I lost count of the people who told me they suck at planning. If it’s your case too, there’s still hope for you. Check these 5 steps.

A lot of people say they suck at planning.

Some simply can’t get started. Others never keep up with their strategy.

Whatever your case, there’s no need to give up.

There’s surely a way you can also become more productive without feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.

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Discover how you can start to plan your days mindfully to become more productive without stress. Join the FREE email course 5 Days To Mindful Planning today.

The blog series

This post is the first of a series.

Through these articles, I’ll help those who fear they’re never going to get things done because they “suck at” one or more aspects of productivity.

They’re going to be blog posts for those who are close to losing (or who have already lost) hope of improving their planning and productivity skills.

Each month, I’ll share with you basic steps on how you can turn the table and become more productive one day at a time.

The method I use is Mindful Planning™. It’s the same basic principles of my online courses and coaching sessions

My goal is to help you, little by little, remove all the chaos from your schedule and start focusing on what really matters to you.

Since there’s no magic pill and I don’t want to add even more stress to your life, we will advance slowly. Allowing you time to adapt your routine before moving forward.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

“The sooner you start planning your life, the sooner you will live the life you dream of.” - Hans Glint

What does it mean to suck at planning?

Why not starting with an example:

Your kid’s birthday is next month.

You want to organize a party to remember. You have an idea of what you want to do, where, who to invite, everything.

But that’s it…

It starts with an idea, but it’s not until one week in advance that you start to contact the venue and invite guests.

Does it sound familiar?

Or at work, your manager gives you some heads up about an upcoming project.

They can’t give you many details just yet, but they inform you well enough you know it’s important. Also, that it’s going to take some hours of your time.

It’s not like you’re twiddling your thumbs, but it isn’t your busiest time of the year either. Yet, you don’t try to be proactive.

You don’t make any change in your schedule as-is to get ready for the new stuff coming your way.

Time passes and sooner than you realize, that project is here and you’re receive tons of new responsibilities.

Do you recognize the feeling?

In both scenarios, you ended up putting yourself into a lot of stress that could have at least minimized with some planning.

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How to avoid sucking at planning?

You can achieve successful planning very easily.

The secret is knowing how to start and how to move forward when things don’t go exactly as planned.

Here’s how you can avoid sucking at planning in 5 steps.

Implement the 5 Steps To Mindful Planning™ to become more productive one day at a time without stress.

1. Measure

It’s so common to underestimate the time spent with certain activities.

Time flies when you’re focused, doesn’t it?

Similarly, when you’re bored, it seems your day will never end.

Your perception of time is not always realistic. This leads to overbooking and unrealistic planning.

Do you know how much time do you spend on your main daily tasks?

If your answer is no, it’s time to start measuring it.

2. Analyze

Whether at work or at home, after measuring your activities, it’s time to move to the following question.

How do you spend your day?

The second step is analyzing your list.

Take the time to organize your schedule in a way you’ll use your time mindfully for less stress and waste.

It’s not a one-off process, but if you are consistent, you’ll stop sucking at planning thanks to it.

3. Prioritize

Even when you have the best planning ever, life happens and you have to reorganize your day.

It shouldn’t be a reason to panic, though.

Believe it or not, everyone has “one of those days”. Me too!

Instead of ripping your planner pages or deleting your favorite app, what about a sustainable approach?

What are the 3 most important things you have to do today?

Answer this question, plan the chosen tasks for the first hours of your day and go for it!

4. Focus

If I can share one tip you can use for every aspect of your life is: Stop trying to do everything at the same time.

After you completed your priorities, the next question is:

What can you do to use your time better?

Don’t start with the easiest things. Instead, pick tasks that will impact your productivity the most. And that are in line with your main goals.

Make your choice and focus 100% on one task before moving to the next one.

5. System 

The tools that you use play a vital role in planning.

Are you using the best system to solve your planning struggles?

Even if that cute planner cost you a fortune, but it’s not doing the trick, you have to do something about it.

If an app isn’t supporting your efforts (anymore), it’s time to ditch it and look for something new.

Or, in both cases, you can simply look for a different way to use them. With some creative, you’ll find out you already have everything you need.

Discover how you can start planning your days mindfully to become more productive without stress. A 5-day FREE email course that shows why you need planning and how to get it done successfully.

Moving forward

If you’re one of those who think you suck at planning, I want you to take a step back and review your opinion on it.

Maybe it’s not your planning that sucks, but your approach to it.

What are your expectations from your planning?

Planning isn’t only about crossing items off your list or having The perfect schedule. It’s about becoming more productive in general.

Make sure you have the right mindset before starting. It’ll avoid a lot of frustration and stress.

Use a Mindful Planning™ approach to become more productive one day at a time.

If you suck at #planning, start changing it today. #coaching #MindfulPlanning Click To Tweet

Next time…

Next month (October 2016), the topic is Productivity.

If you have any specific questions you’d like me to cover, please, leave them in the comments.

I lost count of the people who told me they suck at planning. If it’s your case too, there’s still hope for you. Check the 5 steps of Mindful Planning™.

Also published on Medium.

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Debbie Rodrigues
Debbie Rodrigues is a Productivity Expert. She helps busy career women create a productive routine that fits their lifestyle. She does this through coaching, online courses and through the blog debbieinshape.com.