May 8

Are You Working Your Plan? Um, Do You Have a Plan?

Time Management

1  comments

Every morning when we get up, my husband asks me the same thing: "What's the plan?".

He assumes that I have the day planned out, and he wants to know what his plan of action is so he can get ready. I do have the day planned out - most of the time. Lately, it's been a little hard. You know what I mean.

My planner

But I do plan my days, and sometimes, if I know he's going to be home, he's included. (Years ago I told him that he never thinks of me when he wants to have fun; that's for his friends. Well, ever since then, every trip to the gas station, the hardware store, you name it - has included me. Not what I meant.)

Planners are a big part of my life. They always have been. Well, at least since I got myself and my home organized and found out how important they can be to the process.

Do you have a planner that you use regularly? You really should. Even if it's your phone. If that works for you, great! I have tried and tried to make my phone work for me as a planner, but the fact is that I really love paper and pen. I love technology too, but I just haven't found an app that works for me as a planner.

You Have to Plan the Life You Want

The other day a woman I admire very much said something that was a little startling to a few people. (She was on a Facebook live.)

Her name is Jenny Penton, and she is the founder of Planner Perfect, a company that offers planners and journals (designed by Jenny herself) as well as leather notebook covers, wallets, and accessories. I love her stuff and use it constantly! (And no, this is not a sponsored post.)

Anyway, what Jenny said was that the Saturday before Mother's Day, you should plan on cleaning your house from top to bottom so that you can wake up to a clean house on Sunday. No, don't wait (or expect) for your family to do it as a surprise. You might be the one surprised!

Jenny does the same thing for her birthday. She has a special cake she likes, and has learned the hard way that if she wants it for her birthday, then she better handle the order and pick up.

You see, Jenny has learned that you have to plan for the life that you want; you can't sit around waiting for it to happen.

And that's true whether you want to lose 20 lbs and be healthier, or you want a new and exciting career, or you want a clean and beautiful home.

They're not going to drop into your lap. You have to plan for them. Set goals, break them down into small pieces, and schedule them into your days.

But...

Yes, I know all the buts.

  • But I work.
  • But I don't have time.
  • But I'm too old.
  • But I don't know where to begin.
  • But I don't know what I want.
  • But I don't need a planner. There isn't much going on in my life.

I could go on, but I'm sure you get it. There are a million excuses. Because that's what they are - excuses - for why your life isn't the way you want it.

Now maybe you want some things that just aren't going to happen, no matter how hard you try. 

Still looking to be a princess? Maybe not.

tiara

Want to be married to Brad Pitt? That's probably a no, too. Sorry.

But there are lots of things that you can do and have - you can make your life more like the life you dream of - but you have to do two things:

  1. Set some goals
  2. Work hard

Dream a Little Dream

I understand if you don't feel like you have any goals or a plan to write down. I've been there. And have you ever had someone ask you what you do for fun, and you can't answer because you don't know? Been there too. Still working on it.

You know what our problem is?

We've been taking care of others for so long that we don't know how to take care of ourselves anymore. And as Jenny says, "You can't pour from an empty cup."

empty cup

So here's what I would love for you to do: grab something to write on and a pen. Or use your phone. Now make a list of ten things that you dream of having or being.

Do you want to lose weight and/or be healthier?

Spend more time with your family?

Pursue a hobby? Do you love to craft but you never get a chance? Or maybe you love taking pictures but you never do, except maybe at family occasions.

You can add goals in for your home, too, as long as you make sure to make time in your life for yourself.

When you're done, put your dream list somewhere safe - preferably where you can see it every day.

dream

Hint: I set monthly goals and I break them down into four categories: personal, work (this blog), learning, and home. You might want to substitute family for learning. My kids are grown so I'm not busy being a mama all the time.

Next Step

After you have your list of dreams, you have a place to begin. If some of your dreams are big and outrageous, that's great! You can get there - as long as you plan and keep at it.

At this point you should probably have a planner of some kind. If it's just a spiral notebook, that's fine. You just want to be able to keep everything in one place. And I think it would be nice to have a calendar in it as well. You can decide if you want just the current month or maybe a smaller one with the year on it.

Now you're going to start clarifying your dreams and make them into goals.

One of my dreams is to move back to Michigan, and as soon as possible. That's where our daughter lives and she's mom to our only grandchild. He's seven now, and I don't want to miss any more of his childhood than I have to. I want to be there.

But my husband's job is here. I can't control that.

What I can do, though, is to plan and prepare. You know what moving is like, and selling a house before that. Doing it from one state to another is way worse. But I can prepare because I've done it before and know what to expect.

I can declutter the house. Save tips on Pinterest about what makes a house sell faster. Research areas back in Michigan so I have a better idea of where we would like to live.

You Can Do This

Maybe your daughter is getting married next year and you want to look nice for the wedding. What does that mean? Break it down. Is there a dress you want to fit into? Weight you want to lose?

OK. How are you going to do it? This is where your plan comes in. Diet? Exercise? Both? 

Sticky notes plan

What kind of diet? What kind of exercise? Remember what I say about setting small goals. Don't plan on losing 40 lbs the first week or doing 100 pushups. That's a sure way to discourage yourself.

Maybe start with drinking more water. Moving a little more. When I lost 30 lbs, I started by parking farther away in the parking lot when I went to the store. Easy, simple ways to get more steps in.

So let's say month one your goal is to be drinking 16 oz more water each day by the end of the month, and walking an extra 1000 steps. Write that in the front of the month as your goals. 

Now start making your weekly and daily plans. Adding 16 oz of water per day per month is an extra 4oz per day per week. So your first week, you're going to plan on drinking 4 more ounces of water than you did the week before. And 1000 extra steps in a month is an extra 250 per day for the first week.

You have to think about these things, figure them out, and then plan for them: monthly, weekly, and daily. And don't forget to write them down and cross them off as you accomplish them!

A Little at a Time

Now ten goals and dreams is a lot. And trying to work on all of them at once is going to be too much! Again, that's what your planner is for. Plan things out. Look at your whole year. Chances are you don't have that many plans scheduled out for the year. And for working on your goals, that might not matter anyway.

If you have an event you want to be ready for, like a wedding, then you have a time frame. But remember, any progress you make puts you in a better spot than you were before you started.

Maybe some of your dreams and goals can wait a month or two. Or maybe some of them are easy enough to manage without disrupting your life, as long as you plan for them. 

One of my goals this year is to have plenty of money in advance for both vacation and Christmas. No last minute cutting corners, no panic. We don't use credit cards in our house, so that's not an option and that's fine with me.

So in order to have that money, I started a plan back in January. Our association dues for our subdivision are kind of high, so that was included too. Then it was just a matter of a once a week transfer from one account to the other. Figure out how much, set up automatic transfer, and done. My goals for a relaxing vacation and a stress-free Christmas are pretty much accomplished.

Doesn't that sound wonderful?

You can do this too!

goal plan printables

I've made some special printables just for you: a monthly calendar that you can print and add your goals to, and a weekly goal planner so you can plan and keep track of your goals. Just sign up below to get them!

I know the box says you get the Decluttering Guide, but what you get is access to my library, with all of the printables, including the calendar and tracker mentioned. Thank you!

About the author 

brenda

My name is Brenda and I was born without the "clean gene". I believe that you can keep your clean and tidy in minutes a day and still have time for yourself.

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