Failure to plan is a plan to fail.
I promised that I would get practical in my last blog post. So I am going to keep this as short and focused as possible on my personal system to keep me focused, clear and ensured against unnecessary distractions and failure.
Now, before I show you how, I need to tell you the “what”. It’s a system to be worked, not just a simple diagram of hacks. Managing your time is just like managing anything else, it has to be a system.
Your body uses a circulatory system to circulate blood to organs. Your car uses an ignition system to ignite gasoline to move your car. Your house has an HVAC system that keeps you cool or warm–you catch my drift.
* Disclaimer: Half of my system is aided by Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner. This planner is designed around everything I lay out below.
Here’s my system:
We are creatures of habit. You and I form habits all the time; whether they be good or bad. The goal here is to reign in our rituals and make them work for our benefit. Athletes leverage them, successful business people leverage them, so should Christians aiming to fulfill Ephesians 5:15-18)!
- In the planner I use, I have 4 daily rituals:
- Morning-A ritual that helps me accomplish the most important before the “busyness” of the day sets in.
- Workday Startup–A ritual that sets my day in order instead of letting chaotic events dictate my day.
- Workday Shutdown–A ritual that helps me close the day and actually leave my work at work and not bring it home with me.
- Evening Ritual–A ritual that helps me get settled in and not anxiously think about the day ahead.
I realize that this goes without explanation, but let me show you something that you may not be using. I’m a person that needs a checklist, a “standard” to go by to keep myself on track. You saw in my workday startup ritual that I have a “Big 3” which are the most important tasks that I must get done that day in order to be successful.
So instead of using a calendar just for big dates to remember, I make a schedule for myself through the day. They serve as the bumper guides for beginner bowlers at the bowling alley.
Product used below: Fantastical 2
Daily Work Pages (Full Focus Planner)
This is where it may get a little nerdy to some of you, but at the risk of sounding Uber spiritual, I need to do it this way. I know me; and my propensity is to be lazy without guidance.
This is the bread and butter of getting things done for me. I love this planner for mainly this purpose. It helps me think of the most important things and the things that are not-so-important. It helps me prioritize them and organize them accordingly. I also have a notes page for any podcasts I listen to or meetings I have that I need to take notes for.
This particular exercise is very helpful. This represents what the title implies, an ideal week. If my week were to go as I desired them to, it would look like what you see. This took me nearly 3 hours to make, because it required me to think deeply about my week. I did this in the iWorks app called Numbers that’s available on your iPhone or iPad.
This is where my system is most helpful. It isn’t necessarily the most enjoyable because it makes me see my failures and weaknesses throughout the week. But, it is very profitable. Seeing my successes and failures forces me to evaluate my next week through the lens of grace; I have another shot at reaching goals and accomplishing much for Christ.
I review weekly, quarterly, and annually. This forces me to get above the trees to see the forest. I can see where my current trail is going and then how to reevaluate in order to avoid going in the wrong direction or unnecessary moves that don’t move the needle for what I need to do.