What’s in Your Planner?

Happy New Year!

I am, once again, amazed at how fast last year flew by. Each year seems to go by faster than the last. For a while, I thought it was just part of getting older, but I know now it’s not because even my kids feel the same way. Our technological evolution and the resulting fast-paced lifestyle and 24/7 flow of information has a lot to do with it. Though I love technology in general, and many of the ways it has made our lives easier, I still wish for the simpler days.

This time last year, I had a goal and a plan for 2011 and was already working furiously away at it. It’s good to have a plan. Though my initial plan failed, my overall goal for 2011 was exceeded. Ironic, isn’t it – how a “well-thought out” and executed plan can flop and yet, through continued hard work and perseverance, the overall-goal for the year was not only reached, but exceeded? Flop or not, if it weren’t for that initial plan, 2011 would have likely ended much differently.

This year is starting a little different. I have grand ideas but am running behind in planning and executing implementation. Hopefully that means I’ll just skip the flop part. I’ve got to get revved up and organized so I can continue my current pace and lay out the stepping stones for launching those grand plans.

This year I’m also getting back to me. It’s time to start scheduling time for myself again, for social activities, and, most importantly, for my family. It’s hard not to get caught up in work when you’re running a business but you’ll be more productive if you maintain that work-life balance, take care of yourself, and keep sight of what’s really important in life – the people who are in it. How? It helps you stay balanced, focused, and motivated, thus avoiding the burnout that reduces productivity.

Sure, if it were only that easy, right? If you can follow a schedule, it can be. What’s your personal goal for 2012? Work out regularly? Take a class? Entertain more often? Spend more time with family? Figure out what you want to do, break it down into measurable steps, if necessary, enter it on a calendar you use daily, and setup reminders. That’s your time.

What about work? Same thing. How are you going to reach that goal? What steps do you need to take (what smaller goals need to first be reached) to reach the larger goal? What actions need to be taken to reach each of those smaller steps/goals? Break each down as small as possible. Set timelines for the big goal and for each of the smaller goals. Then schedule one or two of those small tasks each day that will move you toward the smaller goals, which will, in turn, move you toward the big goal. And, don’t just put those tasks on a to-do list. Actually schedule them. Give them a time all their own. They’re small tasks, so they won’t take much time; break it down to a half-hour or hour each day. Breaking things down into small, scheduled tasks helps you stay balanced while moving you forward at the same time. Be sure to set those reminders, too. Every time you finish a task, check it off your list and watch as you reach those smaller goals and get closer to your big goal for 2012!

I hope you have a happy, healthy, and successful 2012!!

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