I have written a blog about time management and how to raise productivity, but I missed a big part of it out. PLANNING. Without the best-laid plans, are we doomed to fail?

I have always been a firm believer of having a diary or planner to a degree. I use it for the ‘have to do’ stuff and appointments. However, with today’s busy lifestyles and so many balls to juggle, is it time to plan a little bit more? I know we plan for what we need to do with the ‘to-do’ lists, but does that cut it.

I recently watched a TedTalk from Laura Vanderkam called “How to gain control of your free time”. As a single mum and a business owner, I kept saying that free time is something I don’t have. The one thing that has stuck with me was about the time management and planning – and one key phrase “I don’t have time!”.

I’ve got to do what?

We are all juggling different things; work, home, kids, helping parents, dog walking etc. The list is different for us all, but it can be a struggle. How do we fit it all in? Laura points out that there are 168 hours in the week. That is more than 10,000 minutes. So, we have time. It is what we DECIDE to do with it that counts.

Ok, so back to how this fits with time management and the endless lists. I find brain dumping works wonders. It gets EVERYTHING out of my head; whether it be work, family, shopping, or ideas for blogs. I write everything down and create my lists from there. What I have found as I went through my to-do lists was I didn’t plan my time. My planner/diary was only used for meetings, doctors/dentist appointments, deflea the cats monthly, and reminders of when to order a prescription. My planning process was mainly focused on work.

I don’t have time!

Family time was not planned – it was doing it, but nothing was being done. I never had any time for me. It looked like I needed a VA to do my admin.

I was getting things done. I was doing things with my family, but I was missing out on other things. It was like going through the motions; doing not living.

Planning permission required

Like any house build or project, planning is required. If I don’t have a plan, how will I get the outcome I want?

So, to give me some structure, and as a result of Laura’s talk, I have gone back to the drawing board and created a planning process. I have two physical planners and my electronic calendar.

One planner is all to do with the marketing and tracking of my business.

The other, my main planner is a Passion Planner. I use this for work and home integration. I have made sure that I schedule in my blog time, my client time, family time, dog walking etc. What I don’t do is set it in stone. It is flexible. Somethings have to be done by a certain time and date, others are not too rigid. I cannot and will not plan everything down to the last minute.

I do use my electronic calendar, but only to ensure that my appointments are not missed or there are clashes.

What I have noticed since planning and blocking the time in, is there is more structure. I am getting more done, and I am less stressed. There is more work-life integration. And instead of just saying it is family time, we have ideas for days out and PJ days.

I have my reading list, the backlog of TV shows, and destress colouring scheduled in. As a family, we work together to get the housework done. Although I still do the ironing ☹, I now do it now listening to a podcast.

There is no such thing as “I don’t have time!”. As part of my new planning process, I’ll add it to my list and I’ll get round to it at some point. It just isn’t a priority right now!

Get planning.

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