Do you have big ambitions for your life, but struggle to get everything done? Do you keep telling yourself that you’ll achieve that big goal when you clear something else from your deck?
It’s easy to make time the reason you let go of a big ambition, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
When you get yourself planned, you can stretch your time and make much more of your 1,440 minutes a day.
And when you’re ready to start, these five powerful planning tools are here to help.
1. Annual wall calendar
You can’t ignore what’s staring you in the face! With a big picture overview of your year, you can see at a glance what’s coming up and what you’ve already achieved and checked off.
Use your wall calendar to map out any vacations, key dates, and high level deadlines. With these important dates top of mind, you can plan your year accordingly to ensure you don’t miss a beat.
You can even check off each day as it passes to create an annual countdown [and some additional accountability].
2. A monthly calendar
Similar to your whole year overview, a monthly calendar allows you to see the next four weeks at a glance. Use it to keep track of dates and deadlines to ensure you never double-book yourself. You can also use a monthly planner to achieve your goals.
You can also use this powerful tool to assess your choices for work-life harmony.
- Have you factored in enough social time?
- Do you have any days booked out for fun?
- Is there really enough time to achieve that deadline without burning out?
When you can see all your commitments and deadlines written down, you’ll find it easier to make decisions when fresh opportunities come your way.
3. A weekly to-do list
Each day, you have a finite amount of bandwidth to play with. If you have a lot to do, don’t waste that head space mulling over repetitive thought loops or desperately trying to remember things. Instead, empty your head onto paper so you can put maximum focus on tasks that move the needle.
Your weekly to-do list is the perfect place to practice this.
Instead of keeping your list of weekly tasks in your head, get them onto paper. A to-do lists serves a number of important productivity benefits:
- You won’t forget anything – so no last-minute rushes or panics
- It helps you delegate
- It helps you organize your thoughts and tasks
- Checking completed tasks off makes you feel good
- It captures the specific action points you need to accomplish
When writing out your weekly to-do list, aim to create a Weekly Action Plan system to win your week [the Weekly Action Pad can help].
Instead of a simple lists of tasks, a Weekly Action Plan helps you prioritize and structure your week for maximum performance and productivity. For example:
- Time est: When you know how long a task will take, you can make better decisions about when you’ll fit it into your week.
- Due: With deadlines clearly written down, you can be sure to plan your work so you can deliver tasks on time.
- E/N/D: When you know whether a task will energize or drain you, it’s easier to pick the optimum time to get that to-do done.
4. A daily planner
Each day, you’re gifted 1,440 minutes – and it doesn’t matter who you are… we all get the same amount. The question is, what are you going to do with your time? How will you convert those minutes into a life you love?
With so many opportunities and so much to do, your daily plan is key to maximizing the time you’ve got. If you could only use one planning tool, this would be it.
Get granular with your planning. Get real with the places you squander time. Get prioritizing and quit procrastinating! Plan your day for maximum productivity and results. For example:
- Plan your day in 30-minute chunks – it will make your minutes stretch further
- Practice gratitude – it unlocks feeling of positivity and abundance which help skyrocket your performance
- Focus on your top three tasks – if you could only achieve three things, what would those tasks be? When you prioritize, you’ll move the needle even if work remains to be done
- Leave zero white space – this doesn’t mean overwhelming your workload. Plan in time to chill, read, or binge on Netflix. When every minute is allocated, none of it is squandered.
If you want to invest in a daily planner designed to help you achieve your goals by boosting your productivity, performance, and positivity, check out the SELF Journal.
5. A Habit Tracker
Did you know that you are the sum total of all your habits?
Habits are a powerful tool because these are the things you do on autopilot – without having to think about them. Whether we like it or not, we all run on habits. It’s what makes you clean your teeth, make your bed, or always have cake with your morning coffee!
If you want to inspire your day, commit to infusing it with habits that will take you closer to your goals. For example:
- If you want to write a book, get in the habit of writing 500 words a day
- If you want to be a public speaker, do a live each day
- If you want to run a marathon, make a daily run a habit
When you know what habits will take you closer to your goals, you can plan your day to incorporate them. A habit tracker will help you with this. Use your tracker to monitor the habits you want to adopt and create a chain of wins. Before you know it, that chain will be so heavy, your new habit will be on autopilot.
If you want to be your best self, robust planning is a non-negotiable.
Without solid plans, you’ll waste time, get stuck in the weeds, and head for overwhelm.
Don’t allow lack of time to be the reason you push off your big goals and aspirations. Instead, get smarter with your time. Don’t waste it. Make it stretch further. Invest it wisely, and you will think bigger and achieve more.