Shown above: Well Planned Day Large Family Homeschool Planner
Whenever I talk about how to make planning a priority, I inevitably hear this statement from at least one person: “I’ve tried planners before, but they just don’t work for me.”
Have those ever been your words? If so, you’re not alone! But, the truth of the matter is that, more often than not, the problem isn’t the planner. The problem is that we have poor expectations of what a planner can and can’t do. A planner can’t solve the problem of misplaced priorities!
If you want a planner to work for you, you have to make planning a priority.
Make Planning a Priority: Stop Blaming the Planner
Now, I do realize that it is possible to get your hands on a planner that just doesn’t meet your needs. As a homeschool teacher, you will get frustrated if you pick up a planner that is primarily focused on general goal setting. You will also find yourself lacking if you have a planner that focuses only on the day-to-day.
In order to make planning a priority, you need to be able to both set overall goals and schedules and also deal with the daily tasks. If a single planner doesn’t do that for you, you’ll need more than one planner to actually be able to push past the frustration.
But, once you have the right resources in hand, you have to make the determination that planning is important enough to prioritize!
I’m going to share some tips that will help you learn how to make planning a priority. But first, I have a task for you. I want you to sit down with a pen and a piece of paper and write down all of the things that are keeping you from prioritizing your planning. How can you shift your priorities?
Your priorities are your choice. Making planning one of those priorities will make a huge difference in how you can maintain the rest of your priorities.
Make Planning a Priority: Determine Your Priorities
Now that you have put pen to paper and listed your priorities to see what was keeping you from making planning a priority, I want you to stop and think about that exercise for a minute. How did it go? Did you easily pinpoint ways to make planning a priority? Or did you struggle to narrow down what your priorities are?
If you’re struggling, please don’t give up! Instead, sit down once again with pen and paper and ask yourself two very specific questions to help you determine and focus your priorities.
What do I value?
The things you value are the things that hold the utmost importance to you. Write them down, then evaluate your time. How much time goes directly toward those things or people that are valuable to you? If your time is constantly invested elsewhere, make note of that. The next question will help you learn how to redirect your energy.
What are my goals?
Very often we misdirect our energy by acting on things that claim to be urgent instead of setting and acting on goals based on what’s valuable. You’ve listed what’s valuable to you. Now, pull out your planner and work through the ASPIRE method to help you set goals based on how you can honor what you value.
When other things start invading and claiming to be urgent, you can step back and evaluate them based on whether or not they help you reach your goals.
Are you starting to see why a lack of prioritization and goal-setting is the real reason planners haven’t worked for you in the past?
Make Planning a Priority: Break It Down by Making a List
Okay, you’ve recognized what you value and you’ve made goals based on those values. Now what?
Now it’s time to make a list! You don’t have to be one of those list-loving people who loves to write something down just so she can check it off. But, in order to plan, you do have to actually write something down.
Your first “something” is actually pretty simple: create a list of what is needed to achieve the goals you’ve set. Maybe it’s a list of tasks or steps necessary to accomplish your goal. Maybe it’s a list of supplies you need. Perhaps it’s a breakdown of what needs to be done when. Any of these will help. Just write something down! Something that will tangibly help you take the first step toward your goals.
Fortunately, On the Go and the Well Planned Day homeschool planners include the ACHIEVE method, designed to help you work through the process of setting goals and then breaking them down into benchmarks that will help you stay on track with planning and tackling your goals. This includes step-by-step instructions for making all of the lists you need to make!
But we also take prioritization a step further by making it personal. I’m building a community of Well Planned Gals who own planners and can hold each other accountable to set goals and plan accordingly. Why don’t you join us?