This last month I set myself the challenge of planning ahead for every day to see how much more productive and less forgetful I could become. As I wrote about in my de-cluttering blog my level of organisation is somewhat lacking. I can never remember where I have put something important, only to find that one thing is normally right there in front of my face. As much as my level of disorganisation can be amusing it’s extremely frustrating for both myself and people around me.
I recently brought a year planner which I have placed on my wall so I can write all my important dates and birthdays on it. Unfortunately, much as this has helped, I still need to remind myself to actually look at it. I still continue to rely on Facebook notifications reminding me of friend’s birthdays, that very day, which doesn’t even give me enough time to use moonpig.com!!
The times in my life when I have written a list has really helped me but they have normally only been for food shopping. I make a regular plan for meals for the month, I organise an internet shop and have a days cookathon freezing portions of healthy and nutritious meals and smoothies. This has in turn prevented me from wandering the isles of Tesco with an empty stomach, getting distracted by the offers and egg custard tarts and walking home with £30 worth of quick fix diabetes inducing treats but nothing that would actually make a meal! I have often wondered if I could put that level of organisation into my life, as I do my diet, what could I achieve.
I have often felt overwhelmed by the amount of important things that needed to get done but I found that the bigger the task was the less likely I was to do it. In work I have no choice but to do the tasks that needed to be done but I knew even this could be improved. However, my personal life had become this ‘I’ll get round to it at some point’ internally procrastinating ever-growing list of important tasks. Could daily planning give me more control over my work and life admin? Worth a try right, it surely couldn’t make it any worse!
Of course I needed a plan. Firstly, I started by writing down the tasks that I wanted to achieve in the month. Tasks that I had been procrastinating about doing i.e. call the tax office, set up a financial plan, de-clutter my room, work priorities etc. Having this down in front of me made it easier to break these tasks down into weeks and then days.
As I began to write down my monthly plan it began to get out of hand. All of a sudden I realised how many things I wanted to get done and the list was getting very lengthy. Some of what I wrote was important, i.e. financial stuff, but then I began to get very excited and carried away writing down goals that had taken me from Laura Kefford to Superwoman overnight. These included meditating EVERYDAY, getting ‘at least’ 8 hours sleep EVERYDAY, completing 30 minutes of education EVERYDAY and lastly…. going to the gym…. EVERYDAY. These overzealous expectations didn’t take into account the non-negotiable 24hour day, my full time job, or the fact that I still had the epic task of kicking my own arse into gear to achieve then. All of my list could in fact be achieved, but they needed to be done one step at a time. You can’t go from zero to hero just because you wrote a list!
Seeing my lists in front of me gave me a huge sense of achievement on its own. Even without actually doing the tasks I felt productive and more in control on the tasks at hand. I can see that It would be easy to fall into the trap of writing the list, feeling like I had achieved but then not follow it through.
Having my monthly plan (with a lifetimes worth of content) in front of me made it more manageable to break the tasks into weeks and then break them down into days. I carried a notebook with me and every day before I finished work I would take 10-15 minutes to jot down a list of things that needed to be done the next day. During my work day I made sure that I ticked off all of my work tasks but Ill be honest in saying that a lot of my personal ones were left behind. This was not through a lack of trying but due more to the unrealistic overachieving mind-set I had when writing my original list…. and the fact that I went on holiday for a week! I think we all know that eat, drink, sunbathe and have limited alcohol induced sleep doesn’t require a list or a lot of arse kicking to achieve.
Daily planning has made my work life so much more manageable, organised and productive. My draws, desk and computer folders have been organised within an inch of their lives and the amount I now manage to achieve in a day is fantastic. I currently work as a Health Visitor and being an autonomous practitioner doesn’t bode well for the disorganised Laura. It’s very easy to become swamped as nobody else is reminding you of what you have to do apart from myself so taking control is vital.
My personal life also improved. I may not have managed the ‘MUST DO EVERYDAY’ tasks EVERYDAY but they certainly increased. I de-cluttered and re-organised my room, made some financial changes and finally called the tax office. I actually really enjoyed daily planning once I got started. I got a super sense of achievement when I was ticking stuff off. I can see that once I get the big tasks out of the way I can then look to use this same method to introducing some of my goals from my bucket list which is exciting. I still have improvements to make and I still have to improve my daily planning skills but making steps in a positive direction and taking more control over achieving what I set myself to achieve has made me feel happier and an overall better managed me.
So … get a little notebook, like the patterned notebooks shown in the pictures by Annabel Perrin. These are beautifully designed funky little notebooks that are lightweight enough to keep in your handbag and are great to use for your daily planning or even your ideas journal. I’ve popped the link to buy them below. Use your notebook to write down what you want to achieve then break it down into weeks and days but be a little more realistic in your goals than I was. We can all go from zero to hero but we need to do the bit in-between first!
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Link: Annabel Perrin Shop