The insane culture of planning (and what to do instead)

Planning ideal day blog image

🎶 Tis the season of the planner falalalalaaaaa lalalala 🎶

Yes. I am going to talk about planning but I’m not talking about hitting revenue goals. So we can all chill.

I used to tackle my rather meagre yearly planning in January, as I dried out from a champagne-soaked Christmas and avoided any “real” work.

As the years have passed and my business has shrunk (thanks to kids) and then slowly grown again alongside the kids, my planning habits have also changed.

I’ve become a lot more intentional, thinking about how to proactively set myself up for the kind of success I want.

I’ve also started planning a lot earlier.

Is it wrong that I bought my 2022 wall planner in September?

Tis the nature of launching digital products though. You have to build a runway and get a lot of moving pieces lined up. But I’ve traditionally forgotten about things like, oh, school holidays and have ended up trying to juggle events with bored kids at home.

Elaine from Seinfeld looking stressed and despondent... like I do when I forget about school holidays

​Each year, I learn a valuable lesson (about what NOT to do) and build that into my prep, making my planning feel more intentional and organised.

I know. So grown up.

It’s a work in progress though, I assure you.

If you don’t have concrete business plans yet it can still be useful to step back and look at the year to come.

  • Do you have vacations and holidays planned?
  • Are there seasonal cycles that impact your work?
  • Or external forces you should consider?
  • Conferences you want to attend?
  • Programs you’re waiting to sign up for?

Mark them all in your calendar.

This is a big picture example of how I plan each day. With two young kids, I have drop offs and pick-ups, activities and general rowdiness to work around. Not to mention meetings to run and attend.

I want to know what is going to take time out of my day so I can see how much time I have left to DO things.

Knowing that I have only one hour to get some actual work done stops me from putting five hours of work on my list. I finish the day feeling a whoooole lot better about my day.

Doing the same across your year, your quarter or even just your month can help you become more realistic about your time, your energy and which tasks you choose.

The other part of my planning work is thinking about my ideal day.

I did this as part of a goal setting workshop in my Confident Copywriting group and it sparked some pretty amazing shifts in members.

But this week, my mentor and coach, Belinda Weaver posed a question that completely changed how I think about goal setting. What's your ideal lifestyle? Uh, wow! I hadn't thought of goals in this way.
From Chrystal Shelton, posted on Instie.

So, what does your ideal day look like?

For now, don’t worry about your obligations and responsibilities. Just take 10 mins and write down how you would love your day to unfold.

A slow morning? A long lunch break with a book? A turbo work zone with an early finish? A run or yoga in the day?

When you’re done, ask yourself how many of those things you can work into your day now. Add some joy! No one will gift you time for things that make you feel good. You have to make time for them.

Whenever I’ve done this exercise, I’ve seen that I’m leaving some simple joys until someday. Screw someday!

A beautiful black woman in a silver sparkly dress punches the air in celebration
This dress is LIFE.

And the good news is that you don’t need a lot of fancy (expensive) tools for solid planning work. Just some paper, pens and time to think.

(If you want to buy new stationery for planning – permission granted, friend.)

So, yes to theme words to set your intention. Yes to having revenue and client goals. But if the whole planning vibe has you stressing, take a step back and look at the big picture of locking in time for things that make you happy.

Belinda

P.S. I’d love to know what you’re going to pull from someday into today. Leave comment and let me know 🙂

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