I recently asked on my IG account if anyone was interested in how I organize my schedule/goals/etc. 100% said yes! So, here I am.
I’m a big picture person, first of all. I think it’s important first to analyze how YOU best feel motivated, interested, and accomplished. These are just my ideas and what I’ve figure out for me, so it may be different for you.
I love to dream and think of really broad goals and visions. This helps to motivate me on a daily basis and helps steer me in the right direction. It informs the tasks I put on a checklist, after I’ve funneled them through a few processes. I’m motivated to get them done because I know they are a part of a bigger vision and future.
Just having things on a checklist means nothing to me. I really don’t care about checking things off just to check things off.
So, I always have to start BIG and work my way down.
First, I have my goals. I use the 5/25 method.
I’ve been using this for years and it works really well for me! If I’m feeling off kilter, it’s because I haven’t checked in on this list and it’s where I need to go to restart again.
The method involved making a list of 25 goals. Just write it out – a big brain dump – to establish all of the things floating in your head. You can add more later, but this is top of mind stuff. I keep mine still pretty broad, but somehow also specific. For example, my list includes completing the kitchen remodel. I’ve divided my house projects by room. For business projects, I have them broken up into big operational pieces, like “finalize permits” or “add 10 new products.” Also, personal finance goals, like pay off debt or save for a new couch.
Once you have the list, you reprioritize them from 1 to 25, in order of priority. Then, you draw a line right after #5. Now, you must ignore items 6 to 25! *maniacal laugh* It works for me because I am easily distracted by dreamy ideas! I have this list created in a Google Doc and sometimes I just leave it open all day every day so I can keep looking at it when I start shopping for couches instead of working on kitchen tile like I should. I also like that it gives me some freedom to change up what I’m working on as there are 5 items to choose from! That’s plenty of variety while still keeping focus. Once you complete an item on the top 5, you can move up #6 (or pick one at random, because I’m often altering this list as circumstances change).
After I have that list ready to go, I can start thinking about my month and week. I mostly focus on one week at a time these days, so monthly calendars are non-essential. I have a weekly layout I use in my bullet journal or here’s a nice printer friendly version to use if you don’t have a notebook and ruler available.
When things get a bit hectic or I need to ensure I am devoting a specific amount of time and energy to different projects, I use my planning sheets to outline my weekly goals. This breaks down my work into a set number of tasks/hours in one place which I can then assign to my weekly calendar, either choosing to spread them out over the week or devote an entire day to a project if I have that kind of time available (I rarely do).
There are some tasks that should be assigned a day and others that just get put in my general “to do” section, to be accomplished whenever, like phone calls or grocery lists.
Speaking of grocery lists! One of the things that really brings so much value to my life is meal planning. I don’t do meal prepping, folks. That is not for me. Too much work on the front end! But I do like taking 15 minutes out of my Saturday to write down dinner plans for the week and then making a grocery order. Luckily, we have free grocery pick up here locally so we can just make an order online and then schedule a contactless pick up. It’s AMAZINGx10! I even recently bought a white board so I can post the meal plan up for all to see! This means I don’t have to be asked 20 times “what’s for dinner?”
We also are CSA members with our local farm, so we get veggies delivered weekly. Between those two things and our own garden, we almost never have to go into a store anymore.
My printable planning sheets also include a habit tracker. This is getting down to the nitty gritty for me. I often *think* I am a habitual person and then realize I haven’t done something in over a week without realizing it. My only tried and true habit is needing coffee first thing in the morning. Everything else tends to be pretty fluid. However! There are times when habits can be incredibly helpful. For instance, now.
We are living in a time where it might seem reasonable to never shower or never really get dressed or just eat ice cream for dinner. I’m totally here for that but I also like to check in with myself when those kinds of habits might not be the healthiest choices, mentally or physically. I have used habit tracking to pull me through times when I felt uninspired or unsure of what was going on with my life (postpartum especially!). It felt good to just get dressed, do some yoga, and write in a journal daily for the sake of checking them off until I could recharge my brain to be motivated for bigger things.
Other things that “take up brain space” as my husband likes to say, includes budgeting and project ideas. My planning sheets also have space for this. These sheets are great for having family meeting type discussions because we can work together on them. We also use the Every Dollar app to manage our budget on our phones – sharing the account so we can both see the current situation at all times.
I’m a big budget nerd, so I also keep a much bigger picture spreadsheet to track goals and spending over time. Mostly, so I can quickly make an adjustment to income or spending categories and move it out over time to see how it affects our bottom line. This is also the first thing I do when hashing out a business idea! I can talk more about that later. But overall, this shows whether something is a good or bad idea, financially. Or, how to make some wiggle room for spending/saving. Also, trying to figure out how to retire early or make career changes!
Back to my weekly schedule, I also use Google Calendar when I’m feeling like time is slipping away. I block my time using color codes for varying categories, like family/home, work, business, and personal time. Using the color codes helps me to see the breakdown and make changes quickly as I can drag and drop things in new times. I also can add colors to show what my husband is doing so we can better balance out who is taking care of kids and home.
Often, when we start to feel stress creeping in, it’s because we are not doing any intentional planning and just living in complete fluidity, as is our wont. But it also isn’t effective for long and usually ends up making us feel like we just lost a week (or more!) of our lives. Having a schedule and plan in place both takes a load off my brain for the future and helps me realize that I’ve actually accomplished something over the course of a day or week.
Are you a big picture thinker or a detail oriented person? How does that affect the way you schedule out your time and goals?