S3T Friday Jan 27 - Your daily planning isn't working...

S3T Friday Jan 27 - Your daily planning isn't working...
Photo by Brett Jordan / Unsplash

How to tell if your planning process is working for you (and how to tweak it if it's not)

Target State

Last week we talked about 5 building blocks you can use to establish the planning habits that will help you achieve your goals in 2023. I hope you have had a chance to try them out and are starting to learn what works best for you, and what helps you get set for success each day and each week.  

Here's what you want to be experiencing as you build your planning habits.

  1. It happens: you do it - in the cadence that you intend (daily, every other day, weekly etc).
  2. It's becoming a natural part of your life.
  3. You're seeing and feeling the benefits: You feel like the important things are getting done more consistently. You're not feeling as swamped. You feel like you have time for yourself, your family and your work.

This is what you want, and hopefully this is what you're starting to experience.

BUT if you're not, its ok. Its very normal to have some fits and starts in making this work.

This week I want to share the common challenges people often face when they set out to establish regular planning habits, AND I will share some proven tips for overcoming these challenges.

Challenge 1: Can't find the time

This is a common one. Many people say or think something like this: "I'd LOVE to have a well-planned life, but if you just knew what my life was like, you'd know why I can't plan out my day." If that sounds familiar, here are 2 things to examine:

  1. Your core beliefs: Do you believe you're supposed to have a well-planned functional life, or do you think you don't deserve that? Sometimes change doesn't happen because we have  deep-seated notions like "this is not in the cards for me" or "I'm just not the kind of person who can do this" or "I don't deserve it." When you surface these thoughts, its easy to recognize how silly they are and replace them with more productive useful thinking. Left buried and unchecked, these kinds of thoughts can be surprisingly influential in sabotaging our success.
  2. Your scheduling: It's easy to fall into a cycle of going to bed too late, waking up too late and starting the day in a mad dash, where our highest purpose in life is to just not be late to the first meeting. To get ahead of this, try doing a short planning activity at the end of your work day, to get you set up for the next morning. Or try getting to bed early, and getting up early. Different things work for different people.  

Think about your day: when in the day are you at your most alert, energized and clear-minded?  That's probably your best time for good planning. And remember, this doesn't have be a long drawn-out process. Some days my planning process gets done in all of about 10 minutes. Other days it takes longer.

Challenge 2: Consistency for the first few days, then it fades

If you're doing it, but finding it hard keep on doing it after the first few days, here are a couple of things to examine:

  1. Do you see planning habits as truly helpful for you, or are you just going thru the motions? Tip: don't do it just to do it. This is not an exercise to prove to yourself how disciplined you are. If it doesn't seem helpful to you, don't be afraid to modify how and when you do it. In the post last week I shared multiple ways you can modify these building blocks to make them work for you.
  2. Mid-cycle Regroup. It's common for people to have a good plan going into the start of the week (thanks to quiet time on  Sunday) but by Wednesday the plan is fried and the rest of the week is just burnt toast. SO, to help avoid this, maybe try a regroup Tues night...set your intention for how you're going to make sure you continue the planning habits you want to continue for the rest of the week.

Remember, make it work for you. If you want to try a Monday planning session, then you work off of that Tues thru Thursday, then do a Thursday regroup, followed by a Sunday planning session for the following week, etc, try it! The goal is to find the best way to help you stay on top of the waves of unforeseen work that come your way, while letting you continue to make progress on the longer term goals that are important for you.  

You never have to let short-term urgencies rob you of long-term success.

Challenge 3: I don't feel like I'm seeing results

You may be putting in the time, working on building the planning habits, but you don't feel like you're seeing a difference yet. You may have thoughts like "I don't feel successful or more effective...am I doing it right?" Good callout, this happens to a lot of people.

Here is something vital to check:

Are you watching for and celebrating progress or wins? You'd be surprised how many people do not recognize or remember the good things they did, learned or made progress on, in the past day, week or month.

Its just something no one teaches us to do.  

Maybe we're conditioned to "not brag" or probably more often we're just more biased toward noticing negatives more than positives. That's a natural inclination - our brains are wired to protect us, so don't blame them for being hyper-alert about all the things that could go wrong.

So we have to be deliberate about noticing the positive things we did, or learned or made progress on. This is an important step to help you start to feel the momentum and build commitment to the path you're on.

In your writing or journaling, make it a point to look at what went well, what worked. As I've tried to be more deliberate about this, I've found cases where I was actually improving more than I realized. For example, if you had asked me "How much time do you think you spend on (some activity important to me)?"  I would likely answer "Oh no very much, not really enough" ...and I didn't feel good about my progress in this.

But by noticing and tracking it deliberately, I saw that I was actually improving this more than I realized. I was feeling more negative about it than I should have! It changed my attitude from one of "I'm just not getting this right" to one of "I can really do this and I"m learning how to do it well!"


These are just 3 of the common challenges that we face when we set out to build good planning habits. I hope the tips I shared will help you see that you can overcome these challenges and build your commitment and momentum in building planning habits that work for you and set you up for success!

What's coming in the S3T Sunday Edition!

Another amazing edition is already in the works - here's a sneak preview of the topics.

  • Big data is getting bigger - and this is changing the playbook for business success in the 2020's - as well as the career paths for analytics professionals. What it will take to survive and thrive over the next 8 years.  
  • Why enterprise blockchain has languished for so long, and what's about to change that.  
  • Are Crypto and Wall St going separate ways? This a good time to review the difference between CeFi (legacy centralized finance) and DeFi (decentralized finance).
  • BTC is up 40% in 2023, making it one of the best performing assets. What’s making crypto (and other assets) rise? Is a new bull starting?
  • One addition that makes teriyaki chicken tacquitos next-level insanely good.

Plus the debt limit, tech layoffs (what all those smart people are doing next), Nature Notes and more!

Where's your perfect spot to read and think this weekend?

Photo by Artem Kovalev / Unsplash

Thanks for reading and sharing, and thanks especially for your change leadership!

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Get set to make it happen in 2023!
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