BUSY VS. INTENTIONAL PLANNING
Nowadays being busy seems like a badge of honour. You aren't living unless you're running from one event or task to another. Your weekly spread shouldn't have any blank spaces, right? People will think you're lazy.
With a jam packed schedule you're likely to be left burnt out, stressed and anxiety ridden. Rather than fill my days with tons of things to take care of, my way of planning is very intentional and goal based. I don't plan to be busy, I plan to be productive.
Here's how my planner helps me to be more intentional with my time:
Generally goals are something I plan out for the year and break down into tasks for each month, week and day through things like habit trackers. It's not rocket science. These are just tasks that mean something to me and I want to commit to and accomplish. Either I think they'll make me a better person, make me achieve something, or let me live the life I want. Each month and week I assess my goals and schedule in action items that I can do to work towards them. I'm careful not to overburden myself with too many tasks otherwise I'm setting myself up for failure. By consistantly checking in with my goals and scheduling them into my days, i'm making commitments to be intentional with my time, not leaving it up to fate that I get these done at the end of the year.
TO DO LISTS
To do lists are obviously incredibly useful. As easy as they seem, there is a right way and a wrong way to make a to do list. Finding the best method is subjective to you. Everyone's productivity is different. I used to set a to do list for myself every single day and while my intentions were good, I was often unrealistic by setting too many tasks than was physically possible in a day. All that did for me was make me feel anxious and guilty that things didn't get done. Instead I keep a master to do list in my planner, which I have avaliable on the shop in A5, Personal, and Pocket. Each week I visit the to do list and choose a few items I need to tackle for the week. If I have to be more specific or there is a deadline, I will include no more than three tasks to complete for each day. Be intentional and realistic with what you can get done and don't put any more pressure on yourself beyond that.
Being intentional with your time means being purposeful with your priorities and time commitments. Think about the things that are most important to you and assess where your time is actually being spent. Do the two correspond? Probably not. I really enjoy using the Daily Routine insert to plan out my ideal day and make sure each hour of my day is carefully considered.
Separate your time into segments based on your goals and priorities or areas that will make you the most fulfilled. This way you can stay focused on one topic at a time rather than bouncing around from one task to another. Trust that you have alloted time later on to do that thing that you love, so that you can work hard now on the tasks at hand. The daily routine insert sits open on my desk to keep me on track throughout the day and help with time management. I flip between that and the current weekly spread to make sure I stay on top of it all.
I've made a graphic below to represent how my daily routine is organized by my priorities:
As you can see, every task is something I choose to do because it sustains a priority of mine. My day is working for me, not the other way around.
Working pays the bills and has to be done. Yet it doesn't have to be unfulfilling. In fact, getting work done and feeling on top of things will make you feel successful and more accomplished. In my daily routine you'll see big chunks of time devoted to working throughout the day. The ways I work involves similar principles. I don't commit to getting more done than possible, and I don't multi-task. Rather, I focus only on 2 or 3 tasks that I've prioritized for the day.
All over social media I see people talking about finding work-life balance and I am firm believer in that way of living. It's evident in my daily routine. Self-care and knowing when to relax and take time for yourself is incredibly important. It's essential to nourish different aspects of your life other than work; that's what makes you a well-rounded person. At the end of the day, the work you do is important but not everything. Humans are complex creatures with passions, hobbies, relationships, goals, dreams, and of course jobs. Instead, be intentional while you are working. Focus, get sh*t done, be a boss. Whatever it is you need to do, do it. But if you can leave it at the door when you get home, spend time with loved ones and nourish your soul. You're not a machine. The work I do is a passion of mine and I love it. I honeslty believe I could work on my business non-stop. I am fulfilled by it and doing it makes me a happier person, but there's a lot more to me than just work. For example quality time with my husband is important to me in our evenings. For this reason, I make sure my work is done by the time he gets home.
While having a beautiful home is important to me, the actual act of housework can take time away from the things I want to be doing. I devote 20 mintues a day to cleaning and tidying. I classify it as both fulfilling work and quality time because it is important to me and my husband that our space is tidy and without mess around we have more time to enjoy together in the evenings.
Taking care of my health and wellness is also important. There are several things I do throughout the day like take my vitamins, choose healthy meals, and exercise that ensures I'm making it a priority. But for me, wellness moves beyond just the physical, which means I take time to read, write, play, and seek out inspiration too.
If this all seems a little overwhelming and you're saying there's not enough time in the day for you to be intentional and get to all of the tasks you want, try the Sunday Docket. Read all about it here. It's a fantastic way to ensure you're set up for a successful, intentional week. For example, try devoting one day a week to meal prep or deep cleaning. Without time spent cooking or cleaning every single day, you free up down-time to devote to other areas of your life that add value to you. It also works the opposite way. If you love reading, writing, or other hobbies, set aside a bigger chunk of time on Sunday to take that time for yourself. You'll have nourished yourself on the weekend allowing for the week to be devoted to other aspects like work.
Planning in this way has led to a happier me. My days and weeks aren't jam packed with work leaving no time for other areas of my life. At the end of the day I don't feel burnt out or exhausted. In fact quite the opposite. I feel content and even energized. Everything I did that day took care of something that was important to me. I'm not terribly overwhelmed or stressed. I'm probably more motivated and fulfilled than ever. I'm not out of alignment. All areas of life that I deem worthy and important are being taken care of.
The takeaway? I'm not saying being busy is bad. But remember that being busy doesn't automatically make you a successul person. You can run around like a chicken with your head cut off and still not get anything important done. You can tackle a huge chunk of your to do list and still not tackle the most important items. So try it. Don't commit to just being busy, commit to being focused and intentional. If you're out there achieving your goals and dreams and your day is filled from 6 a.m to 11 p.m., I commend you. Be an intentional badass and crush those goals.