April Flaten
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5MoA Ep:25 Make a Plan

5MoA Ep:25 Make a Plan

Mar 22, 2023

Your action step today is to make a plan.  Whatever you have in front of you, for your week or your month or your quarter, take an extra 5 minutes to make a plan for yourself.

Story time.  Most of the time, I have multiple projects going all at once.  I have classes that I am coaching and classes that I am taking. I have workshops to prepare for. I have creative endeavors that are on going, including this podcast.  I have my own fitness goals to work on and more.

With all of this going on, I often stop to THINK about all of these projects instead of DOING them. And then I get overwhelmed because I just spent all this time THINKING about my tasks and goals and not DOING any of them.  So now, I feel even further behind than I did in the first place and I am in this silly spiral of THINKING about things, not DOING them and feeling frustrated and ashamed that I still haven’t done them.  It’s a vicious cycle.

It has taken me a lot of practice to get good at noticing a spiral like this.  A spiral like this is accompanied by restlessness, frustration, overwhelm and anxiousness.  I get worried that I won’t be able to get everything done on time. I get nervous that I am falling behind. I feel bad that I haven’t done more. I have these feelings about all of my projects, desires and goals.  All of these thoughts and feelings are indicators that it is time for me to take a moment, step back, and get organized before I move forward. 

Once I notice the spiral, the biggest thing that helps me move forward with a plan is to get it all out of my head and write it down on paper.  For me, the act of writing things down allows me to look at everything objectively and get organized by literally moving things around on my paper.  Now, instead of trying to see it all in my mind’s eye, which I find impossible, I can re-order, prioritize and plan much easier.

And you can make any kind of plan you want.  I personally like to write out my “I get to” list, and look at my calendar.  You can get out sticky notes and color code your plan.  You could brain dump everything out onto a napkin and leave it on your kitchen table to review at breakfast tomorrow.  Get a little creative and remember to evaluate your plan to make sure that it is continuing to work for you.  The most helpful thing that I have found when it comes to creating a plan is to write it down first. Any further organization after that is much easier once you have it all visible and in front of you.

A couple of bonus thoughts about planning.  Planning is about creating the structure for the action steps and processes, rather than focusing on a specific outcome.  With this in mind, I have found it relieving to adjust my expectations and understand my own timeline.  One part of adjusting my expectations is learning to focus on my efforts.  This helps me trust myself and my ability to get things done and refocuses my energy onto the things that I have control over, rather than worrying about the end result.  It ends up being like a science experiment where I am testing out what processes yield which results for my various projects.

Making a plan is a very simple action step to take.  And yet here I am in this Forward Moving 5 Minutes reminding y’all AND myself to keep it simple.  I often find that we overlook the simple answers because of their simplicity.  As in, the solution to my situation (regardless of its complexity) couldn’t possibly be that simple!  I assert that it can. If you are struggling to figure out what to do next, sit down, take a breath and write yourself 3 small action steps.  This is your plan!  It’s time for action!

For more on simple ideas for planning your next steps, enjoy this video episode!

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