Category Archives for "Planning"

May 02

What’s Your Plan?

By jenregan | Planning

Having a well thought out plan to execute feels great! The challenge, so many times, is we have so much going on that it is hard to find the time to create a plan. I wish I had calculations to tell you how much time a plan will save you in the long run, but I do not have that. All I know is that taking the time, even if it is 15 minutes, to lay out a plan bring many benefits.

I am a planner. When I have a trip coming up, I will start to write down and plan out what I want to bring, what I want to wear, and what I may need to purchase about a month before my trip. To me, creating a plan is almost a hobby. It feels so good to know what I need to do, when I need to do it and have it organized in one of my favorite notepads (using one of my favorite pens, HeeHee). Many of you who don’t like to plan like this will think I’m a nut, and I’m good with that, but let me share with you the amazing benefits of taking time to create a plan.

  • Planning frees your mind. Many times we know we have a bunch of things we need to get done in our day. We carry those things around with us in our mind and they continue to pop up and nag us throughout the day. Simply writing those things down in a safe place will get them off your mind and free up space. You might even feel a short period of peace when your mind no longer needs to juggle those things.
  • Planning allows us to flow through our day.  We have enough “to-dos” to fill each and every day. When our day is not planned out, it can feel like we are living in a pinball machine. Have you had a day like that recently? Bouncing all over the place, allowing life and others to dictate your time. When we think through a plan, we place items in the order that makes sense and flows. I don’t know about you, but the idea if living in a pinball machine gives me a headache!
  • Planning helps us make better decisions. Inevitably, something will pop into your life that was not on your plan. Last night before I went to bed our kitchen sink decided not to drain. Dealing with that was not on my husband’s or my plan. Because we do have a plan for the day, we were able to ask ourselves how urgent the matter was and make a decision as to where to fit it in. If I had not had a plan for the day, I would have allowed this inconvenience to derail my day.
  • Planning allows you to know you are on track. Whenever we have a big project that we are working on, it can be challenging to track our progress. The biggest project we all work on is our life as a whole. Take a deep breath and don’t let the idea of that overwhelm you. The entire point of a plan is to remove that overwhelming feeling. In my early thirties I came across the idea of Life Planning. I took my time to work through it and when I was done it brought all of the above mentioned benefits to reality. Most importantly, as life brought obstacles and detours, I had a plan to reference back to, insuring that I stayed on track. I LOVE MY LIFE PLAN! It gives me confidence everyday that I am on the RIGHT track for me!

I have found so much joy in my life plan that I use to teach a class on it at our local community college. As we speak, I am working on converting that class over to a four session online workshop with four month online access (allowing you all the time you need to create your plan knowing how busy you are). If you want to have confidence that you are on the right track in life, keep an eye out for more information in the next few months. I am so excited about sharing it with you and allowing you to find the peace of mind that I have found.

In the meantime, remember all of the benefits to taking a few minutes each day to get organized and write out a plan.

Here’s to living the best life we can filled with peace, joy and contentment!

Do you know a fellow planner or someone who would benefit from becoming a good planner? If you do, forward this post their way. We can be planning gurus together!

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Apr 04

Utilize This Everyday Tool To Free Up Time!

By jenregan | Keep It Simple , Planning

We could all use a little bit of free time! You may ask “what is this mysterious thing you call free time, Jen?” I know right? Free time can be rare in our lives and feel impossible to achieve at times. Recently, I needed to make some changes to my schedule because it was simply not working well. I employed one tool, that we already use every day, to freshen up my schedule and do some much needed Spring Cleaning.

I never understood the big deal about Spring Cleaning. Yes, the weather is warmer, it’s great to open up the windows and get some fresh air, but why do we need to go ALL OUT when it comes to cleaning each spring? The answer was revealed to me one day in February when the sun popped out after it had not shown for days. Up until that point, I thought my house was plenty clean, but the sun revealed an entirely different picture when it streamed through my windows onto my dusty floors. Holy Cow! Where did all of that dust come from? It sure did accumulate fast and was in desperate need of some sprucing up!

The same accumulation can be true for our calendars. Slowly, we feel busier and busier and find that we have less and less free time. Today is the day to open the curtains and shed some light on how we spend our time. If you are like me, you get into routines that sometimes turn into ruts. I have found one simple, but very effective, tool to make space on my busy calendar. It’s called batching!

Batching is lumping appointments and tasks together on your calendar to then free up time somewhere else for the areas that are most important to you. The goal of batching is not to do more, it’s to have time to do more of the right stuff!

As busy women, I can guarantee that you already do some batching. You run by the pharmacy on your way to pick up the kids. You put in a load of laundry, get dinner going, open the mail and write out your grocery list before the garage door closed on your way in after work. But I want you to consider looking at your everyday schedule through the lenses of batching. Batching with intentionality can make a huge difference!

  • The key to batching successfully is to place items on your calendars at times that work best for you. That sounds obvious, but how many times do we “make a time work” even when it puts strain on our schedule. I know that I used to do it all the time. When you call to set up an appointment, take a minute or two to think about how you can batch it together with something else. Don’t accept the first appointment time they offer if it really does not work well for you. Think intentionally about how you can batch it with something else. You will be able to effectively batch items together when you work hard at accepting appointments at times that work best for you.
  • Batching also requires plan ahead. If we are living in “emergency mode” which is dealing with everything at the last minute when we “just gotta get it done”, it is very hard to batch intentionally. When we are in “emergency mode” we are willing to make appointments whenever THEY can fit us in. Appointments that are spread out all over your schedule can be a HUGE waste of time.
  • Batching helps with focus! Before I intentionally batched my schedule, I felt scattered. I was constantly having to start and stop what I was doing. Once I started batching items on my schedule I had time to focus on the task at hand. When the time would come for my batched appointments, I was off and running to get those all done one after another. I felt so much more clear minded!
  • We can find the same benefits in batching tasks at home and at work. Find the groove that works for you, but taking control of your time and schedule is key. If someone calls or walks into your office and wants something that is not essential at that moment, it is within your control to tell them that “I’m in the middle of something right now, can we talk in 30 minutes?” Constant interruptions take away our focus. Let’s take the control back! It’s also a good reminder that we do not have to drop everything when our kids or significant other asks something of us during the day. We love to help and serve others, but setting boundaries will help us to stay focused.

Batching is not an new concept in your life, but it is great habit worth revisiting. Always look at your calendar through the lenses of batching. Small changes in your calendar can make a big difference! Remember the  goal with batching is to free up time so that you can spend that time on what is most important to you. The goal is not to just fit more “stuff” in. We want to add more of what we love and remove the unnecessary clutter.

Make It Happen Action Step: Sometime this weekend, sit down with your calendar for the month of April and start to think about it in terms of batching. Place a post-it-note on your calendar as a reminder to batch, until it becomes a habit. Next time you set up an appointment, agree to a time that works best for YOU. At work, put a post-it-note somewhere to remind yourself to start to set boundaries with the people who “pop” into your office and want your immediate time and focus.

Here’s to making small changes in our calendars that will free up time for the things we LOVE!

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Apr 05

10 Simple Step Towards Amazing Free Time!

By jenregan | Planning

Many of you work hard outside of your home forty plus hours a week, giving your heart and soul to the work you do. As much as you try to leave it behind, it finds its way into your free time. Is it possible to leave work behind, enjoy your time off and jump right back in with energy when you return?

It is if you prioritize one essential habit at the end of every work week. Weekly planning! Here are 10 steps that are sure to transform both your work and your free time!

  1. Prioritize 30 minutes of uninterrupted time at the end of your work week.
  2. Use whatever system you prefer to organize your “to do” list and calendar.
  3. Dump your brain. Write down everything that needs to be added to your “to do” list and your schedule. There is a chance a few personal “to dos” will flow out with your work stuff. Make a note of it and keep dumping.
  4. Decide what tasks are most important to get done when you return to work. Use some system to prioritize them. I start with “must dos” and “wanna dos” or “must get dones” and “wanna get dones”.
  5. Look at your calendar for the next week and your current appointments. Make sure everything is documented in your system. The benefit of planning is to get everything out of your mind so you can free your mind during your time off.
  6. Block out time during your week to get the most important tasks done, your “must get dones”, giving yourself ample time to do your task and meet your deadlines.
  7. Realistically plan out your first day back to work, and have tentative plans for the rest of your week.
  8. Walk out the door at the end of your week with a plan. As work tries to intrude into your time off, remember you have a well thought out plan waiting for you at work. If other items pop into your mind that you had forgotten about, write them down immediately to release them from your brain. Bring them into work when you return.
  9. Walk back in the door of work having a plan and feeling empowered.
  10. As your work week evolves, adjust your plan daily. Try not to let others pull you too far off course. You know what you “must get done”, and it is up to you to defend the time you have set aside for them. Leave each night with a plan for the next day. Enjoy all of your time off!


The goal of weekly planning is to free your mind from work “stuff” enabling you to focus on what is most important to you personally during your time off.

Having a plan for work turns your free time into:

  • Time to focus on your health and well-being!
  • Time to focus on those you care about the most!
  • Time for rest and better sleep!
  • More fun and less worry!
  • Feeling more clear minded and less scatterbrained!
  • Time to work towards your dreams!
  • So much more!

Don’t wait another week! Start weekly planning this week! It is a difference maker!

Here’s to a great plan for work and much needed down time just for you!

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