Are You Guilty Of Creating Chaos?
Did you know you can create chaos through lack of planning? Does a feeling of insanity ever come to mind? Then this post is for you—the eternally busy person with lots of to-do’s in their day, lots of people in their life, and lots of ideas in their mind. Somehow, some way, you need to make a plan. You need to get all the details of life organized so you can live above all the noise!
What’s the reward? Organization and order which bring calm, peace, and sanity.
You will gain sanity through planning.
Life’s busy for all of us, but the extent of that “busy” will depend on your season of life and your personality. If you have lots of ideas, goals, dreams, and projects you know what I mean when I talk of chaos and stress. And you need this post! If you enjoy a more simple lifestyle, you may not have big goals and lots of projects. For you, order comes more naturally. This post will help you stay sane when the busier seasons of life come.
I’m not a person who organically finds order in my day—but I crave it as I juggle all my responsibilities. Because I’m in the trenches like you, I’m seeking that balance between my always-saying-yes-to-great-opportunities personality and the reality that I need some structure and routine in my life! It’s given me plenty of opportunities to learn about planning, goal setting, brainstorming, planners, and more.
How about you? Do you want the peace of mind that comes from choosing to use your time well? But where do you start? Let me share some of what I’ve learned along the way!
Planning — Let’s Start With The “Why’s”
As you work through these steps and think hard about what it will take to accomplish your goals, you’ll discover activities or belongings that are just keeping you busy. They aren’t really helping you. You’ll see other things that stand out as really important. Sifting the time-wasters out of your life will help you turn down the noise in your own corner of the world!
#1 — First Things First – Why You Need A Plan
We all need a place to record our calendar items, the dates and times for events. Don’t just hope you’ll remember. Record them somewhere or you’ll forget one of them. Don’t ask how I know! :o)
When we know what’s next on our plate, it’s so much easier to enjoy the meal. Right?!
My Living Well Planner just arrived! I am so excited to have a new space to not only keep track of my events and to-do’s—but to plan and develop a system to reach my goals this year. (You’ll see what’s on my goals list below!)
Why am I so excited to get my planner? I love the motivation of starting fresh with a new perspective! My tendency is to write a to-do list or a brainstorm list (like everyone tells you to). Then, I get lazy. I use the list to choose what I feel like doing—then I record what I did in my day. Note the past tense verb! No planning. Just a list of to-do’s, then haphazard actions toward getting them done, and recording what I did in my planner. All with the hope they were the best things to get done. Argh. But there is a better way!
Here’s a little side story of how habits can stop serving us. My daughter-in-law happened to hear me talking about how this year I’m going to actually use my planner to plan, not just record what I did on a day. She outright laughed! She said, “You mean you write down what you did after you did it?!” That’s when I realized I’d been operating on pre-cell-phone-era habits. Back when the only way to remember life’s events was to write them down. With email, Instagram, and Facebook we don’t need to keep track anymore. We have a constant record of times and dates of events!
In what ways are you operating on old habits? Remember, a planner isn’t just a glorified calendar. It’s actually for planning all those activities ahead of time! Novel idea, huh?!
If you’re new to organizing and using a planner, this post will help you see even more benefits of planning. You can learn about all the different styles of planners here. My recent post, Time to Get Organized, has lots of helpful links and ideas to get you started thinking about the bigger picture of your life.
#2 — The Importance of Having Goals & Finding Accountability
Like the song from Sound of Music, “Let’s start at the very beginning.” A really good place to start is with what you want to accomplish…this year, in the next five years, or beyond. Your goal could be as simple as “clean out all my closets” or as complicated as “get my doctorate degree.” Based on the amount of time needed to do it, work your way backward using a calendar to see when you need to get started in order to make it happen! (The “How” steps in my next post will make this less overwhelming. I promise!)
You’ll quickly discover you need a place to map out your course. Plus, it’s easy to miss the important step of how to stay on track with those goals. A planner is the perfect tool for self-accountability…
…but we often miss another driving factor—outside accountability. Share your plans and goals with a like-minded friend, your spouse, or kids! It will motivate you to stay on track. The pressure of commitment helps you remember you were actually headed somewhere. Plus, you’ll gain a new perspective.
Let that special “someone” in on your plan to get organized, reach for a dream, or hit the bullseye on a goal. When you talk through your ideas, you’ll actually hear what you’re saying out loud, which helps hone your thoughts. Plus, that person wants to help you stay on track especially if they have something you can help them accomplish. Find your “someone” and let them in on your dreams!
Here are my goals for 2018-2019:
- Really use my planner to bring order out of the chaos of having too many things to do and not enough time to do them.
- Gain order in my home after 16 months of moving in and remodeling.
- Update and revise this blog — hone my message; reach more readers with encouragement and ideas, develop great tools to help them live above the noise.
- Write a book! This is one scary goal to share! Over the years, friends encouraged me to write a book using my experiences and ideas. My book is for parents—to help them realize their potential in teaching their kids to think, love learning, be responsible, along with discovering their child’s individual “why.” I also love to encourage the entrepreneur in people, so we’ll see where I fit that in!
- Develop discipline to stay on course with my responsibilities, goals, and my plan.
Okay, so are you ready to get accountable for your goals? Share them! Write them on your Facebook page or post in the comments below. Accountability is good for us—it encourages us to know other people are hiking over the same rough terrain we are. We root for them while they cheer us on! Let’s get going on our goals together!
#3 — The Importance of Having A Planner — And Using It!
You know the old adage, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” It’s a no-brainer. The busier life gets the more we need to plan. A plan keeps things from slipping through the cracks. Remember, all the stuff accumulating on our list along with those last-minute fire drills keep us from working on our bigger goals. We get sidetracked and forget what’s important! Planning actually helps you weed out the unimportant and it quiets your to-do list!
So…the solution? Get that planner! Take it from an over-analyzer. Just decide. I’ve used lots of planners over the years, but I’ve never found the perfect one. I’d procrastinate for months on end, trying to find the one planner suited just for me and my season. I’ve tried to save money by designing my own. But doing so much research always puts me behind. I’m finally realizing something. It doesn’t have to be perfect! And I don’t have to do all the work! Ahhh. (You’ll find free ready-made planner templates at Canva or you can choose from a variety of pre-made planners.)
In the 2nd picture in this post, I’m using Ruth Soukup’s weekly and daily planning pages (you can find them in her planner and on her website. I don’t have the routine down yet, but because PROGRESS is my word this year I’m committed to working on self-discipline and gaining order in my day! Messing up isn’t going to stop me. Don’t let it stop you, either!
Don’t forget this!
When we think it should be easy, we set ourselves up for disappointment when the going gets tough.
The solution? Expect reshaping habits to be painful. Don’t let the pain stop you from reaching for your goals.
Remember, the reward is sweet!
The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty. Proverbs 21:5
No pressure to purchase anything, but if you make a purchase through one of these links, you will help to support the work I do here at Living Above The Noise. Thanks!
I have contemplated getting the Living Well Planner, but I am bad about not using a planner as well. I love the look and feel of them but end up letting them sit on my desk. I need to get better about using one this next year also. What do you think is different about this planner as compared to what else is on the market such as the Creative 365?
Good question to a real problem! I completely understand your dilemma. I have tried and used and failed to use so many planners.
Literally, over the last several decades I ranged from designing my own (both to save money and to create one that worked best for me) and purchasing several styles. But, in all that experimenting, I realize that I NEED to use a planner! As life has gotten more busy with adult children and their calendars, along with being more free as my kids have grown up beyond homeschooling, I really must have a plan! As the saying goes, “With freedom comes resonsibility”! Thus, my planner challenge this year. It was inspired to challenge myself to get organized and actually implement what the most productive people out there do to stay on track. But my readers tell me it’s their nemesis also. So we’re in this together!
Now, to answer your question…I loved my Happy Planner. I chose it and used it for almost two years. I liked that it didn’t have the time written on the daily column. And I love how you can add pages (yes, I created my own planning sheets based on Ruth Soukup’s planning sheets ;) Overall, I recommend it.
However, after really chewing on Ruth’s planner posts, I am finding that blocking out time slots really works! Literally, on one day alone, I was twice as productive simply because I made a commitment to a time slot, wrote it on my calendar, and then worked all my other responsibilities around that commitment! Wahlah! It actually works! Plus, I really believe that her goal setting pages will help me stay on track with my goals. So…that is why I chose Ruth’s planner this year. I’ll let you know how I feel after this year, but I committed to myself and my readers to really do the work and see how it goes!
PS – I think I’ll still miss being able to insert pages, but I found that I didn’t use most of them anyway. I find that monthly planning and goal setting right before each month’s calendar along with the weekly pages is enough for me.
Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any more question. And thanks for writing!
Amy Christensen says
Terry, this is the perfect kick in the pants that so many of us need. I was a planner for years, during the time period that I home schooled my girls. Now I have a grandson in second grade and even though I have desires, dreams and a list of want to’s, I just never get anything done. I think my biggest hurdle is the mind set that I can have a plan and it is beneficial to have a plan. I’ve been a big proponent of the idea of “divine appointments” which I do believe in, but does that mean, I just throw planning out the window? I think not. I’d appreciate your prayers in this area, if you think of me. My heart of hearts goal is to be a writer and while I am doing much more of that with having a blog, I don’t have a clear plan and goal as to actually attaining the prize. Thanks for the encouragement! – Amy
I think I understand your dilemma, Amy. When we grow past the season of raising our kids, where planning and routine were so necessary and almost imposed on us, it gets confusing. We were very much needed but now we have to adjust to being okay with meeting our own needs (and possibly be at risk of not meeting another’s needs!). I agree that throwing planning out the window so we can be available to whoever needs us isn’t a good plan :). I battle this all the time! Do I need to be always on call? Or can I have a plan for what I want to accomplish and actually say “no” to their needs? I will pray for you! And you for me, too, please! I know about that desire to write and I really am seeing my need to have a clear goal with a plan to get there. Yah, we sometimes need to adjust for those divine appointments, but I’m realizing more and more that others have their plans and so, it’s okay to have mine. Crazy to have to put that in writing, but it’s a real shift in our thinking. Thanks for sharing! Please keep in touch with how you’re doing on your goals and your writing!
Tamy Elliott says
Thank you for taking the time to write this fabulous post! Came at the perfect time! So glad you’re blogging again. You have so much wisdom to share…and I’m eager to receive it!
Oh, Tamy, you encourage me so much! Coming back has been a huge decision, but I decided just I needed to. And with our crazy season of life — you know what I mean ;) — this planner challenge begged to be taken. Can’t wait to hear your perspective and learn and grow together! Hearing from you makes me smile!
Thank you, Terry! Coming from a place of mental paralysis due severe overwhelm, I need to hear about planning, discipline and progress!!
Oh, do I understand that paralysis! That’s why I decided to do a planner challenge this year. I really needed something to keep myself accountable and on course! And I knew there must be others out there who are struggling, too. I do hope this will help you find your “why” and discover the freedom of having a plan! I’m totally with you on this one. Keep in touch!