You might know by now that I'm a big fan of doing crazy things. And you might also know by now that sometimes, those crazy things work like a CHAMP and somehow end up making your life a lot easier (and even less crazy!) in the long-run! Today, we are talking about one of those crazy little things; how to plan a YEAR in advance!
Yes, you read that right.
I introduced this concept years ago, and since then, Freebs from all over the globe have fully converted. The concept is simple – take a night to pull up all your activity schedules, school calendars, work days off, holidays, and loads of other goodies explained below, get them on the calendar, get it done right, and enjoy planning AHEAD all year long!
Oh baby baby, it feels so good!
How is this possible? Isn't this really hard to do? Are you crazy? All questions you are probably considering right now. While I can't promise you that I'm not crazy, I CAN promise you it's much easier and more valuable than you might think! Especially with the Back To Productivity Month challenge currently happening, this is right in line with getting our act on-track for the next year!
Here's a video showing you exactly how we do it, along with a FREE printable to follow along with!
See? Not so scary, right? It's actually much simpler (and more practical) than one might think.
Here's a FREE PRINTABLE to make sure you cover everything in your planning sesh.
Again, grab the free printable HERE.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR SUCCESS:
1) PICK A THEME
Each year Bubba and I like to pick a single word to focus on; a theme of sorts. One year it was THRIVE (as we worked on getting organized and setting up systems to help us in not just surviving, but thriving). Another year was FELLOWSHIP (as we were working on making friends and serving others). One year was STRONG (as we worked on how to grow together as a family and couple).
Picking a theme as you plan out each year will give you an excellent guideline on things to focus on work on for the entire year both as a family and as individuals. Trust me, you'll be amazed at how much you can achieve and improve within your life by creating something specific to focus on and make the heart of everything you plan and do throughout the year.
2) USE A DIGITAL CALENDAR
We all know I LOVE me some cute paper! But when it comes to your schedule, which means anything with a date, time, and place to be, you MUST keep it in a digital calendar! You can write your to-do list on paper, and can certainly copy your digital calendar into your planner each week. Heck, I do! But your home base should always be digital to avoid double-booking yourself, losing the important information, and other common inefficiencies that come with paper planners. Just trust me on this one! We use Google Calendar because it's free and easy to use.
3) BLOCK OUT TIME
As explained in the video above, planning a whole year in advance can take some time. Just be sure to block out some uninterrupted time to make it happen. Also, keep in mind that you might not be able to plan your year in advance in just one session. If doing it at home is too distracting or too full of interruptions, go on a date and do it at a restaurant! However you decide to do it, grab your current calendar RIGHT NOW, and pencil in some times/dates when you can sit down with your spouse and make this planning thang happen!
4) COME PREPARED
When you're ready to sit down and do the dang thang, make sure you have EVERYTHING you need. Go through the printable above and print off, pull up, or dig out whatever you need in order to be able to fill in all those boxes. You will also need your phone and computer, power cords, and snacks. Always snacks.
5) SET REMINDERS WHILE YOU'RE AT IT
As you are adding things to your (digital, remember?) calendar, take an extra second or two and set reminders and alarms for things like birthday, anniversaries, and other important events. This will remind you early, giving you ample time to buy and mail gifts, and make plans for those special days.
6) DIVVY UP SPECIAL OCCASIONS
One of our top marriage tips is to trade off planning special occasions! For Bubba and I, it's namely Valentine's Day and our anniversary. What this means is that if in 2018 I plan Valentine's Day, then he is in charge of planning our anniversary in April. The next year, we switch! On that day whoever is in charge does IT ALL. They plan the activity, they buy gifts for the other person, they do all the planning necessary (including booking the babysitter!). The other person gets to sit back, relax, and get spoiled for a day.
…until we trade and it's my turn, that is. But hey, it's good while it lasts!
7) GOALS, BABY, GOALS!
Goals are SO DARN TOOTIN' IMPORTANT! As you are planning out the year, take some time to set goals before you do so, so you can work in HOW you plan to accomplish those goals, right there on your calendar each month! Anything from health and fitness, religious and spiritual, fellowshipping and socialization goals, even simple goals like remembering to connect with friends and family via phone calls and texts. Whatever it is, break it down piece by piece throughout the year and schedule it in like you would anything else.
The years when Bubba and I really put an effort in to planning our year advance and actually following our calendar have been more successful in just about every way! Yes, it's THAT GOOD. I promise, if you do the same, you can too!
Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Good luck this year!