As the new year is upon us it’s always handy to set about my intentions for the year and figure out what I need to accomplish. Even if I have no die hard goals, there are things that need to be done.
I firmly believe we all need to plan in the way that works for each of us and sometimes trying everyone’s method will help us find our own. This is the method that I’ve settled on so I’m laying it all out in case it helps someone else. Mainly I make a couple giant lists of things and I have a few calendars.
I find it handy to have 3 different types of calendars for planning.
The 3 calendars I use are
1. A big year calendar on one page
2. Month on one page calendars
3. My planner that is 2 pages for each week.
Here’s the Printable Calendars I use
The calendars can be downloaded in a bunch of formats and then printed on whatever paper. I printed out a big calendar because it’s easy to see but everything else is on the A5 paper that fits my planner. The weekly pages I purchased from this Etsy Seller. For the price that they charge it’s not worth my time to do what they do to get all the dates and everything just so. Remember, your/my/our time is worth something and I’m planning to help save that time.
Let me make a note here that I also use an electronic calendar. My family shares a google calendar and we try to mark down things that will effect others. This method can work with an electronic calendar for the final weekly planning but to set it up with goals, it’s helpful to have the others.
The list needs to be EVERYTHING that is anything.
1. Birthdays, anniversaries, little things worth commemorating, full moons, etc
2. Work deadlines
3. Work trips/events
4. Personal Trips/vacations/ events
5. Kid’s school events
6. Anything that I know the date… I write it down.
With this list done, I can start to figure out how much time I’ll need to prep for each thing or how long each thing will take me. For example: I need 4-6 weeks to get ready for a fiber show. My circadian rhythm may wake me up in the am but it doesn’t give me a sense of when a show is 4-6 weeks away. It certainly doesn’t warn me when a show is back to back with another so I have to prepare for 2 events at once. So for each event or item that takes an amount of time, I put a number next to it. That number will change if I have extra events around it that need extra prep. So it may change from year to year. I can’t just assume.
Once I have all these dates in, I can work backwards from that. This is why we need the calendars so we can count back easier and more accurately. So SPA weekend is February 22-24. I pack the truck on the 21st.
I note the numbers of weeks that I need to count back. Then I need to count back in weeks based on the little numbers I noted there. Then make my notes as to what needs to happen:
If it’s an event like most of the 4H ones I have listed, I only need a day or 2 to prep and that’s in the same week so I don’t need to note it. If it’s like the service on on the 20th, I need to prep a presentation and might not notice it if I’m working week to week in my planner so I need to make a note which is why it has a “1” next to it.
Then I go to the full year calendar and I cross out weekends or chunks of time that are immovable. Things that I will need to work around. Big holidays, work events, kid events that I know of, etc.
This brings us the GOAL list.
This maybe the tough one since it doesn’t have dates attached. Or maybe it does have dates. If it does, that’s even better because I need to assign a date to each goal. Here’s a part of my list to give an idea:
You can see this list with the yearly calendar that has weekends scratched out. I mark out the “filled” weekends on my yearly calendar so I can help plan out the goals that have no actual dates. If I cross them out on my big calendar, when I go to fill in my goal dates, I can look and see that May is a bad month to finish certain goals so don’t assign that month anymore work!
This is the time consuming part. I do this with all the goals, events and happenings that need it. The more detailed I am, the more my future self thanks me. Without surprises popping up in the calendar, I’m more prepared and hopefully able to really hit those goals.
Some of these goals might need a start date and others might need to be broken down further like you can see with my drafted jacket. I just make a note of that on my planning page and then transfer it all into the calendar. Sometimes I make a scratch paper like the one above and in the end – I write it all out neatly for setting up in the planner.
After I compile all my lists and all my dates, everything will get listed into the weekly calendar. All the work in the beginning means as I go through my year, I just need to flip to the next week and I know exactly what’s going on. That is if I did a thorough job. I keep all my old lists (except the scratch drafts) and the monthly calendars so I can have them to reference if I need to. Keeping all of this until next year will also help me plan next year. What worked and what didn’t?
Happy Planning Y’all
Note: While I am a fountain pen junkie, I use pencils to start out planning. It makes me feel better to erase then it does to have to scratch out something because I changed my mind while planning. If I do use pen, I end up rewriting my page so it’s neat in my planner. Do what works for you.
You can see my video that accompanies this blog post here: