"If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail." ~Benjamin Franklin. I imagine that even Ben had things derail his plans from time to time.
I recently began adding a new dimension to my planning routine:
Every week, I sit down with my planner and look at the week ahead. But adding appointments or to-do's wasn't getting me through the BIG parts of my overall plans.
I wanted to:
- maintain my daily quiet time, despite the end of summer break and having to have a different morning routine.
- incorporate more activity/exercise into my daily routine without my early morning walks with my ever-faithful Jett
- spend more deliberate time with friends
- finish a major art project for my new office (I'm now traveling between two schools)
- add the information regarding characters and timelines introduced in Ringing Bells (available here) to my Series Info notebook so that I can...
- fine tune my outline for Book 3 in the series before I...
- start the rough draft of the new book
But something would always derail my plans.
- A new "forced" morning routine that included getting up at 6:00 wasn't working. I had been off work during April/May because of a bout of pneumonia. Then we had summer vacation. I'd spent a great portion of every day in Bible study - usually the entire morning after Jett and I walked, but now I had to be out the door by 7:15. And I was hitting snooze until 6:28! How could I do my in-depth study, my YouVersion lesson and read from my current devotional book AND look presentable for work? I let this derail my quiet time.
- A new set of responsibilities zapped all my strength and energy. One of the lovely benefits of pneumonia is lack of stamina. When Jett and I began walking, I barely made it 0.25 miles without having to stop and rest. By the end of the summer, I was easily walking an entire mile. But even that didn't prepare me for work. I'm now averaging 3.0 miles just as part of the work day. By the time I got home, I didn't have the energy for much more than the basic home responsibilities. I let all this derail my activities.
- Time constraints from working plus sheer exhaustion made me withdraw. As a creative, I tend to crave time alone anyway. But after a 6-week illness, I was eager to return to work for the last day this Spring. I was also eager for the new school year -- even with double the caseload. But there is so much to getting a new school year started. For ONE building. And I'm struggling to cover TWO. Mentally, I come home and just want to turn everything and everyone off and just sit and be numb. I let this derail my personal relationships.
- Overwhelm made me lose sight of big dreams. It all began to snowball. I wasn't getting my quiet time of 2+ hours like I had been for months. I had no energy to work on anything but work and home. And I wasn't spending time with my people. Big projects sat around, staring at me like brats with their tongues stuck out at me. "Nah nah nah. You can't finish me." I set them aside and walked past them. I let overwhelm derail the progress I'd made on so many things.
- Negativity drained me. The longer I went without working on the big projects that were taunting me, the deeper my negativity plummeted. No energy to work turned into the nagging voices of the "Can't" Sisters: Can't Do It, Can't Finish It and Can't Believe You Even Thought You Could. This annoying trio has been with me for many years. They had a chance to derail me, and they took it.
Finally, I was ready for a change.
Instead of hoping to get to the important things that don't fit into the appointments of the week, I would deliberately make a plan for the big To Do's in my life. I put them into the following categories:
Abba - (Aramaic for "Father") Top priority is a daily time with God.
Body - Activities and meal planning to become the healthiest me possible.
Community - Deliberate plan for time with my people.
Dreams - How to feed the artist and novelist inside me.
Emotions - Plans to maintain positivity.
As simple as ABCDE!
I'm using a Personal Size Planner Pad these days (check it out here - not an affiliate link) , so I made a template to fit the top section with the ABCDE prepared and ready. You can download it here if you want.
And I made a menu planner for my evening meals while I was at it. You can find it here.
Print them out on sticker paper OR on regular paper and put your glue stick to use.
Life's changes don't have to derail you. You must, however, be flexible enough to find a way through the changes to the other side.
Thanks for stopping by today. I pray that you will find a way to fit your priorities into your very busy schedule. God bless!