Planning for life can be challenging. It is constant. We need to do it everyday and something is always popping up to threaten our objectives: meetings, traffic, weather, phone calls, or even just our energy levels and ability to focus. It can feel like we are under siege, constantly fighting against the daily deluge of unanticipated interruptions.

And to what end? Life happens and things don’t turn out the way we expect so what is the point of planning in the first place? Should we even bother?

Absolutely! (You had a feeling that was coming didn't you?)

Here is a list of reasons why we need to keep planning even when life regularly gets ‘in the way’. You will also find some useful strategies for making the most of your planning time.

The Virtues of Planning

A Small Amount of Planning Can Quickly and Easily Save Us Time. Consolidating errand runs, delegating or eliminating unnecessary tasks, and allowing us to more easily say 'No' to a request that won't fit in your day. These are just some of the ways we quickly recoup the time invested in planning.

Uncover Our Priorities. By thinking through our tasks and identifying our true priorities for the day, month, or even the year, we gain a better understanding of what tasks need to happen when and schedule them accordingly

Provide a 'Crisis' Filter. Once we know what is most important for us to accomplish each day we can proactively manage and give the appropriate weight to other's emergencies instead of reactively allowing their crises' to take over our day.

Improve Our Communications: Advance planning almost always reminds us of messages to send, calls to make, or information we need to share to ensure that all involved parties are on the same page.

Make Us Feel Better: Knowing what we have to do and when we are going to do it can help us feel much more in control over our time and schedule. This shift can easily reduce our stress levels which will increase the amount of energy we can put into the day.

Best Practices for Planning

Block specific planning time on your calendar. Actually stick to it. Take 15 minutes at the end of the day to wrap-up and start your to-do list for the next day. Take 1-2 hours each week to plan your tasks and schedule for the upcoming week.

Create a Weekly Family Planning Time. Sitting down with your spouse/family once a week can go a long way to eliminating miscommunications, duplicated or forgotten activities, and other headaches that can pop up throughout the week.

Make Us Feel Better: Schedule Time for Interruptions. If your work allows, create blocks in your schedule when you are open for calls, drop-ins, etc. from other employees. This also allows for scheduling 'No Interruption Zones' in your schedule (preferably when you are planning!)

Pad Your Time Blocks. Include some extra time for inevitable interruptions when scheduling project work sessions, meetings, conference calls, travel, etc.

Remain Open. Sometimes (maybe even most times) our plans don't turn out the way we expected but this doesn't mean things went wrong. If we remain open to all of the possibilities that life brings and even if you thought it would be packaged differently - we can give ourselves a break and more fully embrace the inevitable uncertainties of life.

Author's Bio: 

Julie L. Gray is the owner of Profound Impact, LLC a Life Balance and Organization Company that supports individuals seeking greater life balance and positive change through: Assessment/Consulting, Space Organization, Productivity Coaching, and Personal Assistant Programs.

Highly energetic and intuitive to the needs of her clients, Julie has developed a holistic approach to life balance management and organization that is both practical and powerful. Developed from her own challenges with time, space, and energy, Julie has first hand knowledge of the impact of this process. Her true passion is witnessing the exciting changes that take place when people commit to making a positive change.

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