Saturday, February 18, 2012

Planning A New Week

A new week starts tomorrow. Time to look over your goals, and decide what to do with today, tomorrow, and the next day. If you're like me, your weekly to-do list on Sunday rarely matches your check-off list at the end of the week. It seems like no matter how logical my plan, things come up. Planning a new week can be a frustrating task since I'm never sure how it will turn out.

The techie thing I want to do with my website hits wall after wall of technical difficulties. That to-do item goes from "30 minutes to add Twitter button" to "1 hour to look up how to undo wrong HTML coding" since I am not a web designer, just a do-it-yourselfer. Welcome-but-unexpected last minute clients mean re-arranging my schedule to accomodate them, and unexpected cancellations in my acupuncture practice open up time to write more. A whole day can be re-arranged if my energy is lower than expected. And please don't ask about packing my house to move!

And yet, things get done. Since Thanksgiving, I have given my writing career its own website. I redefined my blogs to reflect my interest in personal growth on this blog, as well as the blogs for my practice and health-related information, and cooking with whole foods. We have found a place to live that is closer to my acupuncture office, freeing up at least 4 hours a week for writing or other activities. I have finished 6 new writing projects, started one novel, resurrected work on a second one, and put together a team for yet another book.  My patients now have access to an "Acupuncture Happy Hour" one night a week. Interesting classes on food and diet therapy are scheduled throughout the year, culminating in a cookbook.  I've revisited my filing systems and improved them, and have the plans for a new consolidated website that will make it much easier for my readers and patients to find information. Each week has had a plan, and even if I didn't finish everything, obviously some things have gotten done.

Reading the paragraph above, it sounds a lot more impressive than it feels most days. How did I manage to accomplish so much when I feel like the least organized entrepreneur in America? For me, it's all about perseverance. When my plans change, sometimes I mope for a bit, but then regroup. I try to keep things I can do while I'm waiting for something else (late patient, my computer to update, etc.). I can check emails, jot down ideas on Evernote for blogs, my novel, or for menus for the week. Some days, I realize I have overdone and I feel fried. When that happens, it's time to take time off.  Drop extra to-do's, rest as much as possible, and if that means I can take a nap or watch a silly movie, so much the better. But after the rest, I get up, and hit the list again. My weekly plan may change, but I keep having a weekly plan.

Some weeks I don't seem to accomplish much. But then I'll get a productive spurt, and do enough work to cover 3 weeks. In the past year or so, I've finally realized that is my secret. I will never have a clean expanse of completely clear desks, counters, and laundry hampers. I doubt you'll ever look under my bathroom and see neatly stacked toiletries instead of a hash of blow dryer, shampoos and soaps tumbling out. My sock drawer will always have a few spare single socks around. But my files were once a scary pile of papers that couldn't hold another sheet. Now I can find things I need. My clothes mostly stay in the closet instead of sprawling on chairs, and now our old pictures are even getting safely ensconced in archival boxes instead of fading in a cardboard box. Most importantly, I'm getting around to the things that are important to me. . .my religious life, time with my husband, and the work I love dedicated to improving people's lives via health and information.

The only way I've been able to manage this once unimaginable feat is to keep getting up when I fall down. I used to get discouraged when my attempts at cleanliness fell apart. When I forgot to load the dishwasher until I was on the way to bed, I was disappointed in myself. Now I accept that things happen. I either buck up immediately and do the aggravating thing, or plan better and get it done the next day, and the day after that, and get back into the cleaning habit.

So if you've been stressed over planning your new week, stop. Reframe your to-do list. Remember, if you have established goals, your to-do list should move toward those goals--it's an accomplishment list! If you fall down during the week, get back up. Revisit the list as necessary, and make adjustments to fit your week as it develops. Occasionally take a long view, and see what you've accomplished over the past few months, and what you'd really like to do--and revamp the list to point towards your redefined goals.

It's hard to believe I would ever be writing a post on how to face a week with enthusiasm as you work towards a goal. I've always thought of myself as the reader of how-to columns, but now I have finally absorbed enough of all I've studied to begin to share my vision for how to live your best life. I hope you are well on your way to living the life you want. If not, start writing down some ideas of what you want to do and be, keep your eyes on this blog, and check out my Facebook page. I'll be sharing advice from productivity experts, life coaches. . .and things I've learned on the way.

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