Making A Master Plan for Your Life: Planning Tips and Visualization for Maximizing Productivity
If you can see it, you can be it! As cheesy as it sounds, we are here to tell you that it is true. The key to staying on track with your hectic life, schedule, and master plan is ultimately knowing where you are going. Planning tips and narratives about how to be productive are practically useless if you don’t have a sense of what the finish line looks like or where you can find it. Once you have a clear vision of your destination (or goal), everything you encounter – every obstacle, every moment of uncertainty is simplified to a yes or no question.
Does this bring me closer to my goal? Yes? Or no?
When you know what the goal is, you will learn how to answer the question. Therefore, the ultimate way to maximize productivity is first to dig deep and have a visioning session with yourself. Productivity tips and tricks are only helpful if you know the what and why of whatever it is you are trying to accomplish. If you are inspired and motivated by a sense of purpose, the reward is becoming the ultimate master of your life. Now, that sounds pretty great, does it not? Read on to learn how to maximize productivity and tips for visualizing your goals.
1. CREATE A VISION BOARD
If you are a visual learner, a vision board is a powerful way to articulate your goals and dreams. Let’s face it; most goal-oriented people tend to be a bit Type A. (Guilty as charged.) Delving into the creative process without writing, calculating, or organizing can be extraordinarily liberating and effective. You will likely enjoy exercising the other side of your brain. You may be surprised by the clarity that can emerge from this activity.
So, let’s get started. Think about what it is that you want to accomplish. Your board can be focused around a short-term or long-term goal, though benchmarking may be an easier way to digest and attack your plan. This can be divided into a few vision boards if you want or need to compartmentalize. For example, you may create one for health and fitness goals, another for career-oriented goals, and another for home life goals. There are no rules. How you organize your vision board(s) is entirely up to you.
You can use magazine clippings, photos, words, and colored or textured paper. Anything that inspires you and helps to articulate your end game is a perfect addition. To maximize your productivity, you are merely defining every aspect of what your goal would look if you achieved it. Arrange the composition of all the elements you have collected on a board or canvas and hang it somewhere that you will see every day (i.e., near your desk, next to your bathroom mirror, etc.). Seeing your goal every day will help you keep it in the forefront of your mind, ultimately helping you make the crucial steps to achieve it.
2. MAKE A LIST
If you aren’t a visual learner or into arts and crafts, perhaps creating a vision board isn’t for you. That is more than okay! However, that does not mean you should overlook the importance of visualization to maximize productivity or that you are exempt from thinking the big thoughts. If images, colors, and textures don’t do it for you, perhaps making a streamlined bullet point list is more your speed. Making lists and executing every item in order is one of our favorite tips for planning and maximizing productivity.
We recommend starting with a macro, long-term life goal. For example, perhaps you want to lose weight. Next, identify three smaller goals within the big plan to help break it down. So, to lose weight, maybe you need to 1. Eat healthier; 2. Exercise more often; and 3. Cut back on alcohol consumption. Now you can take these goals and begin to formulate your list. Maybe now your list will look something like the one below.
LOSE TEN POUNDS
- Establish a meal plan and get comfortable with meal prep
- Create a practical exercise routine that you can stick to
- Purchase less alcohol or put yourself in less tempting situations
We can take this a step further and refine these items into a weekly plan. This can also translate well into a calendar or planner. Let’s face it; above all productivity tips in the world, the biggest one is to HAVE A PLAN! Right?
Another vital planning tip is to give yourself a deadline. (Be careful with weight loss goals. You need to make sure that they are realistic, sustainable, and within healthy limits). So, perhaps you will give yourself eight weeks to lose ten pounds. The list for week one could look something like this:
LOSE TEN POUNDS – Week 1
- Produce: bell peppers, spinach, garlic, spaghetti squash, blueberries, strawberries, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, kale, snow peas
- Protein: chicken, ground beef, shrimp, tofu, pork chops
- Snacks: yogurt, hummus, nuts, dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher), jerky, peanut butter
- Other: coffee, cream, tea, coconut milk, curry powder
- Monday: gym 5:30 pm – upper body
- Wednesday: gym 5:30 pm – lower body
- Saturday: home workout – abs
- Sunday: long walk with the dog – 1.5 miles
- Friday night: wine with the girls – 2 glasses max!!
Designate a day every week to sit down for 30 mins and make your plan. If you can create a weekly plan (or even a daily plan), you will keep yourself on track to completing your bigger goal.
3. ADOPT A MANTRA OR DAILY AFFIRMATIONS
Another powerful way to set yourself up for success is to write daily affirmations. This is a powerful visualization tool to maximize your productivity. Daily affirmations are essentially positive statements that pronounce your goal or vision in its completed state. If you have ever read “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, or if you have ever watched or read anything involving Oprah Winfrey, then you are likely already familiar with the premise of manifestation.
Let’s revisit our opening line of, “If you can see it, you can be it.” Both Oprah and author Rhonda Byrne would argue that, if you have said it and believed it, it is already on its way to coming true. This is a critical point in the law of attraction, which states that we can call and attract things into our lives by manifesting them.
So, to write your affirmations, you can begin with a series of “I am” statements. For example, you can start your day by saying, writing, and/or believing the statement, “I am healthy.”
You always want your affirmations to be written, spoken, and thought in a positive manner. In other words, it is better and more effective to say, “I am healthy” than it is to say, “I am not overweight.” Avoid negative words, such as “not,” “can’t,” and “won’t.” Also, try to leave out anything that could be wishy-washy or uncertain. Affirmations are all about confidence and decisiveness. You don’t want to call something into being half-hearted. Therefore, you should also avoid words like “shouldn’t” or “maybe.” You are speaking to the universe, the higher powers that be, whatever woo-woo spirits you believe in. If you only get one chance at a direct conversation, make every word count!
4. KEEP A GOAL JOURNAL
Another one of our favorite planning tips is to keep a goal journal. This can take shape any way you wish, but the important thing is to carve out a designated time each day to write about your goal and track your progress. It can be as simple as writing for five minutes when you wake up, before getting out of bed. You can jot down where you are at with the goal and what steps you will take that day to get closer to achieving it. You can also use this time to reflect on actions you have taken, the obstacles you have faced, and any sources of inspiration you have found (quotes, people, movies, songs, ideas).
There are no rules with your goal journal except that you must make time each day to write in it. This is along the same lines as hanging your vision board somewhere where you will see it every day. You are effectively committing to keeping your goal at the forefront of your mind, which is the most crucial strategy for staying on track. To make it more fun and colorful, consider adding some goal-oriented and organizational stickers and reminders. Check out our Etsy shop for some stickers designed by yours truly.