2022 Planning: How to realistically plan your schedule, goals, & habits
This is Part 2 of our 2022 Planning; if you missed Part 1, go read 2022 Planning: 3 Ways to Align With God While Planning Your Schedule, Goals, & Habits. Part 1 is all about 3 ways to include God into your schedule before, during, and after.
Do you remember in high school or college when you used to have a calendar or a notebook with all the classes, schedules, tests, contact information? Fast forward a few years, we have our smart phones and free calendars that we have access to anywhere anytime.
When I was in school, I had to learn to use a calendar and a schedule because I did not want to get surprised by an unexpected exam or something like that. When I graduated, those calendars (my phone calendar) collected dust and were unused for many years because I thought I had it all together.
Even though it’s still the beginning of the New Year, the gyms are packed to the max, new years’ challenges or resolutions are in full steam ahead, and the commitment level is at an all time high. However, the burn out level will be at an all time high in a few weeks or months.
Why? Why do we over-commit and push ourselves to the max and then we get burned out a few weeks later? Is it because we pack our schedule so tight that we do not even have time to eat lunch? (We are talking to some of y’all here. Please take the time to eat lunch!)
Or on the other hand, we sometimes like to keep a mental calendar and not take the time to write it out or express how we feel about it because it’s all jumbled and stuck in our heads.
If you are one of the ones who love to pack your schedule (like us sometimes) or if you never have set a schedule for the week just know that it is okay to have some time in your day where there is nothing there, nothing to do, no one to see, just empty time to rest and enjoy life.
At the beginning of our marriage, we really had to get our life organized and we do not necessarily like surprises, so it has worked out great for the time that we have been doing it. Even though we are not nearly perfect, we share on how to *realistically* plan your schedules, goals, and habits without going insane.
Before we get into all the systems and ways to set up and plan your schedule, goals, and habits, these are all the aspects of your life you may want to think, brainstorm, or add into your schedule to improve or grow in more of:
Faith / Spiritual
Overlapping Aspects & Examples
There are some aspects that can overlap and be interconnected while setting up your schedule and habits. For example, for personal growth, you may want to read more books this year but do not know where to begin or how to start this habit, especially if you have not read a book in a long time.
You can choose to put up your phone and leave it charging in another room so that you can read your book – that is connected with mental health because you aren’t on your phone as much which can improve your mental health, such as lowered anxiety, less comparison, and better sleep. Or if buying books to read them may be out of your budget, you can opt for getting library books by buying a library card to save lots of $$ – this would be personal growth and finances!
3 Systems of Schedule:
As you begin to be motivated on the great benefits of setting up a schedule, physically planning out your week, and building better and healthier habits, you are now probably thinking, “Where do I begin? Or how can I do better?” See below for the fundamental and basic schedule organizing system and we use most of it and love it.
We will share the 3 systems you can set up your schedule, and we do not use all three systems but use one way. We know there are a million different ways to set up your schedule for the week or month from the internet, and we aren’t going to go over each one. Everyone is different and has their own preferences on setting up their schedules which is perfectly fine for us. Let’s get straight into it:
1. PHYSICAL Planner or Calendar
If you love having something tangible and physical to write down, then this is for you. We know that there are lots of planners out there in the world and online that you can buy. But, please do not feel the need to buy an expensive one when you can get one at Walmart or Target for $12 or less.
Be sure to stick with the planner daily, weekly, and/or monthly or else you won’t be writing down your schedule, goals, and habits after a while. Or a calendar for you to use or a family calendar. I read in a book once that, if you write down the top three most important things that day, you will most likely get those accomplished instead of getting distracted with the lesser important tasks of your day.
2. DIGITAL Planner or Calendar
For us, we have tried to have a physical planner, both individually and together, but we’ve had a hard time keeping up and if we do not have it on our phones or computers, we will likely forget to add things to it.
So, we introduce to you – Google Calendar! We love Google Calendar and have been using it for about almost 2 years now almost consistently. Here’s why we love it: there’s lots of great features such as adding more “calendars” for business or personal use, color-coding, time-blocking, sharing and syncing your calendars with others, use on the computer and phone, and it’s free! You can also adjust time slots and dates on the go super easily without having to search for a pen and your physical calendar.
While there are many more like Google Calendar out there, there’s also the option of doing a digital planner. We do not know much about that, but that is something worth looking into if you want more of a digital planner.
3. HYBRID ( Physical & Digital Planner and/or calendar)
How can we use a physical AND digital planner or calendar? I’ll explain further, since COVID wreaked havoc across our community, workplace, and country, the way we live our lives have changed drastically and it won’t go back to the way it was. So let’s say you share an online calendar with your supervisor or spouse that covers the big topics of each day.
Then, in your home office you have a physical calendar with important one off dates, doctor appointments, bills to pay, etc. so that when you walk into your office you are reminded about those pending tasks or dates in the near future or far future in a visual way. You can also have a digital planner/calendar in case you prefer that but your spouse likes an actual calendar.
*side note: you can have a notebook with you in case it’s easier to brain dump or write out your to-do list for the week, along with your physical or digital planner*
5 Ways to Schedule Your Week NOW
After reviewing the 3 systems of scheduling, we will share 5 ways you can get started to plan out your week or month, literally, right now. No more procrastination. No more anxiety. No more getting stuck.
1. Pick a scheduling system.
This is a no-brainer and lucky for you, you have three that you can reference right now. It’s much more easier on yourself if you pick ONE system of scheduling your week or month, not 3, 4, or 10. It’s so you’re not quickly overwhelmed or lose track.
2. Be consistent & review.
Consistency is the pathway to success. Pick out a day when you are scheduling your week and a time for each day to review what needs to get done, what got done and what didn’t get done. For example, Sundays can be your day to go over and plan your week; 9 am is when you review your day/week; and 5 pm is when you review what you did and see the next day.
3. Write down the important tasks *first* before anything else.
If you are the type of person that gets overwhelmed or is easily distracted, this is for you. Take some time before you do anything else to write out the most important tasks you need to do for your week.
It’s easier to break down into smaller steps to do what you need to do versus the one big task that you tend to procrastinate.
4. Actually do it.
We know this may seem like a dumb way to schedule your week, but it needs to be stated. It can be easy for us to talk and write down about all what we have to do, but it’s difficult to actually do it. So, here’s your reminder to accomplish your tasks for each day.
5. Take time to rest and don’t overpack your schedule.
As much as we can share about planning your schedules, we have to remember to take time to rest, give ourselves a break, schedule a vacation if you have to. Overpacking your schedule can lead to burnout, anxiety, and discontentment with your life.
*Bonus Tip: Remember that you do not have to schedule only for work, school, or productivity. You can schedule and plan out your grocery lists, meal plan, napping, social media screen time, friends hangout, and more
How To Accomplish Goals and Habits
This topic is difficult for us to write about because there are just so many ways to go about accomplishing your goals and habits. However, we want to really write about the absolute basic and most effective principles that have worked for us in our marriage. Then you can tweak or perfect yours based on what we share about. There are many ways to go about this and so take it as you wish.
There are millions of methods out there online on how to build better habits and goals and be consistent with it. With me (Lianna), I find it easier to write down. Writing down all the things I do want to do helps me visualize a pathway to get there. But, we can only create so many goals or build so many habits; we cannot do it all.
So, if you want to read more books but also cook home-cooked meals every day, exercise daily, start a business, and more, it may be overwhelming and you may fail before you begin or soon after you attempt juggling all of these things.
We recently contracted COVID, and I (Lianna) had it very bad. Before we got COVID, I was starting off 2022 super well with my goals I set for the year. I read 6 books in January, worked out almost 5 times a week, and cut off watching TV for over 3 weeks, and was consistently waking up at 6 AM.
Then, it all fell apart when I got sick and I beat myself up. I was so tired that I was on the couch, watching TV while fighting off my fever and chills. I physically could not pick up a book and read because my eyes were so heavy, and I slept in and took lots of naps. I felt so unproductive, but I knew I had to get better first, so thankfully, David and I recovered quickly and are feeling almost 100 percent ourselves again.
So, needless to say, as I am writing this, I am just now getting back on track. I had to slowly introduce my goals and habits again. I had to give myself grace to take my time and accept that I won’t be back to normal anytime soon. But, my worth and identity is not in being productive or fulfilling all the goals and habits – it is in Jesus Christ.
Breakdown of a Big Goal
If we can think of the first most basic thing to do before goals or habits in mind, is to ask yourself and ask God. “Hey, what do I want in this life? What does God want in your life to live your best?” Those are some of the starting questions that you can ask yourself and pray about to further align those goals, habits and dreams.
A few years ago, I (David) had a huge dream to write my first book and I honestly had no idea what I was doing or what I was getting myself into. All I knew was I wanted to share my story to the world. So that was it for a while, a year and a half later the book was out. Just like that, easy peasy. No, it was far from it. Honestly, the last four months before my book came out was probably my most productive time because I had a well-thought out plan.
I told myself that I was going to spend an hour (minimum) every day writing in order to finish. I set reminders, physical calendar, digital calendar, sticky notes everything…. It took some time but finally I was able to do just that. I wrote consistently for about 2 weeks until I was finished.
In those few weeks of really staying focused, it was so challenging and difficult to stay on task and delegate time to writing. Life happened and things came up you know? There were times I was eating my lunch and typing away. Or some of the days I would have to get up extra early to write. Or sometimes I was writing in bed before we went to sleep.
I had to work really hard to stay focused and stay on task and sure enough the book came together quickly and things went more smoothly and I was so much more focused. Why? Because I set a realistic goal that was a daily one but kept in mind the time frame I set to get it all done by.
A Perfect Resource for Habit Building
I (Lianna) recently read the book, Atomic Habits by James Clear, and I loved it. I really recommend reading this book if you would like to build better habits or goals or to break bad ones. He laid out the framework of setting new habits in a practical way. Start with one new habit at a time within a 2 minute rule.
Say you want to start reading more books but don’t like to read as much as you used to, try reading one page per day. Then, add more to the habit like reading 5 pages, or reading 10 pages or reading for 30 minutes.
The point is to have a measurable but attainable goal or habit, like moving my body daily for 15 minutes by walking versus exercising at the gym for an hour when you haven’t exercised in months or years. Then, you will quickly give up. Overtime, once you have established a habit, you will add more to it and challenge yourself more and more as you grow more confident in yourself. Little by little, you will be building your habits and fulfilling your goals.
In the end, it takes small daily goals to reach or accomplish your large long term ones. I think that if we focus more on the small daily goals that it will be easier to accomplish the larger ones. Overtime, the task of accomplishing goals will come more naturally.
This is the end of the post on how to realistically plan out your schedule, goals, and habits. We hope this will be a great resource and reference for you if you are just starting out or need some new tips on jump starting your schedule!
Resources for Blog Post:
2. Listen to our episode, Ultimate 2022 Planning – 3 ways to partner with God while planning your schedule, goals, & habits
Thank you for reading,