. But never underestimate the power of planning everything out, from ten years down to the currently 24 hours, every second counts. What will you being doing with the time you have?
Until Next Time,