Effective Planning? 3 Tips to get you started

Beth is a Virtual Assistant, part-time student and Mum of 5. She loves to plan, write, and spend time outside.
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Planning is something I love to do.  My life revolves around lists, plans and arrangements. It has to.  After all, I run a house, a business, and a blog, as well as manage the schedules of five children, on my own.  In many ways, being on my own makes planning easier.  After all, there’s one less schedule to worry about.  The question is though, how do you plan effectively to make sure nothing gets forgotten.

Find out which medium works best for you.

I am a self-confessed planner addict – paper, digital, hybrid. I will try them all.  You have to really if you want to find out what works for you. I’ll be honest; it isn’t as straightforward as it sounds for most people.  For example, I work better and retain more information if I write the information down.  However, every client I work with keeps a digital diary.   I like to have space to write notes throughout the day, but most paper diaries don’t have enough space to write everything down.  I currently use a self-designed A4 life organiser on my desk, with a digital Outlook calendar for my clients, and a Google Calendar for the kids.  It doesn’t sound straightforward but works well for me.

Schedule some time every day to plan

For me, I spend 10 minutes every morning and evening to plan.  The evening session provides me with the opportunity to check whether I have any appointments, meetings, or special events the following day.  I look for any tasks I haven’t completed and migrate them to the next morning.  Then I erase any that no longer need to be done, and write up any new tasks that have become apparent since the morning.   The morning session usually involves adding any jobs to fill up my day and planning them in around any appointments, meetings, or events. Once a week, I also take extra time to look at the overview of my week.

Don’t underestimate the power of a braindump

I often notice that I’m becoming a little unproductive. I have more thoughts buzzing in my head than time to sort through them, so I grab a pen and a piece of paper, take ten undisturbed minutes and write down all the thoughts.  Sometimes, the list keeps on coming.  Other times, it all dries up in 30 seconds but making time to sit there and dump everything out onto a piece of paper makes me a whole lot more productive.  I believe it’s because being productive is more comfortable when it’s not all swimming around in a big messy soup.

Honestly, these three things have improved the quality of my life no end… and while I still drop the ball on occasions, it spends much more time in my hands these days, than on the floor.

Do you have a planning strategy?  If so, let me know about it in the comments below.

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