Rustys Corner: Proactive planning

The new year has started and most of us have hit the ground running trying to keep up with our plans to make 2021 the best year ever.  One of the foundational ways I have learned to tackle my goals is by proactive weekly planning. The book 7 Habits highlights this in Habit #3:  “Put the First things First.” If I don't set my calendar around what is most important at the beginning of the week, I get to the end of the week with a few of my top priorities tackled.

Most of us have more to-dos than we have time to accomplish them, and without making time each week to prioritize what should be done first, we end up crossing a lot of things off that don't really end up moving the bar at all. Proactive weekly planning is simply deciding in advance what is most important and what is not, and then locking your calendar to mirror that.

Everyone has their own way, but I start by taking the first day of the week (Sunday) and checking in with myself and the roles I play in life. I am a business manager, landscape designer, gym rat, father, husband, youth ministry leader, pilot...I have a couple more than that, and certainly not in that order. Unfortunately, my calendar will look like that is the order of priorities if I do not plan around it.

I look at my calendar and how I can intentionally move the ball forward in each of these roles I play this upcoming week. Naturally, some will carve out their own time. My office sets my landscape design appointments and my gym routine is routine as well. However, I have looked back and noticed it's been a month since my son and I have hung out 1-on-1. I have gone weeks without seeing or talking to my mom in the busy season. You get the idea.

Without this planning session, it is easy to lose focus because the whirlwind just keeps sucking me in. By being proactive, I don't have to wait for circumstances or other people to create perspective expanding experiences. It can just be a calendar reminder to call mom (which seems to be out of the blue to her), planning an ax-throwing date with my wife, or scheduling a tractor and dump truck dirt pile play date with Griffin.

It usually takes me about an hour to get done, but I promise you won't regret it. Whatever the roles that you play are - it just helps you intentionally improve in them each and every week, in spite of the whirlwind we call life. And we all need a break from the whirlwind.

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