Got Any Plans?

 

 

I started this blog on February 1, 2015 and since then, I have consistently told myself that I need to post more often – not only because it’s a good tool to build an audience, but I also seek to enhance my writing capabilities, which can only be done by practicing writing. Basically, if you want to accomplish anything and everything in life, you need to work on those things regularly like you would work a muscle. If you fail to regularly exercise your skills, just like a muscle, that skill will become weaker.

 

But for the past 21 years of my life, I’ve been terrible at planning. And with the recent emergence of social media, it’s becoming increasingly hard to also stay productive while working. Some days I literally need to drag my ass to start working on assignments for school. And while I’m working it’s like one minute I’m doing research, and the next minute I’m Googling what Blac Chyna’s birth name is… and yes, this did actually happen to me once – her name is Angela White.

 

So in the past few years of my university career I have done some soul searching to find out how to become a better planner and how to be more productive. But, it wasn’t until recently that I remembered one super simple tool that makes me about 80x more effective in my work.

 

The simplest tool that completely changed my perspective on planning, is that I need to physically write/type down my schedule as best and as accurate as possible. Essentially, you need to calculate how long a project will take, or how long you want to dedicate to a project during a certain time. For example, it takes me on average 2 hours to write, edit, and post an article, therefore if I want to write 1 blog post per week I would need to schedule in 2-3 hours per week in order to get the job done.

 

The second thing that I can suggest, is to be flexible in scheduling. The world isn’t as perfectly organized as the aisles of canned food in a grocery store. Things might pop up where you need to reschedule some of your events. This also means that you need to leave some free time in your schedule for (a) some well-deserved Me Time, (b) time to reschedule events incase something more important comes up, and (c) open time for new opportunities to appear in your life because over-planning can sometimes kill your magic.

 

“But Stephanie, I do plan things in my schedule but for some reason I can never commit to them!”

 

I know, and this might be why.

 

Every week I have it scheduled that I have class from 2-4 on Tuesdays, so when I look at my calendar I know that from about 1:45-4:15 I will be walking to/from campus, and I will be in class. And when I was working in the summer with clients I would also have it scheduled in my calendar (ie, July 14th, 10am-12:30pm Appointment with John). And for both of these examples, I would never miss an appointment.

 

But I was so successful with these because both of these examples are very dependent on other things. If I don’t go to class, I will get a bad grade and possibly not graduate. If I miss my client’s appointment, I will let down John, John will think I’m unprofessional, and I won’t earn money that I need to support myself. My ability to comply with these scheduled events is dependent on other factors, which makes it so much easier to plan for events that others/myself depend on.

 

Bringing this back to the blog situation: If I don’t write an article, nobody will notice. It might bother me for a hot 38 seconds, but I’m a pretty chill person that will brush it off and move on quickly. But I don’t depend on my blog to make money, or to graduate, or to live in general. Yes, it brings me joy to write, but I can easily supplement my joy with many other things.

 

And adding in a simple “write a blog post” event every Tuesday afternoon from 4:30-6:30 in my calendar might not be enough motivation to actually get me to work on a blog post, but it’s better than just having the plan exist somewhere in the universe where I most likely won’t ever grab onto it. It’s also important to note that we shouldn’t be dependent on anything in our life except for things like water, food, and air. Therefore, I should not find reasons to be dependent on someone/something in order to write blog posts.

 

Also, another reason why it’s easier for me to go to class or to help a client is because it is carved out into a certain time. I know that after 2pm, my class is done and I can do whatever I want. When you don’t have a scheduled time to do something, it is easy to say “I’ll get to this later”, because we all have free time in the magical abyss of a place that we never actually seem to be in, that we call later. And to that I say NO! You know what else exists later? The time for me to binge watch The Office for the third time – and as much as I love The Office, I don’t need to binge watch it again anytime soon.

 

So yes, it sounds real dumb and basic to simply put things in our schedule in order to get it done. But just because something is simple doesn’t mean it’s bad or doesn’t work.

 

 

And lastly, I will now suggest that you look into ways that make you more productive because without smart/effective work tactics, you aren’t likely going to accomplish much and therefore will feel like you’re wasting your time.

So, here’s a list of stuff to help you slay the day to keep you concentrated & motivated on your goals:

  • Wake up at 5am
    • Many successful entrepreneurs wake up at/before 5am because we are most productive in the morning
      (or so I’ve heard… it’s on my list of things to do)
  • Set an intention for your day/task
    • “Today I will complete ______, ______, and _______. I will have lots of energy, and I will be filled with joy while doing so!”
  • Morning exercise leads to endorphins which leads to increased productivity
    • Apparently Anna Wintour (Editor-In-Chief of Vogue Magazine) hits the tennis courts at 6:00am everyday before work.
  •  Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and keep your brain sharp & clear
  • Listen to, and learn the rhythms of your body
    • If you are one to take naps at 4:00pm, you probably shouldn’t be scheduling time to work during that time. Respect these rhythms!
  • Make your working space a clean and enjoyable place to be in.
  • Keep a constant schedule on you so that you can constantly add onto and change according to how your day/week/month/year is going.
  • Find ways to motivate yourself.
  •  Plan “down time” and “me time” where you disconnect from the world and connect with yourself.
    • Meditate, take a bath, book a massage appointment, take time to journal your thoughts and emotions, etc.,
  • Create a list of things you need to stop doing
    • Checking Facebook often, eating while stressed, complaining, avoiding your problems, etc.,
  • When diverting away from your important plans ask yourself if your hero would do the same thing.
    • Would Alexander the Great go on Pinterest to find yet another DIY recipe to give his hair more volume and shine instead of continuing on his journey to conquer the world? Most definitely 110% yes! 😉
  • And lastly: Start this process in about 1 minute after you finish reading and sharing this article because there is no time like the present!

 

 

So I scheduled 2 hours to write an article. I started at 11:25, and it’s only 1:02, which means that I get an extra 23 minutes of sleep – Woohoo!!

 

With that, I say good luck to you in accomplishing everything that you desire and deserve. And if you have any other tips on how to plan effectively or how to efficiently  work, let me know!

 

 

With love,

Stephanie

 

 

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