How to plan your year in a single day, even if you feel overwhelmed or behind.
Can you believe that we’re halfway through January already? If the days are flying by faster than you can say ‘didgeridoo’ (I just think that’s a funny sounding word!), then don’t worry. You can still make this year a productive one.
Let me show you how to plan your entire year. And you can do this all in one day. Sounds awesome? Great! Let’s begin:
1. View your entire year at a glance
No matter what kind of planner you use, I always think that it’s beneficial to be able to see your whole year at a glance.
You could use the two-page annual calendar in your paper planner. Or maybe you have a wall planner like I do. Perhaps you can use a chalkboard wall as your calendar. I’ve even printed monthly calendars on A4 and taped them together onto my wall to create a huge wall calendar.
When you plan your year, it doesn’t matter how you view it, but that you view it – the whole year – in one view with no page turning or scrolling.
2. Mark important non-negotiable dates
When you can see your whole year at a glance, it’s easier to see when those important dates are, and if you’ve got events coming up that might be close together. As well as other important dates that you know you’ll be occupied with.
Mark off the dates that you MUST be available for IN PEN. These are the dates that are non-negotiable for whatever reason. Don’t worry right now about the hundred other events that you think you’d like to do or would be nice to do.
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3. Plan REST
Yes, rest and relaxation (R&R) are vital to a happy, well-functioning you. This is particularly important if you’re feeling overwhelmed right now. There are different types of R&R you can plan. I recommend planning all of them if you can!
- Special time with your family
- Time with your spouse
- Time alone
- Special time with a friend (or friends)
Depending on your personality, you might need to plan a particular type of R&R more often than the others.
And if you need to consult someone else’s calendar, as in the case of spending time with your spouse or friends, send them a brief message asking when would be a good time to meet up in the month of _____?
Schedule these R&R times IN PENCIL (or in something you can erase) as frequently or infrequently as you want or think is possible. These times could be just a few hours alone in your own home, at your local cafe or it could be three weeks away with the family.
When you plan your year and can see everything from an annual perspective, it’s helps you to know what’s likely to be possible.
4. Plan your year for productivity
Once you’ve got some rest in your calendar, it’s time to put some work in there too IN PENCIL!
“Work” can be anything from a project you’re working on in your job, or clearing out the bedroom. It’s essentially any kind of project that will require your time and effort.
When you plan for this kind productivity, it’s important not to put these projects back to back or too close together. Maybe consider having only one big project in a month (or less!). I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed so before you put any projects in at all, be sure to consider your stage of life right now.
What can you honestly achieve? What are you realistically capable of? And give yourself some buffer time to make sure you complete your project at a pace that works for you.
You need to give yourself some space between projects when you plan your year – a lot of space if you need to. Don’t try to change the world in a weekend.
5. Step back and review
Now that you’ve got your important dates, R&R and projects on your annual calendar, how does it look? Have you got some things too close together? Have you allowed enough breathing room between important dates?
The reason why I recommend writing your R&R and projects in pencil when you plan your year is so that you can rub them out or move them around if you have to. Writing these things in pen makes them too permanent.
But if you remember, the only permanent events are those you identified as the ones you absolutely MUST be available for – your non-negotiables.
6. Schedule items for the next three months only
If you use a paper planner or a digital calendar like Google, only put items from the first three months in your diary. Don’t be tempted to get your whole year of events in your diary. The only events that you should put in your diary for the whole year are your non-negotiables because you MUST make sure you don’t double book yourself for any of those.
The reason why I suggest only working with the first three months is that it’s important to stay flexible.
Your plans for certain projects or R&R times might start to look a lot different as the weeks unfold. But because you planned these IN PENCIL you don’t need to sweat or feel guilty if things don’t turn out as originally planned. It’s OK! An eraser is your friend!
And this way, you can be sure that you’re getting some important stuff done whilst also being able to roll with whatever may lie ahead or enjoy life’s little surprises.
So, I hope this post has made you feel like you can plan your entire year even if you currently feel overwhelmed.
Your year is waiting to be conquered! And I’m rootin’ for ya!
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