This blog focuses on how I plan my diary for my family and I, what works for blog planning and one key lesson I learnt years ago, which I still use today.
How do you plan? Are you an electronic diary kind of person or, like me, love to have a pretty planner? Or several?
I have used planners from Boxclever Press for years, in fact, the year they launched coincided with me becoming a new mum! Writing the important things down was key to managing my time effectively, so I was delighted when they asked me to review their 2021 - 2022 Perfect Year Academic A3 Calendar and 2021 - 2022 Enjoy Everyday Academic A5 Diary. These planners are as close to perfect as I can get. They have everything for me as a busy mum of teens and help me plan my writing and goals effectively.
The new school term for me is a perfect time for a new focus, and with that, a new planner! There’s something about having a new pencil case and diary to reignite the passion around your working and home life. As well as planning the final quarter of the year, all whilst wondering how that time has passed so quickly!
The planning starts for me before the Autumn term begins. I’m not sure what it’s like in your house but as the school summer term finishes, my inbox starts to flood with fixtures and dates for the new term. As a swim mum, this includes swimming fixtures as the season runs from late August through to the following summer.
Getting everything in place, from dates to labelling the school uniform, early in the school summer holidays, means I can relax that little bit more without too many shocks the week before the new school year begins!
Look after the big rocks first.
The same year I became a first-time mum, I attended a Franklin Covey course on time and life management. There began my love for Stephen Covey's 7 Habits for Highly Effective People. The biggest lightbulb moment was to look after the Big Rocks first.
The Big Rocks are the things in your life that are MOST important, they go in your planner first. It sounds a simple thing to do, but how many times when we are in the thick of life, we can revert to reactive living and not proactive. With a planner that works for you together with effective planning, life really does seem that much more manageable.
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”
My Top Tips for Effective Planning:
- Find a planner that works for you. It sounds really obvious but get to know it, spend time looking at all its functions so you can use it to your best advantage.
- Put the big rocks in first, including YOU time – book it like an appointment. You wouldn’t miss an appointment for your car to have an MOT. Book them in for you too! Easier said than done I know, however, practice makes perfect!
- Create a system; with pens and stickers to highlight the important appointments and fixtures that matter.
- Create time for a Power of an Hour each day. By working on ONE thing, with intention and without distraction, it’s incredible what you can achieve.
- Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail! It’s the little things that greatly affect the big things, so simple but true. So plan ahead – if you’re planning on working out first thing in the morning, prepare ahead by getting your kit ready the night before.
- Consider how you can limit any stresses that may come your way. As a stationery lover, having a box of birthday and celebration cards to hand is always helpful with children in the house.
- Block out time for important meetings and deadlines. This is one of the reasons I love having a planner that works for me - For me, with the 2021 - 2022 Enjoy Everyday Academic A5 Diary I can see the goals and months in advance clearly and at a quick glance.
- Spend a little time getting prepared for the week ahead. This involves looking at my 2021 - 2022 Perfect Year Academic A3 Calendar and doing a diary check with the family. Adding and taking out what can help and hinder the week ahead, as much as possible.
Let’s be real.
Trying to plan effectively and having systems in place, are all well and good, but let’s be honest and realistic for a moment, life happens! We can plan for most things, yet curveballs can occur which will send us out of kilter. We’ve certainly learned that in the last year haven’t we?
We all know that it is how we respond to these circumstances that matter so please be kind to yourself. If you drop the ball, that’s ok. I truly hope that sharing some of the things that work for me, help you too. Be kind to yourself and put things in place that work for you.
Sending love as always,