With packed schedules and harried lifestyles, planning has never been more important! Without proper planning, priorities are neglected and time is spent on the crisis of the moment or surfing the net.
Some people are fortunate enough to have fairly predictable schedules with only occasional modifications required. But if your life is filled with one interruption after another, traditional methods may not work for you. You need something that works if you have an open day and something that works if your day is packed. So here’s a strategy that just might give you the best of both worlds.
To plan for an unpredictable schedule, you need THREE lists. It sounds like a lot but it’s not as bad as it sounds.
- List One. This is a list of things you need to do every day, sort of a checklist. Life won’t fall apart if you don’t get these things done (make dinner, tidy the house, exercise, etc.) but life will go better if you do most of these tasks on most days. And this list is most effective if it’s typed.
- List Two. This is a list of things you MUST do that day – priorities! You will have problems if you don’t do these things.
- List Three. This is a list of things you need to do sometime. Whenever you think of something random you need to do, write it on this list. It’s a good idea to mark the items that are higher priority so you do those first (or at least get them done).
I made pages for my planner that incorporate these three lists. You can see them here. But if you’re not interested in a planner and want something simpler, here’s a planning sheet you can use.
To make this sheet most effective, type in your list of Daily Tasks and then print the page. Put the page in a sheet protector. I would recommend cutting away the section of the plastic sheet protector that covers the Things To Do area so you can write directly on the sheet. Put the planning sheet on your refrigerator or some other highly visible location. For the Today’s Priorities section, you can use post-it notes or a dry erase pen. I would also use the dry erase pen to mark off Daily Tasks as they are completed.
So there you have it. A simple system that allows you to be prepared for whatever life throws your way.
How do you handle an unpredictable schedule?