The Power of the Plan
If you are anything like me, you find it extremely hard to know what to do next. It may even get to the point where you say, “Fuck it! A nap sounds pretty good right now…” Well, there is a way to fix this. Instead of waiting for free time to figure out what you want/need to do, how about you make a plan!
There are 3 main phases to how I make my plan of attack when it comes to my “life’s work”. I have just begun this method and it seems to be working out fairly well for me. It would be going so much better if this damn weather would cooperate. -5 air temps are no fun.
*Hint: A large desk calendar comes in super duper handy*
Phase 1: The Monthly Plan
This is where you will plan out what you need to do this month. This can include what days your bills are due, any doctors appointments, etc. The main items that should go on anyone’s calendar. If you are an internet content creator, this is where you would set up your publishing dates. Think of the monthly plan as your Final Step for any projects. This is all of your due dates.
Phase 2: The Weekly Plan
Every week is going to be different. That being said, you should pick a day to plan out your week. I like to do mine on Saturday nights (I know, I’m lame). I usually plan through the next Sunday, that way I have more than a day’s notice to prepare for what I have planned.
For the weekly plan, you should figure out what goals/milestones you need to hit each day in order to make you monthly goals actually happen. These are not scheduled by times, just what needs to get done each day to bring you closer to your goals. For example, on Monday, your task could be to reach out to potential sponsors for your podcast. Then, on Friday, one of your tasks could be to make sure you received a response from that sponsor.
If you have a blog, youtube channel, etc and you know that you want your content to go live on Friday mornings at 5:00, then your weekly plan should include the small steps that will get you there. Some posts or videos will take more time to research and perfect. This is where your monthly plan comes into play. If you have set a publish day for each of your projects, your weeks leading up should include the small steps to get you there. When you have an idea for a project/post you can add to your weekly plan the groundwork phases for what your need to get to the final product. Once you know you are close and you can set a firm finish goal, that is when you enter that into your monthly calendar.
*I know this sounds confusing, but once you get started it seems to just come together. If I was more computer literate, I would have all sorts of diagrams, but I’m not that smart. Yet.*
Phase 3: The Daily Plan
Once you have completed your weekly plan, you need to start scheduling things. For your daily plan, you want to schedule out everything you want/need to get done. I have a full time job so the majority of my day is blocked off for that. I also like to workout regularly, so I need to schedule a time for that. I need to set aside time for what I call my “life’s work” which is all of this stuff; Barefoot Buffalo blog, my youtube channel, my podcast, everything that I am doing that isn’t my “real job”. A typical day for me looks like this:
As you can (maybe) see, is that I just block out times where I intend to work on shit. Inside each of those I have a description that tells me exactly what to work on, when that item is due to publish etc. I’m still working out a ton of youtube videos. There aren’t even on my Monthly Calendar because they aren’t even in the recording phase. Once I get the videos/posts everything into the editing phase is when they go on my calendar.
To summarize, the three phases go from the big picture down to the small picture. You plan your main items first, then fill in with what needs to get done then figure out exactly how to go about getting it done.
When you have a plan, especially like this, it becomes extremely easy to not get off track. If you have every little step planned out, you won’t find yourself with free time thinking ‘I know I want to do something, but what do I want to do?’ You’ll just end up wasting your free time trying to figure out what it is you want to spend your free time doing.
Your plan doesn’t need to be as complete as mine. I need mine to be more specific or else I end up taking naps. And naps are not productive. They feel great! But, they don’t really do much to further you along your path.
I use Google Calendar. I have my iPhone calendar set up so that I can see my Google Calendar in the iPhone’s Calendar app. It was a pain to set up, but it’s worth it. Super streamlined and accessible everywhere.
If you have any questions or suggestions, leave a comment and I’ll respond! I like talking with people. It let’s me know someone actually reads these things.
Long days and pleasant nights,