I can’t remember a time when I haven’t written down my thoughts, hopes and dreams. I write in my journal regularly, I love writing and I make lists and plan in every area of my life. I use planning for the daily minutiae of family and freelance life, but I also use it for inching towards my big dreams and goals too. I’ve had a lot of questions over the last few years about how I do so within the reality of a pretty unpredictable, slightly messy life (anxiety + dyslexia + young kids + 2 freelance parents) so I have written it out here. I’d also love to know if you also plan in this way too! The post got really long so part two is coming tomorrow.
Planning is a critical part of The Life Book, the planning and review process my husband Dave and I came up with 10 years ago. The system has been tried and tested first by us, then by friends, then by others who caught wind and have since joined hundreds of Life Book alumni. The process begins with wide open dreaming, and finishes in really practical planning. The Spring chapter of the e-course just finished and I’m not currently planning on opening the course again until the new year. But I have received so many questions about the more practical aspects of planning and goal setting that I wanted to write a blog post about it.
It also felt like the right time to release a bundle of the practical planning sheets with added ‘practical planning guide’ as a separate resource too. It’s £18, but discounted to £15 for the first week only. i’ve been busy perfecting and prettifying it and am so excited to get it out there for you!
I’m starting with some of the stuff that underpins my process. Back to basics, so to speak. Because this stuff is critical to the rest of it.
Planning simply provides a route between what you have and what you want. It helps you to be more organised and focused and can actually therefore really free up your time. Planning can sometimes feel rigid, dogmatic and soulless, but my process is none of these things. It encourages feelings, flexibility, kindness and soul searching. This is planning with soul, and it works. I love it, in fact, and credit it for so many things. Having a kind flexible plan helps me to feel on top of the vagaries of freelance life and young children. It helps me to prioritise rest and self care and look after my mental health as well as my physical health. Being able to create some routine and predictability is a gift in the midst of a rather changeable life.
The necessity of Kindness and flexibility
The foundations of my planning process are kindness and flexibility, and this weaves throughout everything. I actively talk about myself and my goals in a positive, affirming way (harder than you might think, hello cultural conditioning) I am kind to myself when reviewing the past and planning the future. And a kind and flexible planning framework makes for a realistic yet thriving and effective planning process.
A note on toxic productivity…
I also wanted to talk about the culture around productivity which can sometimes be unhealthy. Productivity is different for everyone, and does not need to include tons of completed tasks. Sometimes productivity is doubling your income but sometimes it’s doubling your rest time. I find the talk around constant hustle, 5am starts, multi platform productivity and talk of Sprints exhausting to even read about; they spell burnout to me. So whilst I am determined to reach my goals, I have had to find new ways to do so. I have learned to embrace rest and joy, celebrate the shuffle step, offer myself infinite kindness and encourage flexibility. And guess what?! A kind approach leads too much more positive change than if I was berating and punishing myself into productivity.
A system that encompasses both appointments AND goals.
My planning system is not just about appointments and reminders. Yes those are important and there is space for them but there is also space for life goals too, and the granularised steps I want to take toward them. My system encompasses reminders to be kind, a focus on lessons learned and gratitude. And that’s because these have all become really important in my planning and organising process. There is also a constant connection to the bigger picture and the overarching goals, which gives a welcome sense of perspective and focus.
Now we’ve covered some of the foundations, I’ll get into the details tomorrow. And if you want to read more about the planning bundle and ebook, click the button below!
Soooo you KNOW I’d love to hear about you. How do you organise yourself? Does it work? I’d particularly love to hear from others for whom life is a bit unpredictable and full too! oh and let me know if there’s anything you want me to talk more about? an ‘ask me anything’ kinda thing?