I remember my Nan writing lists for groceries, bills to pay, things to do and at the end of the year people to send Christmas cards to.
Maybe that’s where my love for planning was sparked.
I’d sit beside her as she wrote her lists on scraps of paper, recorded the finances in her book. Somehow she managed to make it look so simple, easy even. I loved how planning + organisation felt. Her home was organised with simplicity. And I’m sure the peace that resulted afforded her time to regularly write me letters and do things like sew clothes for my Barbies when I visited on holidays.
Now as a parent with a creative business in today’s crazy, fast paced, tech driven society, I’ve often wondered, how did she get it all done. And how did she know what to focus on each day.
How did she make time for the stuff that really mattered?
Sure our lives look very different, but our aspiration to live a meaningful life is the same. And one other thing remains the same.
We all have the same amount of time.
It doesn’t matter if you run a country or are a child, lived in the early 1300’s (don’t know why I choose that number but it seems like a really long time ago 😉 or in today’s fast paced, tech driven world.
We all get the same number. 168, no more no less.
What do your 168 hours say about you?
It doesn’t take much to look back over your planner or calendar to see what you spent your time on.
So what’s got your focus?
I didn’t fully appreciate the time my Nan took out of her day to connect with me until I became a parent and technology filled our lives.
I marvelled at how she took the time to do all those seemingly little things that came to mean so much to others.
Like us, she could have chosen to fill her days with whatever she fancied or whatever came her way.
Instead she seemed to live with intention, and what she spent her time on said a great deal about what was important to her.
I don’t remember her being frazzled by her to do list or madly multitasking.
When she played games with us, she was fully in the moment, enjoy it as much as we did.
Knowing this is essential.
Did you know that the word priority is singular. In today’s terms we’d say it refers to the “the most important thing”.
You can’t have more than one most important thing.
Interestingly, the use of the word priorities was almost non existent before 1940. See the results from a Google Ngram below.
It would seem that our ancestors knew something important we’ve lost sight of today. And maybe the idea of having multiple “most important things” is a sign that we’re losing our ability to know what the most important things are.
But surely with the amount of things vying for our attention today is enough to give us more hours each day.
But those numbers remain unchanged.
What we can change is our priorities, what we focus on and put in our schedule.
When we have too many priorities, with everything being equally urgent or important or what we fill our days with aren’t aligned with our vision, beliefs, season or goals, we get distracted, overwhelmed and worn out from busyness.
Maybe it’s time for a change.
It’s time to choose with confidence.
It’s time to choose to turn off our notifications, close our mail and give our full attention to what we are doing.
It’s time to turn our phones off or on silent at meal times so we can connect and celebrate life together.
It’s time to let go of FOMO, the fear of missing out. Trying to fit it all in and not miss out on anything is keeping us form having the very things we desire.
Our inboxes are bursting at the seams. And our phones noisy with notifications.
It’s time to let go of the distractions that we cling to because we don’t know what to do next. Yes, over planning is a distraction. I’ve been there, stuck in the planning loop with todo lists that grow fast then I can get things done.
When we know what to focus on, what our priority is at any given moment, we can choose with confidence what we need to do …
And grow what matters.
By making the most important activities part of our daily routines we automatically become our best self, do what matters and have a life we love.
Think about your 168 hours as a week, not as a number of days.
Just a simple change in perspective like this can free your mind and schedule. You’ll be free from trying to cram in as much as you can each day feeling that it’s never enough, to seeing just much you already do right.
You may not realise that you do enough. You may exercise enough, get enough sleep or play with your kids a bunch.
If you’re not sure that’s easy fixed. Log your time in your calendar for a week. Mark down what you are doing in 15 minute intervals.
I’m sure you’ll be surprised with all the stuff you’re doing great! And it’s easy to see what you can change and where you can find more time for the things you want to do.
Here’s the easy one page plan.
Now as you sit down to plan your week use my easy one page plan to make sure your schedule is filled with the important stuff. It’ll help you know what to focus on and what to ignore.
When the todos in your planner are the result of your vision, roles and goals you’ll stop getting distracted and have time for the stuff that matters. That can be your relationships, health, business, family, skills, faith and wealth.
Make some time each week to plan the week ahead. We do this as a family and turned this into a delicious tradition over breakfast each Sunday morning. Then I add my own business and personal stuff.
First remind yourself of your vision. Where are you going? It can be long term or for next month. As a family we mainly focus on the month.
Second write down all the things that need doing in your different roles or responsibilities in the coming week.
My roles are : faith, family, home, health, wealth, social, earn and learn. You’re welcome to use these or create your ones that suit you.
Then make a note of the habits or projects you currently are working on. You may be adding to your exercise routine some back exercise for better posture. And you may have a number of client jobs the go. Note these down here.
At the base of the page there’s a space to write down an inspiring quote or verse for the week ahead. Maybe you remind yourself of the reward you’re working towards, like a family holiday.
This is where the easy one page plan comes into it’s genius. When you fill it out as I’m about to explain you’ll know what needs your focus this coming week and what to put in your schedule!
Start by celebrating your progress. We don’t do this enough! What did you accomplish. What are you thankful for?
Then make a note of a challenge you faced this week, how you overcame it or what you can do to solve the problem.
Next, list what’s coming up. those things that maybe on your mind. This is a great place to jot them down so they won’t be forgotten.
This next little exercise is great to do with your family or team. Take a moment and rate each of your roles from the other side of the page. Give each category a number from 1, needing improvement to 10, going awesome.
In the last section of the page write down what you can do better with your roles, a current challenge or system. Maybe you need to schedule in some time to get your accounts under control and follow up with clients. Maybe your overdue on a date with your spouse or some fun time with the kids.
Use these insights and notes as plan your next week.
Even though you live in a different time to my Nan, you can have the same sense of purpose as you go about your day.
Using my easy one page plan you’ll confidently manage your priorities because you’ll know what to focus on and what to put in your schedule.