I have good intentions when it comes to my planning. I always start off with a great plan. It’s pretty. It’s typed out. It has great goals. It even has all of the components of a SMART plan…it’s specific (probably overly), measurable, attainable (mostly), realistic (unless it’s about me being a princess), and has a time component. Then I implement the plan. Or at least I try. But like any good squirrel, I’m here, there, and everywhere. I look back at the end of the time period, scratch my head, and try to figure out what happened. What I’ve discovered is that if I don’t have a schedule, my plan (any plan) is toast. So today I’m sharing how to plan out your calendar. At least for those of us that have way too many things to do, very little time, and are a little squirrely.
- Make a calendar checklist.
Write down all of the things that you need to do. You can break this down to daily, weekly, or even monthly. As long as you have everything on a list. Make sure you note how long it takes and how often you need to do the task. Here’s a sample:
|Weekly Meal Planning||Monthly (last week of the month)||4|
|Dinner with Friends||Monthly||3|
|Work||9 hours per day + 1 hour travel||50|
|Cooking||20 minutes per day||2.5|
|Cleaning||3 hours per week||3|
|Laundry||3 hours, 2 times per week||6|
|Work Out||3x/week for 45 minutes||2.25|
|Stretch||3x/week for 15 minutes||0.75|
|Grocery Shopping||2 hours on Saturday||2|
|Weekly Food Prep||3 hours on Saturday or Sunday||3|
|Eyebrows||1 hour Bi-weekly||1|
|Nails||2 hours Bi-weekly||2|
|Personal Reading||2 hours per week||2|
|Business Reading||2 hours per week||2|
|Blog||2 hours, 5 days per week||10|
|Weekly Planning||1 hour per week||1|
- Use your calendar checklist to plan out your week.
Set aside time every week to plan out your next week’s calendar. Use your checklist to make sure you capture all the activities that you need to complete. It’s kind of like Tetris…trying to fit in all of the blocks. You can use Outlook, a paper calendar, or whatever works best for you. As long as you plan it out so you can visually see it.
- Track your daily activities versus what you planned.
If you used Outlook, print out your calendar every day. If you’re using a paper calendar, make sure you have it available during the day. Check off the activities as you complete them. If you didn’t get them done, write down what you did instead during that time period. Move your uncompleted activities to a different day during the week. At the end of each day, reflect on what obstacles got in your way that day from you completing your calendar. Note what worked, what didn’t.
- Set aside an hour each week for planning/reflection.
During that time, review your daily calendars. Ask yourself:
- What obstacles got in my way this week?
- What success did I have this week?
- What adjustments do I need to make to my calendar?
- Do I need to modify my checklist?
- Do I need to allow more flexibility in my calendar?
Plan out your calendar for the next week. And repeat the whole process again. Week after week.
I know this may sound like a crazy, detailed process. Once you form the habit, you’ll be amazed at how much this will help. My college aged daughter was stressed out with trying to balance all of her classes. She said calendars just stressed her out more. She fought me on this process all the way. But once she sat down and did it, she was immediately relieved. She saw how she could fit everything into her week (and even have some spare time). I know it’s not a magic wand…I wish I had one. And a fairy godmother. And a castle…uh oh…squirrel. But I do think this process magically helps me to achieve the plans that I set in place. I hope it will help you too.