The 6-part planning session
Make Calm, Connected & Clear
a Priority for yourself
and for the people you love
Is your daily busy-ness moving you in the right direction?
Do you get to the end of the week and wonder where your time went? Are you frustrated, overwhelmed, feel out of control or disconnected? It isn’t easy to do, but if you make time to focus on your direction and plan your week it WILL benefit you and the people you love most.
Finish Strong – Last Call
Technically, this is the end of your week, not the beginning. It’s a little odd to “start” with the end but…
Clear what you can. It’s “last call” time. Make it count!
Kick off Sunday with a speedy version of your daily house chores (and a big cup of coffee). I run through my chores as quickly as I can knowing I’ll soon get some much needed planning time which I do at a slower thoughtful pace.
Check your task list and planner from last week for open items that you can finish. Don’t let this take over your time, but give it a little attention if your day allows for it. This should be something that will give you a nice sense of accomplishment (perhaps something you started but didn’t quite finish) to end your week positively and feeling motivated and in control.
- Any Important (highlighted) task items left undone?
- Is there a health/wellness item you didn’t get to?
- Is there a home care item you could check off quickly or would improve your week ahead? Perhaps a weekly or monthly cleaning task.
- Is there something dragging on your attention and focus that you could clear? Something uncomfortable that you’ve procrastinated on?
- Are there any quick wins? Tackle a few 5-10 minute tasks.
Time & Space
Set a time every week that you and your family members can expect (defend this time!)
Connect with your family members. Spend some quality time with them early on so you can spend quality time with yourself. Or, let them sleep in and get your quality time in before they get up. If you’re a mom, you have to strategize how to get this precious time for yourself – it is SO important and everyone benefits, so stop feeling selfish about it!
- Have little kids? Use their nap time; enlist the help of grandparents/family; split the childcare duties with your spouse, a friend, or neighbor; let them watch Frozen or TMNT for the hundredth time.
- Have big kids? Give them a Sunday chores list (cleaning their room – or any room you aren’t in – is ideal); plan while they do their homework (or while they plan their own week!); let them schedule this time with a friend; allow them to “chill” without you (reading would be awesome, but at my house this often means video games or netflix and if rooms are clean, chores are done and they’re not bothering each other or begging me for a ride or favor, I’m fine with it.)
General tips to set the mood
- Check in with family members before getting started to avoid interruptions
- Multi-task (kinda, not really): load/run the dishwasher & get a load of laundry running in the background. I find this helps to give myself permission to be leisurely with my me-time.
- Have food & drink at hand (think nourishing/comforting), plus your calendar, notebook, planner, pencil(s), perhaps post it notes or stickers. (Love glitter? Glam it up girl! It’s your planner.)
- I prefer silence so I can pay attention to my thoughts, but play some soothing music if you like
- Fire up your oil diffuser (Try Lemon + Lavender or Vetiver + Cypress or Peppermint + Orange)
Check in with yourself
- Connect with your body: Yoga (of course!) try the morning flow at the bottom of this post!
Or go for a walk/run, workout; stretch; or take a relaxing bath.
- How are you feeling? (physically, mentally, emotionally) Meditate or journal if the answer isn’t clear.
- How do you want to feel this week? Set an intention (often starts with “Be”), find an affirmation (often starts with “I”).
- Review the highlights of the week before — what do you want to repeat? Acknowledge what you’re grateful for.
- Review the lowlights of the week before — what do you want to improve on or have less of?
- Are you in alignment with your Big Life Goals? Is there a small action you can take to move in the right direction this week?
If you haven’t spent some time developing your Big Life Goals, plan some extra time for this soon. “If you don’t know where you’re going you’ll never get there.”
Review Current Task List
- Review your list from last week. Acknowledge what you accomplished!
- If you have recurring tasks (you do!) consider making a digital list of these that you can reprint without rethinking them.
- Are your tasks aligned with your Big Life Goals?
- Before transferring tasks to next week’s list, examine them:
- If an open item is no longer important, let it go! Guilt free. Move forward.
- If you didn’t handle the task because there’s actually a task that happens first, write that task down!
- If there’s an open item that isn’t a clear actionable task, rewrite it as something you can DO.
- If a task is actually made up of several smaller tasks then it’s a “Project”. Break it down and give each small task it’s own line/box.
This Week’s Task List
You can use any notebook for this or use a digital list system. I love Levenger’s To-Do pad. A bullet journal would also work well, particularly if you’re a creative type. I don’t use a digital list system for tasks (except for recurring tasks which are printed on my weekly calendar) because writing them down helps me stay mindful and I find motivation and satisfaction in manually coloring in check boxes. I find clarity in using metaphoric “buckets” for items on my list and “batching” like items is a proven productivity booster.
- Organize your fresh list with sections or “buckets”. Name your buckets, they might include: health, work, housework, financial, errands, relationships, parenting, project, I usually create a bucket for each of my kids and my husband by name… leave an appropriate amount of space under/next to them for the tasks.
- Move open items from your prior list to your new list. (The ones you just reviewed)
- Add new tasks — Make a big list. Get it all out of your head so your brain can stop using energy keeping track of them. (you can always cross them out or erase them later)
- Write down all the tasks you can think of
- Make sure each task is an actual action you can take. Be specific, clear and concise.
- Have a separate paper or journal handy to write down the random thoughts (that aren’t tasks) that will also spill out of your head. For example, an idea for a themed party, a blog post topic, self-talk (positive or negative), an emotional thought or trigger. Don’t judge your thoughts or get too side tracked. You can examine them later.
- Prioritize your list.
- Urgent: Firm deadlines, due dates, or scheduled appointments — add a notation to these (they need to go on your calendar/planner)
- Important: highlight these so you can decide when you’ll do them so they don’t get swallowed by unimportant stuff
- Anything you can delegate? Add the notation “Delegate to ____” Once you’ve delegated it (with clear communication), you can check it off. You may need to add the task “Follow up” especially if you delegate it to a family member (;
- Are your Big Life Goals represented by your tasks? Think ahead to your future self — will your current task list be appreciated by your future self? Add action items to your list that will move you in the right direction. They can be small steps, but these are Important and should be highlighted.
Schedule your calendar
I use a week-at-a-glance paper planner and a digital monthly calendar that is available on my work computer and my phone. Syncing these up once a week is critical to keeping myself and my family organized! I’ve assigned a color for each of my kids both digitally and on my paper planner via colored pencils (erasable ones by Pilot). I use the color red for appointments on both as well. I use a regular pencil to record client work or expense notes (through the week) which makes it easy to see later when I do my bookkeeping – these are added to my planner during or immediately after they occur, not during planning.
- (Boulders) Put all appointments on the calendar making sure paper and digital ones are in sync.
- Add reminders to digital calendar events so I get phone notifications at appropriate times wherever I am.
- Write these in red on my weekly planner (include drive time)
- (Rocks) Add the daily hard scheduled items to the paper planner (child drop off and pick up times; games/practices; family time)
- Any conflicts? You can’t be in 2 places at once — resolve the conflicts (usually requires outside support)
- (Sticks) Important but not urgent items. I like to use little post it notes for these or a lighter colored pencil since they are movable throughout the week.
- Highlighted items from your task list. Big Life Goal actions like fitness/wellness, personal connection, learning/reading, creative projects.
- Friends/Family get togethers with loose times; Important items without set times that make sense for particular days (like an errand on the way to a child’s practice).
- Batched tasks or themed days. (This is a whole other subject for another post – google it for an idea of what it is)
- (Sand) These are the daily recurring tasks that should get done (and usually do). I recommend a digital list of these that you can reprint each week without rethinking them. Since I create my own planner, I’ve added them to the side bar of my week.
- As you fill out your calendar week, add any action items that come to mind to your task list.
These are the additional tasks I tackle (and recommend) during my planning sessions. They could be done with a different time slot and are related but separate from the planning process.
- Clean up email. Also called “Inbox Zero” — reading and deleting emails on Sunday means I can go straight to my task list Monday morning. Doing this every week keeps the inbox from reaching unmanageable numbers and keeps me from missing important messages.
- Clean up my computer’s desktop screen. (while I’m working creatively, it gets really messy) Organize files into proper folders. Delete files no longer useful.
- Financial Review & Report. I check and record the balances of all our accounts and make this report available to my husband. Managing this task every week avoids all kinds of drama and keeps us both feeling informed and in control. It also helps us make better financial choices/decisions during the week ahead. The weekly report is added to my weekly planner which is really helpful to look back on.
- Weekly goals for my kids – chore lists, homeschool lists, expectations etc.. Following this with a family meeting keeps everyone clear, but it doesn’t happen as often as I’d like it to.
- Meal planning & grocery list
In a non-judgmental uplifting series of coaching sessions we will:
- Clarify YOUR Big Life Goals and verify you’re moving in the right direction.
- Examine your current schedule: the highlights, conflicts and stressors.
- Create your life “buckets” and evaluate your unique life balance and which ones to focus on right now.
- Create a complete task list of the to-dos on your mind.
Clear your head and get your action items on paper!
- Prioritize what matters most to you and learn strategies for deciding what to focus your attention on.
- Examine your current Calendar system(s) – what’s working and what isn’t.
Recommendations will be provided.
- Schedule your upcoming week to include what matters to YOU.
Align your daily schedule with your purpose and goals!
Find Calm, Connection and Clarity.
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Coaching package includes:
Communicate directly with Kristi on your schedule through email and text.
1 month of email/text support and accountability check ins
1-3 phone sessions (optional),
homework assignments: worksheets & questionnaires,
1 personalized week at a glance planner spread (printable digital file, dated and undated).
Optional invitation to our Facebook community.
1-2 in-person sessions for Whatcom County residents available (optional) within the package.
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