The key to having a successful week is Sunday planning. On Sunday afternoon or evening I take the time to plan out my entire week ahead. Doing this gives me an overview of everything that needs to be done that week and I am able to plan ahead for what I need to buy, what I need to schedule and what I am going to be able to accomplish. I do monthly and yearly planning as well, but the week is a manageable chunk and a good place to start planning if you haven’t been doing long-term planning.
When you plan you can also see where there are adjustments that need to be made, for example are there any appointments that need to be rescheduled because they are too close together? Usually if you have a week, it give you enough time to make the necessary changes. I am also coordinating things like the care of my son with other family members, so looking ahead helps avoid conflicts.
The first step I take is to clear my space and create a distraction free zone for my planning. I do have a FranklinCovey planner with a monthly view and a day by day pages. I also have a separate notebook for “to do” lists for different categories in my life. I also want this to be a pleasant activity, so I light some scented candles that correspond with the season. I’m using “apple caramel” for Fall. I also make myself a cup of tea.
Planning is not just scheduling things to do. It is also a time to reflect on my vision and what I am creating in my life. I start with reviewing my top goals for the year. I have these written on one side of my month page. They are written as if the year passed and I had accomplished them already. Next I review my monthly calendar and put my appointments in the daily pages. Then I look at my to-do lists and I plan a “to do” list for the week. I put it at the front of the week. Then I keep transferring items to the next day that didn’t get done. Those times that absolutely have to get done that day I put a star next to.
I place the item that dread the most at the top of the list to get them done first. This is called, “swallowing the frog,” and is a know habit of highly successful people. I also schedule in my exercise time. I always have my morning and evening routine, as well as certain chores I do on different days, so I don’t have to schedule those.
The other thing I think of including in my weekly schedule are those activities that feed my mind, body and spirit. So I may schedule a massage or a facial or time for a hike. I think about the season and what is going on around me in my natural environment that I do not want to miss. For the Fall season I schedule getting pumpkins with Leo, going to the farmer’s market, picking acorns, drinking hot apple cider and fall decorating. These simple pleasures help me to have things to look forward to and to feed my spirit.
Now I see my plan as a guide. It is not set in stone. I do have friends who go entirely on “Inner Guidance,” or intuition when making their plans. My Inner Guidance tells me that planning works better for me, but it is subject to change. I will still check in with my Inner Guidance and I may receive the message that I am not to do something or that I need to do something else instead. I may be guided to take advantage of beautiful weather to go on a walk instead of doing housework, knowing that it is important for my health. An unexpected visitor may arrive and I will take time to see that person. The planing is there, but it is fluid. If I do no planning at all, I do find that I forget things or over-schedule or I don’t have the necessary tools to do what I need to do.
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