The Importance of Using One Planning System

“No man is an island, entire of itself” – John Donne

The most effective planners know how to coordinate their personal planning system with the rhythms of those around them, whether it’s sending a student back to school or spearheading a project at work. From setting up meeting appointments on the company’s Google account to checking the calendar in the kitchen at home, they know how to connect their plans with the real world around them.

IMG_2811If you’ve found that your important plans keep getting blindsided by unexpected tasks and appointments, it’s time to consider developing a habit of syncing the planning systems in your life.

Before you can sync up your personal planning system, you must identify the other systems that are part of your life. How do you interact with your family? Do you get Honey Do calls throughout the day, adding after-work tasks to your list? Do your kids tell you what’s going on in school well in advance, or at 8:59 pm the night before a due date?  Does each of your children’s teachers use a different app to communicate, when they don’t just send home a crumpled permission slip in the bottom of a backpack? When you enter an appointment in your computer, does it automatically transfer to your phone? Or do you need to make a separate entry for each?

Answering these and other similar questions will help you find the disconnects in your own planning system. Then you can communicate with those around you and take action to improve your interactions.

  • Perhaps your kids can write assignments on the wall calendar for you to check during your weekly planning session. You could help them develop their own planning routine, teaching them the importance of personal planning and accountability.
  • Maybe you open up your Google Calendar each Sunday evening and copy down the meetings for the coming week into your planner. Then, while you’re planning out the rest of the week, you’ll know which blocks of time are already filled, letting you plan thought- and time-intensive projects without surprise interruptions.
  • It could be that you discuss the day with your significant other before heading out to work. You could go over a shared list of tasks that need to be done each day, dividing out who goes where and does what. You can also decide together if there are times when calling just doesn’t work, and set a priority level for interrupting with new tasks.
  • As with everything else, planning works best when you take care of the important things before they become urgent. Deciding together what matters most takes the friction out of your small daily communications.

No plan is an island. The most meaningful plans require communication to execute properly. Do what it takes to sync the planning systems in your life, and enjoy the results of shared and personal success.

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