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
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