The Procrastinator’s Guide to Planning

4 Planning your shiftYou know what you want to focus on, the WHY that will keep you motivated to get it, and started cutting out the crap so you can work on your shift.

But, having the WHY and the what isn’t specific enough. We now have to start thinking of how you are going to accomplish them… aka… the plan.

The how is the plan… a detailed script of how you are going to accomplish your shift.

I know, I know… maybe you are someone who hates planning… thinking it robs you of your spontaneity or that it is too rigid and offers no flexibility.

Or maybe don’t know the first thing about forming a kick-ass plan.

Having a plan is a roadmap on how to get from point A to point B…  but also a tool to help you deal and adapt to obstacles and detours in life.  With a great plan, you always know where to start and what comes next.

To plan or not to plan?

A mentor once said to me,

“Stress and overwhelm does not come from having too much to do…but from not knowing what to do first or knowing what comes next.”

Having a plan is key to not only time management, but also stress management.

Your plan can be a detailed multi-step process, or it can simply be how you write one specific task for the day.

No task is too simple to write out a plan for.

Outlining the steps it takes to tick that task/goal off your list will vastly improve your time and energy reserves because:

  1. It allows you to step away from thinking about what to do, into actually doing it.
  2. It allows you to test, retest, and improve, especially if it is a process you are going to repeat often.
  3. It allows you to balance the other things around you (more of this later).

For example… All too often I see people will say that they want to workout, but they never get around to it.  Why? Because they just write “workout” on their daily to-do list or calendar.  That isn’t a plan… it isn’t specific enough.

Workout? Are you running, walking, or lifting. At what time, where and for how long? By only writing the word “workout” you now have to stop and think… which is not only exhausting, but it creates a mental roadblock and shifts your focus away from doing.

Simply put, if you don’t have a plan, then you are wasting a lot of time and energy thinking when you should be just doing.

So, which do you think is a better way to manage your time and stress?

The best laid plan…

Planning shouldn’t be difficult if you follow this 3 simple three step process.  Let’s start by taking your short list of shifts (aka priorities) to work on this month and arrange them in order of importance.

  1. Take the first priority and brainstorm all of the action steps needed to complete it
    • For example: Cook more one pot recipes for dinner.  You might need to..
      • research one pot beef recipes
      • shop for ingredients
      • get a crockpot
      • prepare meal
  2. Put the steps in a logical order
    • When you do this, you might find that a step is really unnecessary.  Cut it off the list now.
  3. “Verberize” each step following a simple formula:
    • Step = Verb + Noun + Clarifier
    • Get crockpot = Buy Cuisinart crockpot off of Amazon Monday
    • Shot for ingredients = Shop for soup ingredients at Whole Foods Tuesday after work
    • Verberizing makes the steps easier to delegate to someone too!

The idea is to breakdown your priority into mini-action steps that are simple enough that you can’t say “NO” to them and are written clearly enough (verberized) that you don’t have to think to execute them.

Repeating this process allows you to move from planning mode into action mode smoothly and effortlessly. So even when you are cramped for time, you can act and not have to think about what comes next.

Summing it up:

Planning your shift is all about taking your short list of priorities and getting very specific about how you want to get from point A to point B. So you don’t have to think… just act.

Life’s short.  So, make shi(f)t happen!


Know someone who could use a little help getting their shi(f)t in order?  Send them this post.

About The Author


Whitney, author of the forthcoming book "Making Your Shi(f)t Happen: A 6 week bootcamp to prioritize, organize, and simplify your life", helps professionals get waaaay more done in far less time (with far less stress), so they can get back to the important things in life. She is a wife, mom and lifestyle strategist. Grab her FREE videos here.