For many people, things they do at work seem to come quite naturally in their work but not so much in their personal lives. Especially when it comes to planning and seeing the power of a plan.  There is certainly power in having a plan for yourself, your life, your family, your health, your relationships and the hobbies you take on. Perhaps a plan for the way you are involved with your friends (Joel J Turney LLC), family, neighbors, colleagues. What about using a plan for ensuring you get what is truly most important to you in your life? What about a plan that ensure you stay on track and that your plan is really what you want it to be? Many people I know in my work can easily formulate a plan for some project or set of complex tasks in their job tasks yet they don’t connect the same value when they think about things in their personal lives.

There is More to Life Than Work

Even without getting to the point of how people work too much, I want to highlight the fact that the important things in life include many areas outside your work. I continually hear people say things like work most important since it is a third of your life, which is a HUGE exaggeration! Even working for 50 years in life, a 40 hour work week equates only to a complete total of 12.5 years in an average life of 75 years which is less than 17% of one’s total life. Close to 33% is spent sleeping and so that leaves 50% of life in other areas.  Everything else fits in there from birth to death.  50% of all your living hours are up to you and your family for how they are spent and many people don’t think that’s worth planning!!  That’s crazy!

Categories for Planning Life

Life has so many areas to explore and those areas deserve the same kind of thoughts and planning as work does.  Categories I use to look at specific goal setting and life planning are:

  • Relationships
  • Spiritual
  • Health
  • Emotions
  • Things
  • Financial
  • Career

Your categories might be different but ensure you think big picture when your making life plans.  Think about everything that you value and what you wouldn’t want to live without and ensure those areas are covered in your plans.  Think about what matters if this was your last day on earth or if you knew you had only a week to live.  What would you do?  With who?  How would you want to be remembered?  Are these your passions in life now or are you still searching for your purpose and passions in life?

Write it Down

Did you know that only about 4% of people write out their goals and plans for life?  Its true and its scary when you think about it.  There are so many people living life without a written plan. Are you one of them?  Writing down your goals and plans solidifies it, puts added committment to it and makes it something much more real than just a thought or idea.  It gives the plan real substance and provides a way to review it and visualize it.  The power of a plan extends far beyond work in all areas of life and only if its written down will it have even a chance of being realized.

What’s In A Plan

The content of the plan is where the real thought has to go.  You can’t make a plan without some careful time thinking and trying to understand how you want things to proceed.  This is true in day to day jobs and its true in life as well.  The only thing you can do well without a plan are things you’ve done over and over, and learned to do them naturally.  These may be things you need to do but for most people, the natural actions are not the things we wish we were doing in life, or the things we want to change or learn to do.  For most people, learning new things is a challenge and we all have ideas of what we wish we were better at, doing more of or doing differently in our lives.  This requires change and repeating what we’ve always done (since that is what happens without a plan) definitely won’t lead to that change.  Look for the things that matter to you in each of the categories above.  Don’t settle for what you have, ask yourself why that matters or what will you ultimately gain if you accomplish it to drive out the real reasons behind each item.  You should be able to justify true meaning to all your plans and know that they fit into your life’s purpose.  If you don’t know what that is, then clearly you need more planning, not less which unfortunately many people do when first being frustrated about questions of purpose.  Look for the things that impact others and how others impact you, that’s an easy place to start because we all form opinions of what that ought to look like.

Let Your Plan Change

Plans are much easier if you leave some room to grow it and change it.  Its unlikely that one plan will last many years and you need to adjust it as you learn more about what matters to you. If and how your purpose changes should also spark you to revisit your plan.  It is something you need to refer to often and there is nothing wrong with changing it as life changes.  The more often you look at a plan and change it the easier you can adjust to new circumstances and still ensure you are ultimately on track with the big picture goals and results for that plan.  Also, revisiting a plan lets you avoid complacency as you accomplish the things on it.  Don’t stagnate, instead keep pushing yourself and ensure you add to your plan and let it change as you do to keep you driven with purpose and meaning.

My wish is that everyone I know wrote out their goals and made plans for their life with some idea and thinking of what their purpose is with discussions and relationships founded in what is important in each plan.  This would bring happiness to many and I know the power of what could be accomplished if this were true.  I know I won’t be able to get everyone I know to take this challenge on, but everyone I know who has, has seen great results and now also understands the power of a plan.

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