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  • Writer's pictureBrianna Wall

Planning for Success

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

The three-step process I use to approach my days with intentionality and focus

This month, I’m sharing my three-step process to approaching my days with intentionality and focus. This process helps ensure everything stays on track — from my life as a working mom, a community supporter, the leader of a marketing team, a church volunteer and any other role I have committed to. It’s important to me that when I commit to something, I give it 110 percent, and I have learned that it’s impossible for me to do that without some kind of organizational system to keep me on track.

I’m sharing these steps in case someone reading is looking for a way to manage all their different roles and give their best to each one. My first step is my Monthly Outlook; second, my Weekly Forecast, and finally, my Daily Check-In. If I skip any of them, my days will go on, but I won’t quite feel as peaceful in them. I’ll explain what that means later.

Why do I put so much effort into being so intentional about continuously growing and trying to avoid complacency? The simple answer is I’ve seen myself at my worst, and my people deserve my best. If parenting has taught me anything, it's that our natural instinct is selfishness — just look at kids, you don’t have to teach kids to keep things for themselves, or to not share. I don't want to be self-centered and self-serving as an adult, so growth in the other direction is my only option. But it doesn't happen on its own.

Growing in development, growing in my walk with God, growing out of that natural instinct of selfishness to be a light to others needs to be intentional, and this process helps ensure I do more of that in my day to day.

A step I didn’t include in this is the day I take each December to review my year, recalibrate if needed, revise or reset my goals, and just celebrate what God has done in and through me that year and look forward to what we’ll accomplish in the coming year. I like to spend the rest of that day doing something fun like going to see a movie solo (which is amazing if you’ve never experienced this), splurging for lunch, getting a massage, etc.

A few years ago during one of these yearly planning sessions, I established my five core values as faith, family, health, service and community. Since then, I’ve set specific goals for each of these areas and spend some time each month just ensuring I’m staying intentional and doing something to actively live out those values. This day each year lays the foundation for the three steps I'm sharing in this post.

Step 1. My Monthly Outlook

I start my Monthly Outlook by brewing my favorite seasonal bougie coffee drink, grabbing my MacBook, my planner and my favorite erasable pens, and heading to my dreamy home office. I used to pack up and head to a local coffee shop, but I'm now more comfortable in my home office. Once I’m settled in there with all of my supplies, I turn on Spotify’s LoFi Beats playlist and get to work.

In my planner, I begin by looking at the past month’s actionable goals:

  • Did I text my close friends to check in?

  • How did I serve someone else?

  • Was I intentional about family devotionals or did we slack on those?

  • How did I support my community?

  • Did I hit my water consumption goal?

I get very specific. If there’s anything I haven’t accomplished yet and can do quickly, I set a reminder in my phone to complete them later that day. Again, these are commitments I’ve made — even if they’re just commitments to myself — and I try my best to meet them.

After I look back at the month that’s ending, I look ahead to the next month. What steps will I take this month that reflect my values? Maybe there’s a spiritual discipline I want or need to work on, or we’re being intentional about family dinner time, so we want to cook a homemade dinner a few nights a week…whatever the goals are, I am sure to write them down so I can check in with them throughout the month.

Some things I do every single month are:

  • Plan a date afternoon with my husband. We each take off one Friday afternoon a month and go to lunch, usually have some wine, and just spend time together before we pick up our son from school.

  • Plan a monthly Family Fun Night. This could be a night at the trampoline park, going to a movie, or we even went big one time and did an overnight hotel stay. Again, I’m having to create these moments. I can’t afford to let busyness steal all of my time.

I do make time for rest because that’s important too, but these little moments are the things that we’ll look back on as big moments.
  • Set a community-focused goal. I love these because I either discover something new or get to share about something great in my beloved town of Moore, Oklahoma! I've shared my favorite small, local businesses on my social media pages. I've tried to visit two places I’ve never been before – we discovered our favorite local taco place as a result of this goal! I try to set goals that, when completed, add value to our community.

  • Schedule coffee or lunch with at least two professional connections. To continue growing professionally, it's important that I surround myself with leaders I admire and strive to be like. I use these meetings to connect on a personal level but also to strategically position myself, my team and/or my company.

  • Identify one way I will grow in leadership development. Since I was promoted to the leader of my company’s marketing team, I identify one way I will grow in my leadership development each month. Whether it's reading a book or blog post, or listening to a podcast episode, I devote time each month to growing in this area.

  • Identify the three health stats I’m going to focus on next month. Water intake is always on this list because, let’s face it, if I don’t have a box to check, I’m probably not drinking that water. I’ve lowered my saturated fat intake, sugar, overall fat, and I’ve increased things like steps or miles walked, workout minutes and hours slept per night — all as a result of identifying health as a core value, making a commitment to get and stay healthy, and setting attainable goals each month.

If anyone’s birthday is coming up or an event that requires an errand to be run or specific action on my part, I use the OmniFocus app to put reminders in my phone. I’ve used this app to remind myself to put a card in the mail, place an order, send flowers or an encouraging text message, and so many other things over the years. I’m constantly adding tasks to it and checking others complete. Having a system where you can enter all the random things that pop into your mind frees up space so you can think more creatively and be in the moment. I'll talk more about this in next month's blog post. Until then, check out this podcast episode for more!

Once I fill in my planning and tracking sheets for the month, I’m finished! While it might sound like a lot, I usually spend about an hour or less, although if I have more time to give, I don’t rush it. This is one of those times I’ve come to look forward to because it allows me a minute to just sip my delicious white peppermint mocha and reflect.

Like I do with other important tasks or events, I have a recurring calendar event so I don’t schedule anything else over this time.

2. Weekly Forecast

My Weekly Forecast is probably the step that throws me off the most if I skip it. Not only do I not feel prepared for the week, but my family can feel it too. There just seems to be an uneasiness in the air until I have a minute to wrap my mind around what is expected of me this week.

My Weekly Forecast almost always happens on Sundays after lunch. I start by checking off the weekly goals I met in the last week. Currently, my weekly goals include:

  • spending 30 to 45 minutes in my Bible study Monday through Friday

  • serving my church, a person or a group of people in a way that requires some kind of sacrifice on my part

  • intentional work on whatever spiritual discipline I’m working on

  • reading one family devotional per week

  • checking in with a friend

  • working out 5 times

  • drinking at least 530 ounces of water

Are most of these something I would probably accomplish anyway, without having them written down? Maybe, but knowing I’m coming back in a week to either check that box or not just adds a layer of accountability and helps ensure I do what I set out to do.

After gauging my progress (or lack thereof) for the prior week, I look at the tasks or projects I didn’t quite complete, if there are any, and I move them to next week’s pages in my Planner. I then pull up my calendar and write down all of my appointments and upcoming tasks for the week. I schedule time for the high-priority tasks within my calendar so I don’t schedule a last-minute meeting when I’m on a deadline. I break this down in my podcast episode, On Purpose Productivity!

If any of my tasks or appointments require an errand or special prep work, I quickly add those tasks to my OmniFocus app so I don’t have to try to remember each and every little detail.

After I feel like my calendar is manageable, I spend a few minutes planning our meals for the week. To hear more about my meal-planning system, fast forward to the 13:45-minute mark of this podcast episode.

My Weekly Forecast typically takes me about 30 minutes each Sunday afternoon. A small amount of time to make sure my family and I have what we need to have a successful week.

Step 3: Daily Check-In

My Daily Check-In takes about five minutes or less each day, but it’s a vital part of my process to plan for success.

I start by transferring some health stats from apps on my phone into my planner. Then, I take a glimpse at my day and any reminders I have. I envision my day, running through it in my head: “Okay I’ll be in the office most of the day, and I’ll go straight from my 2:00 meeting to the school pick-up line, pick up Bryson, then take him to practice, where I’ll be able to check my messages and finish up for the day. Then I can go home and make dinner.”

It takes just a few minutes, and I’m feeling good about my day — confident that using the systems I have in place will ensure I have built in time to recharge and renew throughout the day.

One thing I do have to be intentional about as I go about my day is keeping my eyes open for opportunities to be a blessing to others. I don’t want to be so laser-focused on my schedule and goals that I miss the chance to make a difference in someone’s life.

That’s why my Daily Check-Ins come right after my Bible study time, so I can include a prayer to remind me that while I may plan my days, He guides my steps.

To recap, my Monthly Outlook is where I set specific goals for the month that align with my five core values of faith, family, health, service and community. My Weekly Forecast is the 30 minutes I spend each Sunday checking in with my weekly goals and preparing my schedule and mind for the week ahead. This step is a great place to start if you’re looking to adopt this model but aren’t quite ready to dive into identifying your core values or setting long-term goals. My Daily Check-In is a brief, five-minute glimpse at that day’s schedule, walking through it in my head and setting any last-minute reminders in my phone.

Check out Time Budgeting Part 1 if you’d like to try out this system, starting with establishing priorities, or Time Budgeting Part 2 if you’d rather start with the Weekly Forecast. If you have trouble setting goals, I invite you to check out the Crush Your 2023 Goals blog post where I offer my three quick goal-setting tips. If this is an area you’d like to grow in this year, just to be more organized or more intentional with your time, I invite you to subscribe to my email list. My email subscribers are the first to read new posts and hear new podcast episodes, and I send discount codes to my template and resource shop.

Thanks for reading! I hope in sharing my process for Planning for Success, that you will be inspired to be a little more intentional in how you approach the time you’ve been given. If you liked this post, please take a quick second to click the ❤️ below and share it on your social media pages!

Now let’s go create time for what matters most!

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