In closing out the section on low level planning, the final few points I’d like to make touch on being specific when calendaring in your activities, making sure to look at your plan every day, creating a plan that allows for flexibility, and setting it up at the beginning of the week.
Be specific - Avoid being vague about what you need to get done when blocking out a task. If you have three hours planned to do ‘keyword research’ what is that exactly? Brainstorming a list of keywords? Signing up for a word tracker account? Rolling around in the Google Keyword tool for an hour? Describe what it is you need to do in each task in as much detail as makes sense.
Look at your low level plan every day – Even if everything goes out the window, and you can’t do what you planned on doing, it helps to see what you wanted to do. You can always push the work out to another day or pick it up the following week.
Build in flexibility - One of the reasons I like a calendaring tool is that you can create activities as calendar ‘events’ and then move and drag them around to different days on the calendar, so that the work doesn’t get lost. It also makes me feel better if I wasn’t able to get something done, or was in the mood to do something else. I can always swap tasks around. You should also leave as much ‘air’ in your calendar as possible. It’s tempting to cram an activity into every bit of time, but the reality is we aren’t wired to be constantly producing; we need time to recharge.
It’s helpful to remember the expression ‘Life is what Happens while you’re busy making other plans.’
Life does, indeed, happen, and most of it won’t be stuff that you plotted on to your low-level plan, so leave some space for it.
Set it up at the beginning of the week – I find if I don’t do this, my entire week gets messed up because I begin the week feeling like I don’t know what I should be doing and feeling like everything is out of control(!) I try and make a habit of sitting down on Sunday evenings and doing the following to put together my low level plan for the upcoming week:
- Reviewing my mid-level plan
- Reviewing what I didn’t get done in the previous week
- Looking through whatever notes or to-do’s I’ve jotted down
- Talking to my husband about our social calendar for the upcoming week
- Getting all cranky pants because there just isn’t enough &%*$& time
- Accepting that it is saner to plan for half of the things I want to do, and that I will most likely only get half of that done!
Which reminds me, it might be a good idea to baseline in some daily meditation…