It’s important to keep all your plans in one place so you don’t forget something important and over-schedule your time. That’s why we recommend you carry one planner. But what about everyone else’s plans? How can you manage your personal goals, work on your tasks, and still effectively coordinate with your family, friends, and co-workers? It’s not always easy, but here are a few suggestions:
1. Find a system that works for everyone. Not everyone plans the same way. Some people use electronic devices and calendar apps, others love to use only their paper planners, and most of us use some combination of both. Regardless of how you plan, find a system of checking in with your team or family that works for everyone so nobody gets left out. Perhaps you’ll use a cloud-based calendar that everyone can access, or you’ll keep a beautiful wall calendar in your home.
2. Keep a large group calendar in a common area that everyone can see. If you want to be aware of all the activities your spouse and children are involved in, you can hang a wall calendar in your kitchen or home office. That way, each family member can check the calendar and remember where everyone needs to be. As you plan, be sure to include these events on your monthly calendar tabs and add those that are applicable to your daily pages as well.
The same concept can keep teams coordinated in the workplace. A common calendar is a great way to see the projects each team member is working on, when they have scheduled time off, and who will be available for meetings and project coordination.
3. Hold regular planning sessions with family members and/or co-workers. Meet weekly with your family or co-workers to go over the week ahead. Discuss any items that may be lingering from the prior week and schedule them early for the coming week. Determine where your family members need to be throughout the week and how you plan to get them there.
4. Remember to delegate. As you schedule your tasks throughout the week, you’ll sometimes find that you can’t keep up with your load, or you’ll notice that someone else is better suited for the task. Delegating tasks to others is a demonstration of your trust in them. When you delegate a task, be sure to place the name or initial of the person next to the task in your planner, so you’ll remember that the job is no longer on your plate. But do each of you a favor. Schedule a time in the future to follow-up with him or her to see how the task is going, and if there is anything you can do to help. When the task is done, check it off in your planner also, so you won’t worry about it any longer.
5. Remember that roles and goals are personal. Keep in mind that your roles and goals may be different than those of your friends and family members. Be respectful of their time and personal aspirations. If you are scheduling time to work with a friend on a personal project or a service activity, be sure to keep your scheduled time to a minimum, and to hold yourself to the schedule you set. If you can respect and value their time, they’ll be much more willing to work with you again.
6. Use your planner. One great way to coordinate tasks is to use your appointments column. Tasks aren’t always time-specific, but if you schedule time to work on them you are more likely to complete them. Plus, the moment you involve another person to work with you on a task, it becomes an appointment. When you schedule time for activities with your friends, family, or team members remember to not only plan when the event will begin, but also when you will stop—finished or not. Working with others is much more enjoyable when everyone involved knows what to expect.