Some people are more chaotic than organized. Honestly, for some it’s unavoidable. Having a busy life generally doesn’t help. So, you’ve got to learn how to plan. Give some structure to your life. It sounds hard, but it really isn’t and I’m going to tell you how you become a planning legend in five simple steps.
Firstly – no, this isn’t one of the steps – admitting you’re a terrible planner is half the battle. I’ve always been an organized person, but even I forget important stuff. Some days are harder than others and planners aren’t always the best improvisors. So you have to find a way to mix and match both aspects.
1. Buy a Diary
I don’t mean a diary in which you scribble down all your deepest and darkest secrets, but your first step should be to buy a nice dairy, planner, agenda – whatever you want to call it – in which you write down all your appointments. Pen and paper is still the best way to keep track of your itinerary. You tend to remember things better when you’ve actually written it down.
Then, having an offline planner means that you have to remember to take it with you every day. This stimulates you to already think about your planning at the start of every day.
2. Double down and Sync Everything
Alrighty! You’ve made your first step to becoming a master-planner. You’ve bought the agenda, now you copy all your appointments in your calendar-apps. It feels like a redundant task, but by doing this twice, you’re thinking about it twice. So the risk of forgetting something becomes smaller.
Now, don’t forget to synchronize your calendar app on your laptop with your phone. If you use an Apple MacBook and also own an iPhone then it’s easier than ever. Just save all your dates to your iCloud-account and let technology take care of the rest. If you use an Android-phone we recommend saving everything on a Google-account. Synching up is real easy when using Google.
3. Plan your Planning
Never start with all your processes without a knowing where to start. That’s why we call it planning, thinking ahead. So, take some time to create a decent planning. Believe me, you only do this once. Start with:
How many days do I need to plan ahead?
So, let’s say you have to plan three months ahead. Meaning you have to divide this three month’s over twelve weeks. Within these twelve weeks, you have to make an itinerary. So how many day’s are you working or spending on school? Once you know this you’ve already won half the battle.
What’s your main focus?
Alright, it get’s a bit more tricky. You’ve got more than one project and you’re private life is a big mess as well. Just decide upon one or two main focusses. Within these twelve weeks, this should be your priority. Try to get these things done first.
Plan in some wiggleroom
Always make sure your planning in some wiggleroom, which means; Project X takes about three hours to complete, so I plan for five. Just to be sure. If you finish earlier, you can spend that time on another project or to take a breather.
4. Stick to the Three-Post-It’s Method
Especially if you run big projects, it’s best to use a scrum-like-method, like the three-post-it’s. First, divide this monster of a project up into bitesized pieces. Write the pieces down on post-it’s and hang them on a wall or a board. Now, take three post-it’s and finish the tasks you’ve written on ‘m in a logical fashion.
It’s also a good way to check yourself. If you think one of your projects should take about twelve weeks, but once you divided it up into small tasks you see that it should actually take you longer, that would mean you’ve made a miscalculation along the way.
5. Don’t be afraid to readjust your plan
Lastly, do not be scared to completely re-plan your plan. It happens all the time. Sometimes you stumble upon a roadblock. Yes it can be really frustrating, but sometimes there is nothing you can do. Sometimes it takes longer than you’d wish for. It’s a good idea to look at the tasks you can still complete until the problem is fixed.
Also, don’t give up if your initial plan doesn’t work. It just means that you are ambitious and there is nothing wrong with that. So give it another go and get back on that horse. You’ll see that you’ll work twice as fast after reevaluating your plan.
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