Life comes at us in a swirl of hopes, worries, obligations, and commitments, doesn’t it? Sometimes that swirl can feel like a tornado. And there we are—holding on for dear life, hoping the storm doesn’t blow all our priorities into the next county.
We know it’s not sustainable. Our busy lives heap stress on our health, our relationships, and our work. So how do we calm the storm and bring order to all the crazy in our lives: the overdue projects, overstuffed calendar, and overlong to-do lists?
Here’s one simple solution I’ve been using for years. It’s called a Life Plan, and it only takes *one day* to create one for yourself.
What Difference a Day Can Make
A lot can turn on a single day, right? Think back to your graduation, your wedding, or the day you became a parent. One day is sometimes all it takes to alter the direction of every day thereafter.
So what kind of day am I talking about? It would have to be momentous to compare with your wedding or a child being born. Yes, indeed.
This is the kind of day that can determine the ongoing vitality of your marriage, the health of your family, and frankly most everything else in your life: spiritual engagement, financial security, professional aspirations, significant friendships, and more.
If you use this one day to create a Life Plan, you’ll end with a brief written document that will give direction and order to every important area of your life.
I detail the Life-Planning process in my brand new book, Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want, and for one week only, Living Well Spending Less readers can get access to more than $360 in exclusive bonuses with your purchase of the book. You can get all the details HERE.
In the meantime, here are the five key ingredients to creating your life plan:
1. One dedicated day
Yes, I’m talking about one day away from the storm, a timeout from the tempest. No work, no kids, no nothing. This is probably a much needed break, but I find more than most are resistant.
It might be a difficult investment. I get that. But it’s worth ten times whatever it costs you because this day will help you:
- envision a compelling future
- clarify your priorities
- maintain balance across all areas of your life
- evaluate all the opportunities and commitments that come your way
- face reality and improve almost any situation
Honestly, this is just way too important to allow for distractions. You have to commit to disconnect.
2. A dream for the future
I bet you have one or two of these, though we sometimes lose track of them in the midst of all the crazy. That’s something we cannot afford to do.
We can make the present more meaningful and manageable by filling it with the future. If we live with end in mind, we can make decisions today that determine the quality of our tomorrow. What would that mean for your marriage, your family, your health, your finances?
Imagining a compelling future is like spotting goal post. It provides direction for our momentum. We can start orienting our actions toward a target.
It might sound a bit creepy, but in Living Forward I actually recommend writing your eulogy as part of this exercise. Why? Because a compelling vision for how you want to be remembered can be enough to influence your actions right now.
3. A pad of paper
You can use anything really: a new or favorite journal, Evernote, or just a yellow legal pad—whatever will let you get those dreams down and sharply defined.
And make sure you do. It’s far more important than it might sound at first. No dream can survive the tempest. We’ve all had that experience, right? For a dream to endure, it has to be written down.
Remember, a Life Plan is a brief written document. A record of your work on this day is critical if you want to experience more than a temporary benefit from stepping outside the storm.
4. A plan for your priorities
This will come as you write. Think about your dreams for your health, spiritual life, marriage, family, friendships, and all the other areas of your life.
These represent your most important priorities. In Living Forward language, these are your “Life Accounts.” Create a special section for each and prioritize them by their importance to you.
What would a positive balance look like in each account? What would it take to enrich them? Answering these questions on paper for later review is critical because we lose visibility in the whirlwind.
We often focus on one or two but miss the rest: Maybe we’re taking good care of the kids but neglecting our health. Or we’re working toward our deadlines and giving our marriage the leftovers.
Developing a written plan for these priorities will enable you to dedicate the right amount of time and attention to each—not more and not less.
5. A commitment to follow through
Now imagine you’re done. You’ve got a written Life Plan you can use to shield yourself from the storm. It contains a list of all the important areas of your life, what you’re dreams are for those areas, and a plan to reach those dreams.
The trick is using it come Day 2. I recommend reviewing your Life Plan every day at the beginning. I also recommend you review it quarterly to see how you doing and revise it once a year to make sure you’re still on track and accounting for all the developments of the previous twelve months.
Commit to using a Life Plan and you’ll have clarity about your present and a clearly marked path to a future that inspires you.
Are You Ready to Calm the Crazy?
I’ve been using this process for more than a fifteen years, and it’s seen me through challenges with my family, ups and downs in the economy and at work. I still get caught in the whirlwind from time to time, but my Life Plan points my way forward when I lose focus.
If you want that same kind of clarity and direction, I recommend you check out Living Forward and invest one day to calm the crazy and quiet the storms in your life. Remember to use this link for a special offer JUST for LWSL readers and get more than $360 in additional bonuses with your purchase of the book.
Michael Hyatt is a popular blogger and the coauthor of Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want. He is also the creator of 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever.™ and author of the New York Times best seller, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. In addition, He is the founder of Platform University.®