This post is all about planning – why planning isn’t a dirty word, and how it can really help to create less stress and more productivity in your daily routines. It can help you to embrace planning and create plans that work for you so you can live a life that’s a little more stress free.
I am a planner.
Lists and spreadsheet have always featured heavily in my life.
I am also a stress head!
Having suffered from panic attacks and crippling anxiety in the past I am very aware and conscious of not bringing stress into my life as much as is possible (of course life happens, but being more aware helps!).
Luckily I have worked out that with a little planning, stress levels naturally go down, and without a little planning in my life, my stress levels rise.
Having learnt this the hard way, I now plan my life as much as possible – and here are the ways that planning can help you in your daily life as well – hope they help you too.
Do you resist planning as it feels constraining and regimented?
Planning gets a bad name for itself with a lot of people who think like this, but actually planning needn’t stifle you – it can give you a fantastically clear overview of your life and enable you to not only get more done, but reach your goals in life instead of wondering where time has gone each year that passes.
The question really should be – why NOT plan!
So, without further ado, here are my top 7 ways that planning can help you and your stress levels…
#1 – Creating a plan can help you to stay on track
Whether it’s a daily schedule, a yearly goal, or a life plan – the actual thought process needed to create a plan can help you to stay on track.
Need to get something done by a certain time? Having a plan will help you to work out what needs to be done and by when – it simply adds a little structure to your life, and enables you to know you are on track without having to constantly think about it.
#2 – Planning helps to focus the mind
Have you got something you really want to do, but just never seem to find the time to do it?
Planning takes away this feeling by showing up what you are using your time for at present, and highlights where you can change things around to allow time for other things.
It helps you look at the bigger picture instead of being caught up in the details of daily life – and this in turn can focus you more on the things that matter most to you.
When you focus you can more easily say NO to things and do more of what will get you to the place you want.
#3 – Planning reduces arguments
If everyone has access to the weekly schedule, plans for holidays etc…. then there will naturally be less arguments in the house.
Everyone in the family can see where they are, what’s coming up etc… and this alone can stop the double booking/over booking etc… that can so easily happen when noone knows what everyone else is up to.
If everyone is moving in different directions, with different plans and goals for their time – there is bound to be arguments and unrest, which we can all do without!
A little story for you:-
#4 – Planning creates a balanced life
No time for the gym?
No time to cook from scratch?
Whatever you want in life IS possible, if you can look at your time and plan it out more.
You may be able to squeeze in a run before work one day by shifting a couple of things around to free up half an hour, or manage to cook from scratch at the weekend to freeze for the week ahead – but you will only be able to see these possibilities if you look at the time you have and how you spend it, and then plan your time with more of what you want to do as a priority.
Planning creates more opportunities for time that would otherwise have been wasted
#5 – Planning helps you to split large projects up
If something is overwhelming, you tend to put it off….
Things like redecorating a room, spring cleaning the entire house, dealing with that mountain of paperwork – they can all stay on your TO DO list for ever if you aren’t careful.
However, simply splitting these massive jobs up into smaller chunks (just like a project manager within a business would do) can help you to slot in these smaller pieces of work into your day when and where you can – and before long you will get to the end and the large task will have been done.
You can see progress, and feel less stressed knowing that you are always moving towards that final product.
For example – when redecorating a room you may have the following jobs to do:-
- Planning the new design – whats changing / whats staying / colour scheme etc…
- Buying furniture
- Booking a decorator
- Emptying the room ready for decorating
- Styling the room after decorating
- Removing anything from the house that isn’t going back in the room
Doing it all in one go is a huge task, but being able to tick off each task can help you to get the room done with the least amount of stress and upheaval. All it takes is that little bit of planning up front.
#6 – Planning helps you navigate problems
Creating a plan can help you to see potential issues before they arise.
For example – planning a holiday? – knowing about other plans can help determine when to go away (my father turns 70 this year in August so it was vital that we didn’t go away for his birthday – knowing this up front helped us to pick the right weeks for our family holiday so we could do everything and not be stressed about missing something).
If you are more aware of plans and commitments then you are less likely to double book, less likely to miss things, and more likely to be less stressed as you don’t have to cancel and rearrange things – perfect!
#7 – Planning is satisfying!
How do you feel when you wake up in the morning knowing what you need to do that day, and knowing you are prepared?
It’s a much easier start to the day than rushing around chasing your tail….
Writing EVERYTHING in your diary, and getting into the habit of checking it the night before is key to running a less stressed life.
Having everything in one place is less stressful – and it can be a pleasure to live in your life when it runs so smoothly.
There’s also nothing more satisfying than being able to tick things off during the day as you get through it!
So – next time you are fighting the need to plan, remember that it can help in so many ways:-
- Keeping you on track and focused
- Removing arguments and creating a more balanced life
- Making everything you do more manageable
- Eliminating potential issues before they arise
You will become less stressed as a result of planning, so why not embrace it!