Do you want to start your planning by don’t know your options? Check these 5 tips to get it rolling without stress.
What does your planning look like?
The idea of planning varies a lot from person to person.
While for some it is associated with prison and lack of flexibility. For others, like me, it has exactly the opposite effect. It frees my time and helps me like with less stress.
There is no right or wrong. It is all a matter of perception and experience.
Those who feel suffocated by the simple idea of writing down their appointments may have had bad experiences in the past.
Children who are forced to react based on a strict calendar may become adults who will hate the idea of making appointments, for instance.
Something in their mind will unconsciously give the message that “it’ll never happen anyway”. Why bothering then?
It could be a walk in the park that the parents always promised, but never made time for. And the examples go on and on.
The thing is that from the moment one writes down a to-do list, they are:
- freeing their mind
- strengthening the commitment
There are many ways you can make it work for you, though.
The 5 tips
I do like to keep things both on paper and electronically, but:
- How to keep a track of it all?
- How to make sure you are not forgetting anything?
- How do you get things done including when “life happens”?
1. Write it down
I know it is not the first time I’m advising you to write things down. But are you doing it already? 😉 If not, it is never too late to get started.
While I leave my planner always open on the desk, I also have a small notebook with me all the time.
It’s an agenda I bought last year to keep track of my workouts. Since it still has some blank pages, I use it to draft ideas.
I don’t want to forget those ideas that come up when I least expect them.
This agenda/notebook fits in any bag, so it is perfect to bring it out.
Having at least 2 pens with you is also advisable. And make sure you test them from time to time. They have to work when you need them.
If you prefer typing, you can write emails and send them to Evernote* or Todoist, for example.
It also works if you want to create a to-do or a research item based on information you have in your inbox.
2. Remember recurring tasks
For some time, I struggled to find an effective way to use Trello*.
I fell in love with it from day one, but I got stuck with the idea that it was only for teams. Since it’s only me, myself and I, I was not sure how I could make Trello work for me.
But then, I d an IFTTT recipe that was the solution to my problems, though.
I created a card in Trello with a checklist, then scheduled that a new card is created on a daily basis to which I add a Daily Checklist.
It contains my basic social media to-do’s and nice-to-haves.
Instead of wondering what I ‘m missing, it is all there.
If something new comes up, I add to the (main) list.
Do I always have time to do everything that is listed? Nope. But it helps me stay on track and evaluate my plan on a regular basis.
If I can never complete a certain task, it makes no sense to have it there.
3. Make it automatic
The great thing about IFTTT is that it is easy to use.
The amount of time you can save by scheduling things automatically is priceless. And I am not talking about bloggers only.
I highly recommend you check IFTTT recipes that will make your life incredibly easier.
Another one of my favorite recipes is having my Instagrams pinned automatically on Pinterest. It is a no-brainer and saves me a lot of time.
Even though I manually add a checklist to them, it helps me out a lot.
I work on various projects at the same time.
Thanks to checklists, I know exactly what my next step should be.
4. Keep track of time
Have you noticed how time flies when you are busy?
It feels like just a couple of minutes, but chances are an hour has already passed. And what did you do? Not everything you had in mind to be sincere.
How can you avoid losing track of time? Use a timer!
Those non-planners might be shaking in their chairs now, but using a timer isn’t the nightmare you’re picturing in your head.
It’s just to avoid that those 5 minutes of Facebook turn into lost hours if you know what I mean…
For example, some people think it takes me ages to get my content curation set. The truth is that I plan everything in less than 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week:
- 2 Twitter accounts
- Google Plus Page
- Facebook Page and Group
With the right tools, you can make it happen for you too.
I also use RescueTime* when I want to stay focused.
It is perfect when doing research or writing a blog, for instance.
Even if I fall in the temptation to check social media sites, it’ll block me.
No distractions allowed.
5. Find your way
Finding your way can be a tricky one.
Be careful not to fall into the trap of having no way at all.
We all have our preferences. And if putting your planning together is not your cup of tea, think of the less painful way you can structure your schedule. But come up with something.
Look for a consistent way.
On my planner, I use lots of post-its. I do have an editorial calendar I stick to 90% of the time. But since I’m human, life happens and I don’t stay up until late at night to get a post out anymore.
If I run short on time, I rearrange my planning.
If I feel a certain topic is more relevant than the one I had planned, I shift it too.
Post-its are great because you can move them around without making your plan look messy. And once a task is done, you can throw it away.
If you use CoSchedule* you can also rearrange your planning just by moving items around your calendar.
Online, I loved Sunrise Calendar. I consolidated all my to-dos and projects on it. It holds from my Google Calendar up to Evernote, including Trello, Wunderlist, and Todoist. I use the same principle of moving around my appointments if necessary.
Unfortunately, Sunrise shut down and I have no interest in using Outlook at all.
Your planning to success
No matter on which level you want to develop yourself, you’ll need time.
And you’ll need some structure as well.
There are various ways to do it. I know I dumped a lot on this post but don’t lose heart. On my FREE email course 5 Days To Mindful Planning™ I help you set the first steps to developing your planning for success.
With this post, I want to give you an idea of the various possibilities you can choose from.
No matter your personal preference or goal, there’s surely a way to plan your days that fits your lifestyle.
*Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. However, when you order through my link, it helps me to continue to offer you lots of free stuff. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Thank you, in advance for your support!
Also published on Medium.