The first question most life planners ask strikes me as over-ambitious, “What do you want to do with your life?” Just reading that question makes me feel like I’ve been punched square in the jaw. “What is your most important goal?” also makes me feel like I’ve just had all the wind knocked out of me.
I vote for starting with what we know, what we do every day. Let’s make writing a strategic plan for our life as easy as it can be. Plus let’s make it a project that can be done in pieces, because that is the only way it will get done. We have a life to live while we’re planning it; the kids have to be fed and picked up from school, bills have to be paid, and laundry must be done.
So, take out a plain piece of paper, the kind you have in your printer. Fold it in half and then in half again. Open it up and fold it again, long ways. Now you have a piece of paper with eight rectangles.
Write at the top of each rectangle one of each of the following words, in this order: Finance, Food, Health, Home, Job, Keeping, Learning and Legacy. Now write down what you need to do under each of those areas of your life. Don’t worry about writing them in the order of their importance; just get them down on this paper.
The first five categories are self-explanatory. Keeping is managing all the details that make your lifestyle possible. For example, getting a haircut, taking library books back, putting gas in your vehicles and keeping them maintained.
Learning is anything you do, for yourself or your children that enhances what you know. For example, music lessons or sports practice or going to the library all fall under learning. Reading the paper, a book or a blog also fall under learning.
Legacy is anything you do that makes memories. Celebrations like birthdays, holidays and reunions contribute to the legacy of your family. How you solve problems and how you teach your children to get along with each other will stay in their memories and yours.
If you wonder about which category your ‘to do’ falls under, just put it where the arrow points most strongly. For example, we could argue that helping the kids with homework falls under learning. However, isn’t doing well at school really our kids’ job?
Do this for a few days, checking off what you get done. Let me know your questions. I can’t wait to answer them.
Aloha, Auntie Lynn