As we dive into our Planning 101 series, I want to clear the air a bit before talking about nitty gritty of yearly planning.
I told you in the introduction post that I haven’t been doing a great job of planning my time for the glory of God. I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants for far too long.
I’m excited about this series because it’s holding me accountable to doing the hard work of getting back into the routine of planning. I hesitated getting started because honestly? Getting started is the hardest part.
Reversing the bad habit of laziness won’t be easy. However, because this is the system of planning that I used for years before falling off the wagon, I know this method works – and works well. I can tell you that this won’t be easy at first. but together we’ll plow through and come out on the other end alive and in one piece. I promise!
So let’s get started with taking a look at planning from the airplane level. We’re going to fly high for a bit, taking a big picture look at our lives. Then, we’ll start zeroing in closer and closer until we land on daily planning, which is the fun part, right?
Planning 101: Start with Yearly Planning
One thing that turns many people off from yearly planning is this question:
How am I supposed to know what I’m going to want to be doing in December?
This is definitely one of the hardest parts of getting motivated to do yearly planning. However, once I realized that my yearly planning wasn’t the end all be all, it made a lot more sense.
Let me explain.
Yearly planning is primarily made up of evaluation and goal setting, which I talk about in my eBook, Live for Him: A Grace-Filled Look at Planning.
It is after I’ve prayerfully considered what the Lord’s purpose is for my days that I can begin to fill in on the calendar all the big events that are taking place throughout the coming year.
Yearly planning is the 10,000 foot view. We’ll call it the bird’s eye view. You take a sweeping glance at all that your year will bring.
3 Steps to Efficient Yearly Planning
1. Gather your tools
2. Fill in recurring dates
I like to go through and fill in all the recurring dates like birthdays and anniversaries that I want to remember. I keep my birthdays and anniversaries in my home planning binder.
This is also when I will make note of the dates for major holidays that my family observes and usually celebrates in some way:
- 4th of July
- Memorial Day
- Labor Day
3. Write down important events
Next, I think through what we’ll be doing for the major holidays and events, along with if I need to make any notes about preparation.
For example, will we be camping over Memorial Day weekend? If so, then I need to put a date on my calendar to make reservations for the camp site. The sites will fill up quickly, so I’ll put a reminder a few weeks prior to make the call for our reservation.
Will we try to take an anniversary trip this year? I will put a reminder on my calendar to book a hotel, etc. a few weeks prior to our anniversary date.
Do I need to make a yearly check up appointment for my oldest in April? I will make a note in my calendar now so I won’t forget.
I will do this over and over for each important event for the year. The point is to do as much of the planning now, setting reminders in my calendar, etc. so that nothing sneaks up on me during the year.
- Family vacations or road trips
- Conferences (this one is my favorite)
- Intentional Conversations with your spouse
- Homeschool field trips
- Church events
- Swimming lessons for the kids (and other extracurricular activity sign ups)
- Doctors appointments
- School calendar
- House cleaning tasks
Even if you don’t put specific reminders into your calendar, you can make simple notes on the planning page of the month you need to remember to do something.
And that’s it! That’s all there is to yearly planning!
You can be as specific or as vague as you want. It’s entirely up to you and your style of planning.
I like to do as much planning ahead as I possibly can during yearly planning. I will think through everything multiple times making as many notes as I can now so that I have to think less later.
I’ve realized that once my year gets started, it’s hard for me to slow down and think as critically as I do during yearly planning. Therefore, I like a lot of detail in my yearly planning, but it doesn’t have to be that way for you.