Planning out goals for the New Year can be both exciting and overwhelming. There are SO many opportunities, the world is our oyster. So we often start strong, ambitious; thinking this is the year we’re going to do all of the things.
But then reality sets in and we realize maybe we can’t do everything, but if we can’t do everything can we do some of the things? Anything? Or do we get stuck in the overwhelm?
How to utilize seasonal planning
I’d like to suggest a better way of planning out our goals. It’s what I call quarterly or “seasonal” planning. One of the greatest changes in my life has come from shifting my perspective from chasing “balance” in my life to embracing seasons.
I’ve learned that I don’t really believe in “balance” when it comes to time management. I think it’s a good thing in theory but balance implies some kind of equal distribution of time, energy and resources. And in reality, that’s just not possible. We don’t divide our 24 hours into equal parts where all of our roles get the exact amount of our time, energy, and attention. That would be balance.
Really our lives are made up of rhythms and consist of seasons.
By seasons I mean seasons of life sure, but also annual seasons; winter, spring, summer fall.
Every season brings with it opportunities and limitations and when we work within a seasonal framework we are better able to maximize our time.
I would guess that your calendar also moves with the seasons whether you are intentional about planning projects and goals around them or not.
If I break my calendar into four quarters, that gives me four unique opportunities to work on goals and projects. When I plug in opportunities and limitations based on seasons I have a better idea of how to maximize my year.
Let me give you a few personal examples based on some of my own seasonal opportunities and limitations.\
Opportunity– our school year is wrapping up so I have more time to focus on work projects.
Limitation– my youngest plays baseball so on Monday and Friday afternoons I have to plan on getting him to practice, but I also have a window of time to run errands or read a book while waiting for him. I know this commitment will be over before the summer begins so I can plan accordingly.
Opportunity– kids are out of school and we usually plan a vacation during this time. There is ample opportunity for play and rest. It’s also a great time to tackle larger home projects.
Limitation– because the kids are home I have to get creative about keeping them entertained while I work so I often use this time to plan and grow by taking a class or attending a conference rather than take on new work projects.
These are just some very simple examples but you can see how taking into account our family’s seasonal responsibilities can affect how much I decide to add to my schedule.
Perhaps you have your own seasonal opportunities and limitations. They may include:
• work deadlines
• family celebrations, holidays, birthdays
• health limitations (think seasonal allergies)
• seasonal church or ministry responsibilities
• conferences or classes
• back to school and end of school year events and responsibilities
One Small Win: Spring is just around the corner and it might be a great time to consider your own rhythms and seasons and the role they might play in how you plan out the rest of your year.
DOWNLOAD: Click here to download a quarterly planner.
Zohary Ross is a life coach, speaker and author of the Aligned Parenting Workbook. Zohary is passionate about encouraging and equipping women to have clearly defined “most importants” and live out their values and priorities. Connect with Zohary at http://zoharyross.com/.
When my son, Jonathon, was seven, he was totally into Monopoly.
I went on eBay and found a Monopoly clock, Monopoly mug, and then struck the Monopoly motherlode: Monopoly fabric!
I bought enough to make a quilt, pillows, and curtains.
I signed up for a quilt-making class, where I cut a lot of the fabric into a lot of strips. I even sewed some of the strips into T shapes.
Then–-as is so typical for my Expressive personality–-I ran out of steam.
I quickly became overwhelmed by all the attention to detail that making a “T Quilt” requires.
I didn’t want details; I wanted a quilt!
So, I set the project aside. Then bagged it up. Eventually, stored it in the garage.
For. Ten. Years.
A decade later, when I pulled out the box that held the bag holding all the Monopoly fabric, my heart took a fantastical leap.
“I can finish this now … or this summer … or next year!” I started thinking.
But thanks to Clutter Free, I knew that my habit of storing stuff was not good stewardship.
Letting of an unfinished project
So I took photos of the Monopoly fabric and posted them on Facebook with the note, “Free to good home.”
Sherry, an acquaintance, responded immediately. An avid quilter, she offered to take, and promised to use, all my quilting fabric and supplies.
Then–-as is so typical for my Expressive personality–-I forgot all about the fabric. Out of sight, out of mind. I’m an idea gal, a starter, so I moved on to new projects.
Two years later, Sherry blessed me with photos of the quilt that I started and she so lovingly finished:
It looks better than I ever imagined!
She gave the quilt to a family member who was thrilled to receive it and adores using it.
What started-stopped-and-stored project can you give away today?
One Small Win: You don’t have to hang on to the quilt…or the guilt. You don’t need to finish what you started. You can let someone else take it from here.
Cheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.”
Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life and Overwhelmed.
Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (24), also opposite personalities.
Are you a Highly Sensitive Person? Take the self-quiz and discover the surprising strengths of a tender heart.
When was the last time you served a beautiful Christmas dinner on a nicely decorated table with your favorite poinsettia table runner, nice silverware and glasses, pine cones to decorate each place setting, and Thomas the Tank Engine napkins?? (huh?!? Uumm yep it happened). Check out the full story in the book under Project 20 Tablecloths, Napkins and Foof, Oh My!
For More Details: Get Yourself Organized For Christmas – Page 106
Well my friend, today we are not going to let that happen to you, no sir-y we are simply finding all of our table decorations and linens and getting them ready all in one spot.
Assignment and Supplies: Find your napkins (the ones you intend to use), tablecloths (wash it if there are spots), runners, napkin rings, plates, silverware and stemware or glasses.
**Note** if you are striving for simplicity this year and are going the shabby-chic method of paper or plastic, make a list of the things you need to purchase and where. (There is some real cute stuff out there these days that make a table look great. Don’t feel bad about it, remember your goal of simplicity). Embrace it!
Did you know that Evite has a blog section all about planning for parties? They can help you get ready so you too, don’t serve Christmas dinner with themed birthday party napkins! Check it out here.
Share Your Thoughts
Share with us! When did you have your party all set only to discover the teeny tiny thing of having no ______ ? What did you do?? This year, join us in our vow to be prepared! Plan today what you will need for tomorrow.
Take some time today to meal plan every day up until Christmas as well as Christmas dinner (I promise you will thank me later). Spend time in the kitchen today taking stock of what you have, what you need, and what meals you will make your family each night for dinner. Be sure to look at your calendar for any nights you have plans. If you need to take a dish to an event, mark that on the meal plan, so you know how to prep and shop.
If you have dinner at another home or event, revel in a night off! Either way, it goes on the meal plan. Make life easier by utilizing LOOP (Leftovers On Purpose) meals and frozen meals whether they are yours or store bought. Once you are all planned out, make a list of ingredients you need to buy as well as perishable items you will need to buy last minute.
Another great idea to make your life even easier is to have a frozen meal swap with friends. You can do this one of two ways: One way is to invite (with Evite of course) your friends to your home. Everyone brings ingredients to make a meal of their choice that is freezer friendly (enough to share with however many friends are joining in on the fun). Then you all help with the cooking, family portions are placed into gallon zip lock bags ready to freeze, and everyone goes home with a variety of meals to freeze and enjoy throughout the month.
Another way is for everyone to make something at home (enough to share family portions with anyone participating), freeze them, and swap them with friends. This way, you might have made a huge batch of soup, but you might end up with soup, enchiladas, lasagna, and a chicken casserole.
Assignment: Spend some Time in the Kitchen
- Create your meal plan for the rest of the month.
- Plan your baking list so you know what you need to bake and when you’re going to do it.
- Plan out your Christmas dinner.
- Make a shopping list of all necessary ingredients. Divide list into non-perishables and perishables.
- Shop for non-perishables and the next few days’ meals.
- Make a list of things you will need to buy at the last minute.
Plan on making at least two LOOP meals a week. Cook twice, at four times.
Planning a party over the holidays? Be sure to include grocery items you might need. Need some party ideas, check out the possibilities over at Evite.
For More Details: Get Yourself Organized For Christmas – Page 102
Supplies: 1) Calendar 2) Meal Plan 3) Paper for Lists
Share Your Thoughts:
How did you feel about planning out all the meals? Did this make shopping easier? Any great LOOP recipes to share?
Having a party and want to add party supplies to this week’s shopping list? Check out this list from Evite to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. You’ve got this!
It’s time to give the kitchen a little TLC. Spend some time today clearing any clutter hanging around your countertops. Put away mail, Christmas cards, leftover Christmas decoration containers, etc. Here are some basic tips of things you can do to spruce up real quick.
- Clean your sink up so it is nice and shiny.
- Clean out any science experiments from the fridge.
- Wipe out your pantry, fridge or cupboards of tiny crumbs.
- Complete your meal plan for the month finishing the shopping list.
- Pull out any serving dishes, holiday dishes or platters you may need and wash off any dust.
- Restock your pantry of any essentials you will need for cooking or baking.
For more details: Get Your Christmas Organized Page 83
Share your thoughts:
Share with us all that you accomplished! For some this may have taken a while, for others, it may have been easier than you thought. Did it go by quickly or did you take the time to gut your kitchen? Do you have any tips to share with someone else? What did YOU do?
Does prepping your kitchen (or the fact that it is December 1st ) give you the holiday jitters?! Check out this article about how to nix those pre-party nerves.