If you are anything like me, you have a bookshelf of productivity books, a recycle bin of half used calendars and planners, an too many days where your bag is filled with ideas and reminders on sticky notes and envelopes.
I know I’m not alone, because over the years of helping families plan healthier meals, I realized that while some people needed recipes or to learn how to cook (just like I had), most people really needed more time. I kept hearing it again and again. We just can’t get together for family dinner. I’m too busy for selfcare. I don’t have time to cook the meals I really want to eat.
We are all busy. As entrepreneurs and loving parents, as passionate people who want to explore our interests and live healthy life, we struggle to find the time, make the time. I know because I keep searching for the ultimate planning method to make it all fit. Nothing is perfect, but I learned not to separate my healthy lifestyle goals, my family, and my spirituality and self-care from my work planning. Once I get it all on one page and look not for balance, but for FLOW between the different parts of my life, it starts to make sense.
This isn’t a quick fix solution, nothing that really works is. Instead you focus breaking down your goals and continually flowing forward. And when you get off track, you have your system to come back into FLOW.
I created the FLOW Planning method, because it was what I needed, and as I shared what I was doing, other moms got interested. I want you to keep moving toward the life you want toward a life where you reach your big business goals—and have time for family and health and spirituality too.
So grab a notebook and a pen and the calendar on your phone. I’ll walk you through my process (and share my daily planning pages). At the end I will share the easiest way to put this process into action.
What the FLOW Planning Method Is All About
The FLOW Planning Method is a mix between journaling and calendaring. It is a way to keep moving towards what you want, one season and one day at a time.
It’s about knowing where to focus and making sure you aren’t spending too much time in any one part of your life. It’s about knowing what little things you can do in all areas of your life that will have a big impact.
Here’s how it works.
1. Commit to the 4 categories.
The FLOW Planning Method is based around four categories:
- Food & wellness
- Lifestyle & family
- Om (aka spirituality and self-care)
We usually commit to our work or parenting for a phase of our life, and ditch the rest (at least in our planning), but when you get really intentional in all 4 areas, magic starts to happen.
2. Get everything out of your head and onto paper.
We hold so much in our heads and it holds us back. Just the act of getting everything down on paper can greatly affect your productivity, your creativity, and decrease your stress level.
In the FLOW Planning Method, we call this transfer from head to paper the master list. This process also shows you if you are out of flow and too focused on one part of your life so you can adjust.
3. Trust your gut and plan for the next 90 days.
Life changes, and while you may have big, long-term goals, it’s really productive to focus on just the next 90 days. So in this phase, you’ll design your top goal in each of the 4 FLOW categories for the next season.
Here’s where the trust comes in. Take time to get still. Let yourself get creative. Listen to what really feels right, what you want to lean into. Stillness and slowing down are essential parts of the process.
Once you identify your goals, know your why. What is going to motivate you to keep moving toward those goals when life starts moving fast again, when you aren’t still and quiet and focused. What will keep you going when things aren’t going well? Your why can do that. Once you know that, make a commitment to yourself that you will stick with it and reach this goal, because of that why.
4. Flow your goals forward each month.
Once you have your big 90-day plan, you break it down and keep flowing forward. You look at:
- What you will do this month to move toward your 90-days goal
- What could get in the way
- What can you do to streamline shopping and the little things that get in the way of your big thing
5. Set yourself up once a week.
Once a week you look ahead for the week and make a plan to keep flowing things forward. You tap into mindset supports as you do this.
You make a meal plan (always). This decreases stress, helps you hit your food and wellness goals, and lets you move food forward all through the week. And when you eat better, fuel your body better, you have more energy for all the other things you plan to get done.
Each week you decide what habits to track. I am a big fan of veggies, water, and supplements. Other ideas are exercise, smoothie, Instagram, meditation, quality time with a child, hubby time, writing, journaling, planning (how meta!). Make a checklist for the habits you are building.
6. Create a daily practice.
A daily practice may sound like one more thing to do, but a well created practice supports and sustains you. And knowing what you will do — and why you are doing it throughout the day keeps you on track.
When we declare, we do. When we think, we dabble.
So declare and get doing.
- Block all your time
- Write down 3 things you are grateful for.
- Identify 3 things you are doing towards your 4 big goals.
- Block off 30 minutes for email and phone calls.
- Note what you will eat
- Track your daily habits
- Find your magic moments.
7. Celebrate and critique your progress.
I have a practice of going back through each day and time tracking. I do this because I do not always follow my own plans and I am trying to get better about that. I just try to pay attention if I got lost in Facebook instead of writing a blog post or cleaning the playroom. You can do this without judging or berating yourself. Just use the information to make choices moving forward.
In my daily practice, I move anything that does not get done to a new time. I find that helps me be accountable to what I want to do and the time it takes. If that feels crazy, you can use the monthly stock taking that is built into FLOW planner.
It’s easy to lose track of what got done and what didn’t. Pausing to take stock of what actually happened in a month, helps you understand the reason you could not finish a particular project. It lets you reset for the next month with a more realistic view. But it also lets you stop and celebrate what you did accomplish. Recognizing our own progress is super important to our momentum and mindset.
Put Your FLOW Plan Together
You can easily put this into practice in a notebook. The important thing is to get dreaming, get writing, and get practicing. But if you’d like different steps set up for you, I’ve created a planner that does just that.
The FLOW Planner gives you space to commit to all the parts of your life on one page. There is space for your big goals and the steps that move you toward them — and for the little stuff we need to do every day.
It comes with a free class to help you make the most of your planner so you can move closer to your dreams through the small actions you take each day.
Another way to get into FLOW
Doing things differently takes time, so have patience and kindness to yourself. That said, I have found that doing this work with a buddy is hugely helpful. It’s important to find somebody who wants to make change too, who won’t sabotage your goals.
If you want accountability from me and other women getting into FLOW, this is the last chance to sign up for round one of FLOW365. If you see a waitlist button, enrollment is closed and we will notify you when a second cohort starts in January.
Waitlisted? Get your FLOW Planner now to get started, then join FLOW365 later to get support!