Monday, August 23, 2010

Goals Update - Having a Plan!

One night last week I was so very frustrated with myself - after a terrific start to the week, in terms of productivity, I felt like I was losing my momentum again.  I started mindlessly reading through my old blog entries while wondering what in the world was so wrong with me that I kept losing my momentum on just about everything.  I have felt like I'm on a roller coaster this year - I get a lot done, then absolutely nothing, and then something done and then nothing again.  Ugh.  Not only that, but it was making me feel like I colossal failure since I couldn't keep being productive the way I wanted to.

I noticed something while reading those old entries:  Things get done when I have a plan.

Uh, duh.

Of course things get done when I have a plan!  Having a plan means that I plan to get things done, so then they get done.  It makes perfect sense (at least to me!).

Then the question becomes: Why do I derail so often, since I almost always have a plan?

I realized two things:
1) I usually have a plan, not a backup plan or a backup for the backup plan; and
2) I usually plan long-term - several days at a time- and then fail to adjust or leave the room to adjust as life happens in the meantime.

I decided that I needed to change that.

When I was getting ready to start my week this week, I wrote out my weekly to-do list.  This is my list of things that have to get done (things for deadlines this week), places we have to be and appointments we have, and things that need to get done to keep me on track with my longer-term goals.  I usually add a thing or two that I'd like to do but isn't necessary (like my embroidery) and something to bless John, each of the kids and one other person or group as well.  Usually, I don't get everything done on the list, but at least I can see at a glance what I need to do.

Typically, my next step is to plan my week, penciling each thing on the list onto my daily calendars in my planner.  My days are usually very busy (having a job, school, hubby and 2 kids does that!), and I would leave very little wiggle room to shift things around.  And I try to keep to my schedule, cramming more into the scheduled time in an effort to 'catch up' if I get behind.  It makes me frustrated and I definitely lose my momentum.

This week I didn't do that.  I took today and penciled in the things I would like to do on today only.  And I came up with a backup plan. 

Turns out, the whole thing was a good idea - both having a backup plan and only having one day planned. 

I ended up spending 2 more hours at a meeting for my new job than I had planned on today and it was too hot out to do the yard work.  I also overdid standing and walking this weekend, and my toe is not happy with me at the moment, so standing to do the ironing I had planned on doing tonight is not a good idea. Sitting with my foot up is a much better idea!

So, I am now able to move the schoolwork and yard work I had initially planned for today to a day later this week and have substituted some of the cleaning out I need to do and some other schoolwork for the yard work and the ironing.  Best of all, I don't feel like I've ended the day behind!  I love that!

So, I've learned it pays to have a flexible plan!

Do you try to plan? How are you doing at it?

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Lea