Make a plan
"So... what's the plan for today?"
I hear those words and simultaneously smile and roll my eyes. It drives me crazy when my kids ask me this. It also makes me proud. It shows they are engaged and are thinking ahead. They want to be aware of what's happening. It's a reinforcing concept because when they ask about a plan, it forces us to make one if we haven't done so already. And then the whole family is on the same page about what is going to happen. And when we share a plan, the kids will help us stick to it (the fun parts, anyway).
So on Thursday or Friday night, I'll ask everyone what they have in mind for the weekend. That way, if there's something they really want to do, there's a better chance we can actually do it because we will have planned in advance. We can think about what we need to accomplish and what will be fun, so there's a nice mix. We can also think about when the best time is to do something - if my son wants to spend a Target gift card and we need to pick up a few ingredients for a meal, the trip to Target takes care of both of these needs.
Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill and several others are quoted as saying, "Failing to plan is planning to fail." I'd rather think of it as, "Planning increases the chance of success." Consider these other types of plans.
Plan your outfits. Deciding on your outfit the night before makes the day go more smoothly. There are times I've even planned a week in advance, by looking at both the weather and what's on my calendar. It really helps eliminate the need for early-morning decisions.
Plan your meals. This helps you save money (preventing last-minute, full-price purchases) and improve the healthfulness of what you're eating (if you're planning healthy meals!). Batch cooking is popular for a lot of people, but even just planning a few meals in advance can help. Don't just plan for dinner; consider what you'll eat for lunch as well.
Plan your day. Many people are good at making to-do lists, but they're not always good at figuring out the when-to-do part of their lists. As you write down the items on your list, add a note about how long you think the task will take. And then figure out when you'll actually work on it. On Sunday afternoon I told my husband we'd figure out some business tax stuff that was on our to-do list when the football game wrapped up. After the game, neither of us felt like doing it, but because we had made a plan, we kept it and that part of the project got done.
Plan your budget. When we decided my husband would leave his job, a friend said, "But how will you know if you have enough money?" I explained we knew what our monthly expenses were, and we knew how much I brought home each week, so we were able to map out several months of expenses and income to see how it would work out. We've tracked our banking account in Excel (and now Google Sheets) for years. We could tell it would be tight, but also that it was possible to make it all work if we changed our spending habits a bit.
If there's an area of life where things aren't going as smoothly as they could be, make a plan!
Photo by Bookblock on Unsplash