There is a lot to be said for planning. When we make plans, we are creating a form of commitment to ourselves and to others. We are structuring our days into some working cohesive schedule in order to move forward with less friction.
So that’s what I want to talk about in today’s blog post, the Power of Planning.
Now, when I talk about planning, it’s not just in the concept of a writing plan, such as outlining. I know there are pantsers out there who are cringing at the idea of outlining (and while I personally think it’s a great option, I know it’s not for everyone).
No, planning should be used for many things – plan your social media, plan your book launch, plan your work day, plan your weekly meals etc.
Planning allows you to work around problems, avoid obstacles and create a clear working path so you get more done. Spontaneity may be fun, but there are times when it can cause more issues. Planning is great for removing all the unnecessary “busy work“, it can help you use your time more wisely.
We all have random spots of dead time throughout our day. Maybe, like me, your laptop takes 20 mins to actually boot up and become workable. If I sat at my desk just WATCHING it boot up, then I’d be stuck in dead time. When you are on hold with the bank, when you are queuing in the shops, when you are waiting for the sink to fill before you can do the dishes…dead time!
Planning helps to make use of that dead time. For example, since I know my laptop takes a stupidly-long time to boot up, I always have something ready to complete while I’m waiting. This usually comes in the form of business prep, packing stock, cutting out the Thank You Cards etc.
These are small, easy to complete tasks that I can stop the moment my computer starts to work. They need doing either way, but it works better to get them done during this “dead time”.
In the past, I would have sat staring at the screen, drinking my tea and complaining to the wall about how awfully-slow my laptop is. Or worse, I’d have been constantly clicking icons before the laptop was ready which usually resulted in it crashing or whatever program I did manage to open would suddenly be unresponsive.
So working out dead time and then planning to have a small task to do during it can be a bit of a productivity boost. For example, I catch up on YouTube videos in my Saved To Watch Later list while I’m doing the dishes. That way I am not spending 10 mins looking for something to watch thus wasting more time.
When I know I have to make calls, (and let’s be honest, if you’re calling a bank or company, the likelihood is there will be a queue you are stuck in) I always make sure to plan my “dusting” at those times, or again, more business prep. Things I can do while I’m listening to bad hold music.
The only way I manage to do anything on my social media, is by planning ahead. I will go into planning my social media in another post, but I try and plan between 2 weeks and 1 month worth of content (sometimes, when house nonsense rears its head, the plan falls apart), but having a plan, including a day or two for working on it, really helps to keep things running smoothly.
Whether it’s your meals for the week, your daily to-do’s or the structured plan of writing and publishing a novel, the more you organise your time, create systems that work and plan ahead the more effective you will be.
Planning is not meant to take the joy out of everything, it’s meant to give you back your time and give you a clear path regarding what to do and when. So there is less unproductive “dead time”.
Think about your Monthly Goals, think about your Yearly Goals. Create plans in order to get them ticked off, yes things will creep up that you can’t have forseen but having some structure is better than stumbling around trying to get things done adhoc.
Here’s my advice, pick something you almost never plan – like meals for the week or your social media content or your mornings etc. Whatever it is, take a day or two and plan it – get a calendar, a list, a word doc – whatever works for you, and plan it out.
Figure out your “dead times” and add in what smaller tasks you can have ready during those moments.
Then stick to it! Really try to! By the end of the week, when you’ve gone through the plan and hopefully stuck to doing it, see how you feel and answer some of these questions:
- Did you find the planning useful?
- Did it help or hinder your productivity?
- Did you find yourself more or less overwhelmed with the task?
- What things could you have done to make it better?
- What didn’t work at all?
- Where there any dead time moments you could use?
I hope you found this article useful! If you did, give it a share in case someone else could benefit!
What is the one thing you are going to try and plan?