I’m not a planner. Blame it on the “P” in my Myers-Briggs, but the idea of spending time developing a long-term plan for something a year down the road is draining. I’m naturally wired to discover the future one day at a time and prefer working on short-term projects rather than ongoing long-term endeavors.

However, I’ve learned that my natural tendency avoids long-term planning doesn’t give me an excuse to not be prepared. In fact, I’ve learned that I have to become more disciplined in how I plan my week if I want to get anything done.

3 Manageable Preparation Ideas for the Non-Planner

Over the years, I’ve tried a variety of different approaches and disciplines to improve my planning abilities. If you’re anything like me and struggle with the discipline of preparation, here are three ways to overcome your natural tendencies and set yourself up for greater productivity and success:

1. Set aside 30 minutes every Sunday to plan your week.

Take 30 minutes before the week starts (either Sunday afternoon or early Monday Morning) to plan your week. Walk through each day and identify everything you have to do, estimate the time it will take to complete, and write it down on each day. Then, try to work the plan each day.

This is a discipline I adopted a couple of years ago that completely transformed my week. Rather than always feeling behind or nervous about what’s next, I have greater confidence and clarity about the things I need to accomplish.

2. Find a productivity tool that works for you.

Because our society has become obsessed with getting things done, there are dozens of resources and apps out there to help us be more productive. However, one of the most important things you can do when it comes to using these tools is finding one that works for you.

For example, here’s a productivity task sheet that works well for me because it focuses on the big picture & little tasks I need to remember each day. I also prefer to write things out on paper rather than using a digital app. If you haven’t found a productivity tool you like, keep searching for a template or app that works for you.

3. Identify a concurrent reward to motivate more planning.

One way to overcome the negative perceptions I have with planning is to reward myself with by doing it alongside something I enjoy. Sometimes that means getting out and working from my favorite coffee shop. Other times, it means listening to a specific soundtrack that triggers productive thinking.
Experiment with environments or rewards you enjoy that get you outside of your normal routine.

While preparation can feel like wasted time that interrupts our daily routines, it might be one of the most important ways we can invest our time. My hope is that these ideas would equip the non-planners of the world to be slightly more intentional about how we prepare.

What are some other “planning hacks” you use to prepare for your upcoming week effectively?

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