Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Power Hour & Personal Planner

I was recently asked to share how I do my scheduling and how I keep my life on track by a friend.  I'm not really sure the why of this request, other than she says she has learned that to get the best information about the "how to's" of scheduling is by asking the busiest people how they manage their lives.  I guess that means she thinks I fall into the category of one of the busiest people and that I can manage my life.  She has a lot to learn. haha I am not really sure how I feel about any of that.  Yes, I am busy.  We ALL are busy. Life is busy!  But I don't like to wear being busy as some kind of badge of honor like I used to.  Being busy is just a given for anyone that breaths.  But somewhere along the line it seems it's become something to be sought after and many try to obtain that status.

I recently read an article that stated that our culture has come to value and admire "busyness" more so now than ever.   It said that we are all striving to be busier and busier because when we are busy we feel most productive, thus successful.  I feel like the focus should not be on "busyness" per say, but on the quality of what we are busy doing.   Anyone can stay busy playing games on their phone or watching re-runs all day, so it's not really being busy that is what we should be striving for, but making sure our busyness has value.  We can stay busy laying on the grass watching the clouds roll by.  What we have to determine is that whatever we choose to busy ourselves with, if it has value to our souls.  Some people would think laying around watching the clouds roll by is the biggest waste of time known to man, while others would count that as one of the most important things of their day.  Everyone's opinion of what we classify as using our time wisely is different.  And that is how it should be.  We should not judge others for what they think is valuable just because we do not.  Personally, I am just trying to keep my head above water most of the time.

But in recent years I have learned that I don't want to have my calendar so full on my "to-do" list that I never have five minutes to stop and smell the roses or to have time open for people when they need me.  If a friend calls me up and asks if I can go to lunch with her, I want to be able to say yes to the request.  I don't want to feel so pressured all the time that I don't enjoy my limited time that I have been granted here while on earth.  Time is our most valuable commodity and I have learned that in order to appreciate that gift we don't have to be using every single minute in a way that our society deems productive.  I find my most productive time is when I am still and can actually think and process those thoughts.  That is time well spent because I discover things that I otherwise would not have.
Ha! Excuse the language, but life is short and we need to plan some fun in our lives too!

Most of us have had the notion so ingrained into our minds that idle hands are the devil's workshop, so we don't dare stop and relax and just chill without an incredible amount of guilt seeping in.  Studies have been done that have shown our minds need down time in order to allow the creative flow to happen and to allow our imaginations freedom to roam. So, instead of being thought of as being lazy, sitting and being still should be considered one of the most productive times of our day.
Now, having said all that, I still have a full calendar, but I really try and be as flexible with it as I can.  I run nearly every day, but I don't hold myself to a certain time of day unless I am running with a friend because I want to be flexible with things that come up.
Some days are like that!

I have always been a list maker and I've always had some type of personal planner for as long as I can remember.  I find it very therapeutic to check something off of a "to-do" list.  I have been known to go back and write things on my list that weren't already there, just so I can get that satisfaction of checking them off once they are done.

Lately I have started to really utilize my smart phone's calendar.  It took me awhile to get in the habit of putting down my schedule on it, but now that I am in the habit of doing that, I have found that my life runs so much smoother.  However, I am still stuck between the hard copy and digital when it comes to my personal planner.  I've been told I need to look into Google Calendar and get myself familiar with that.

But as for now, I still use both my personal planner hard copy and my smart phone calendar.  I like to have something visual in front of me that is a week at a glance.  That really helps me with my focus on the week. I know Google Calendar is a good tool, but it doesn't have all the little personal things that I want and need on my planner.  So for now I am still very happy with my hard copy and so that is what I am going to share today.  I know someday in the near future, my hard copy will become obsolete, but for now I have personalized it so much, that I can't bear to part with it just yet. And, it works for me.  After all that is what the whole idea is, right? 


One of my favorite quotes is:  "If you don't plan for it to happen, then plan on it not happening."  I am one of those that needs to plan something or at least write it down, or it just doesn't seem to get done.  Even when it is written down, most weeks I end up forwarding many things to the next week because I didn't accomplish everything I had hoped to during the week.  And that's okay.  I do what I can reasonably do without trying to beat myself up when things don't always get done.  I don't want to be a slave to my list of things to do.

My personal planner is just that.  Personal.  I made my own planner on the computer because I couldn't buy one that really fit all of my needs.  I have finally got it almost perfected to where it really fits what I personally prefer and need in a planner.  I have tweaked it many times over the years and just recently changed it again so I could include a spot on it called Power Hour.
I learned about Power Hour from an article I read recently that talked about how we all have tasks that we keep putting off for months, maybe even years because they aren't urgent and have no deadline (which is why they don't get done), but they weigh heavily on our minds and sap our energy.  Something that can be done at any time is often done at no time.  The article said to set aside one hour once a week to work on these tasks.  One hour?  That doesn't seem like much, which is exactly the reason why this works so well.  One hour doesn't seem overwhelming even though the task may.  Anyone can work on something for one hour and the best thing is most of those tasks really only take an hour and if they do take longer, I have found that once I have committed myself to it, I want to keep going until it's completed. It helps to have a master list that you can draw from.  Some of the things on my list are:
  • Start blog book
  • Re-do baking center
  • Organize jewelry
  • Organize bathroom cupboards
  • Do boys memory boxes
  • Put together memory book for friend
  • Do "W" craft
  • Put running gear in shoe pocket holder
  • Order photo prints
  • Clean closet and donate clothes to DI
  • Write this blog post (I started this months ago and just never got around to finishing it because it wasn't urgent)
Power Hour isn't for tasks like planning a birthday party or things that will get done due to a deadline or for things that are reoccurring tasks like paying bills or answering emails.  It's purpose is to accomplish those one time tasks that become such a weight on our shoulders and minds.  It's very satisfying to be able to cross something off my list that had been getting continuously postponed and draining me. It feels so good. 

As I said, I have adapted my planner to fit my needs.  I found that if I had a place to check off things like reading my scriptures and saying my prayers, and flossing daily☺, then they were more likely to get done.  I am motivated by that simple little act of being able to put that check mark next to the task.  It is such a rewarding feeling!  I know, that seems weird, but trust me, it really is fun!  I also have a spot to remind me to do service, and another to put what my Weekly Focus is.  I have found that when I choose a focus for the week and see it written in my planner each day to be reminded of it, then that really helps make it come to pass.  I have a spot for what I need to buy when shopping (this is not a grocery list, but things other than groceries), a place for what I am preparing for dinner each day,  and a section for my house.  My house section won't make much sense unless you have read my blog post about my cleaning system here.  I didn't really elaborate about my system much, but there are some photos on the post of the cards I use to stay on task.  I was near 100% with that system for many years, but I have not kept it up as well as I want to lately.  Still, I wanted the system on my daily planner to remind me what I had scheduled.

Here is a photo of my daily planner week at a glance page.  ©
Here is a photo of it copied in colorful paper and filled in:
I decided I no longer wanted the Roles line and instead changed it to Power Hour on this one:©

                                                       This is the one I currently use:


I really am FINALLY happy with my system because it really does fit me personally.  I would challenge you to come up with specific things that you need on yours and adjust it accordingly.

One other thing that I have started to do is called The One Minute Rule.  Basically the rule is if I can do something in less than one minute, then I do it NOW.  I try to not allow myself to procrastinate if it can be done in less a minute.  I put away my shoes, hang up a coat, pick up clutter, toss junk mail, hang up my clothes, etc.  This has made a HUGE difference in my life.  All those little things that may seem like monumental tasks but really only take a minute or less, I just do them when I notice they need to be done. Not always, I'm human...but even if I do it only 50-75% of the time, it sure makes a huge difference.  It's amazing how many things only take a short amount of time but for some reason we just don't do them.  This little rule helps me stay on top of tasks that otherwise could get out of control.
I know learning time management skills are one of the most important things we can master while we are taking space up on this earth.  We have all been given limited time and no one knows when their time will be up.  If we can figure out how to best use the time we have been given, then we will be able to say we lived our lives to the fullest and did our best with the time we were given.
Off to my to-do list!  (yea I get to check writing this post off now!)  Squeal!
Happy planning!!!


Nancy Mc said...

I loved this post. I really appreciate that you added a copy of your daily planner.
I need to get BUSY! and of course get some things done on my 'to do' list. Thanks for the motivation!

Jodi Wilding said...

I'm glad it motivated you Nancy! I always feel like my "to-do" list is going to live on for eternity because I really can't ever get it all done! It will outlive me! And I guess that's good! =)

Audrey said...

Thanks for sharing this! I will NEVER be as organized as you (nor do I worry about that because I am NOT you!) but I love getting tips and ideas that I can tweak and fit into my life.

Jodi Wilding said...

Thanks Audrey! I love that you said that you don't worry about it because you're not me. I LOVE that attitude! We all need to stop comparing and just try to be ourselves and not try to be someone else. Learn from others, but don't try and be them. The world would be so much happier if everyone "got that"!
Someday I need you to teach me all about Google Calendar. Maybe if I learn enough about it, I can learn how to customize it and be done with the hard copy. When I'm ready that is... =)


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