2020, let’s face it, we’re so over it.  For most of us, it hasn’t really lived up to our expectations. And whilst it’s certainly been a wild ride, it was one we could have all done without.

So we’re pinning our hopes on 2021 and to make sure we make the most of every drop of it I’m not leaving anything to chance. So I’m planning out my year right now with my exclusive work/life balance planner (you can get it FREE here). This way I can maximise my time and make sure I pick the best time for any product launches.

A lot of people ask me how I manage to do SO much when I have two small children, and here’s my secret!

There’s two things I’m aiming for with my plans:

  • Making sure I schedule things at the best time for me and my audience (this also keeps stress down as I don’t have time clashes where I’ve planned loads in my business at times I know are going to be busy in my personal life).
  • Making sure I plan out my time to be as productive as possible.

I always love a good system, don’t you? So I’ve come up with the following ways of both maximising my time and minimising stress.

Want to hear them? Oh, go on then…I’ll let you in on my secrets!

How to plan your year to get a great work/life balance

When I first start the year I like to look at an overview of the whole 12 months. And I look at three things (I call this my tri-planning system)

  1.  I put on my calendar all the big events and festivals going on, which may affect my customers.
  2. I add in the personal events going on in my life, like birthdays etc..things I know which are going to suck up my time and take me away from my business.
  3. Finally, I think about my business goals for the year and I schedule activities to help me achieve them into the calendar at times I know are both great for my customers AND great for me!

Whilst things will obviously change as the year goes on (hello, 2020 anyone?!) It’s still good to get a plan to aim at, and will make it so much easier to pivot later on if you need to.

Plus I find that planning things like this completely minimises the stress I might feel if I try to schedule too much in on February – my big family Birthday month!

You can get your free work/life balance planner here.

And to help me plan in this way, I’ve created a work/life balance wall planner – there are three sections for national events/festivals, personal things in my life and business AND my business activities.  We’re not talking about the day-to-day business activity here. We’re talking about the big things you need to put extra work or prep into – like events, fairs, launches or big pieces of work behind the scenes.

If you like the sound of this, then I’ve made this planner available to you, completely free!  You can download your copy here.

How to plan your time to be more productive

Then in addition to planning out my activity at the best time of year for me, I also like to plan out how I’m actually going to get these things done, by breaking them down into tasks and scheduling them in.

I’ve got a series of planners:

  • Monthly calendar
  • Brain dump/to do list
  • Weekly planner
  • Daily planner
  • Hourly planner

And this is how I use them (along with my work/life balance wall planner):

  • Use my work/life balance wall planner to plan the big events in your diary over the course of the year…this can be product launches, any events you’re doing, festivals etc.
  • Add these events (with more detail) into your monthly calendar.
  • Brain dump all the actions I need to take on my brain dump/to do list to do all the things I have in my calendar.
  • Take these actions and plot them into my weekly planners for the next month.
  • Use my day planner to plan the next day out, writing out my aims for the day.  (I do this the evening before because it helps me to get going more quickly the next day).
  • Then in the morning I use my hourly planner to break down my day into hourly tasks (including allocating breaks). I set a timer and when the timer has finished I switch to the next task – this is the best way to stay productive.

If you like the sound of this then you can also use my planners to do the same! You can get them all in The Creative’s Planning Toolbox – it’s usually £36, but when you sign up for the free wall planner here you can get it for a bargainous price of just £9.

So if you want to take control of 2021 and make sure you’re running it (instead of it running you round in circles) then I really urge you to find some planning systems that work for you!

How do you like to plan out your time?  Are you a planner, or are you more spontaneous?