Why Your Planning System Keeps Failing
Once you've got a planning system in place, and you're no longer living in crazy chaos without even having a to do list….what's the next step? If you already know about our three bucket system, you're on your way, but even if you're planning effectively and being realistic, you're still going to have planning problems. Watch the video here or keep reading to figure out how to fix it!
Obviously, you have to be realistic about what you can do in the time you have. You also need to figure out your priorities and goals and make sure your plans align with those goals. But if you're doing that, you still might be struggling to follow through.
I could tell you that the key is just actually doing it. Which is true, but that just isn't all that helpful, right? I could tell you to try harder or be more disciplined, but that also doesn't help anyone.
So here's the truth– most people rarely get everything done that they've planned to do. To fix our planning system, we have to accept that truth and then figure out how to deal with it. You could have a perfect plan for a day, a week, a month, or a year, all broken down into small, actionable pieces. But then when you can't get everything done one day, it all starts to fall apart. You're not the only one!!
Closing the Loop
The key to keeping your plan together is consistently closing the loop. After your day, what didn't you get done? This is NOT time for judgment or guilt!! This is just a time to reassign your tasks and close your loop for the day.
Even though I know better, I really struggle with overp-lanning. I want to do ALL THE THINGS. But I'm only one person with 24 hours in a day. At the end of my work day, if I still have a few little things hanging around, it is soooo tempting to just say I'll do that after my kiddos are in bed. However, does this fit with my larger goals of a better work-life balance? Of connecting with my husband? Of having some down time for myself? No. And scheduling those tasks for 10 pm would be very unkind to future me.
Closing the loop and cleaning up those tasks that didn't get completed is key, but you have to do this with kindness and without judgment! It is completely normal to not get everything done. If you overwork yourself, it's a short trip to burnout and to giving up on goals and planning all together.
Planning isn't about getting more done. It's about taking away that mental burden of the to-do list so you're not carrying it around. You can keep that list safe in your planner, and you know that way you won't forget it, even if you have to do it some other time.
Here are a few ways to close those loops:
- Cross it out entirely. Sometimes a task just doesn't need to be done anymore. Maybe I wanted to bring fancy decorated cookies to a get-together, but I ran out of time. I will just grab sugar cookies from Target instead. No one probably cares anyway– they just want to spend time with you!
- Reschedule it. Maybe it needs to be moved to tomorrow or even next week. If it's not urgent, write it down somewhere in the future, and let go of the guilt!
- Put it back on the master to-do list. Did you plan to have a yard sale this year but just not quite get around to it? Decide to do it in the fall instead of the spring or even next year entirely. It's not lost, and it's not that you will NEVER have a a garage sale. Maybe you just can't do it at this exact time because you're prioritizing other goals, and that's perfectly okay!
Truth time– NO ONE gets it all done or has it all together. I struggle all the time with overextending myself and trying to cram too much into a day. Closing my loops is how I help myself deal with this tendency. The most important thing is to let go of the guilt and judgment and just reassign those tasks without emotion. If you're really struggling, check out this video on what to do about overwhelm. Give yourself grace and close those loops because tomorrow you get a blank slate!