When you are planning your day do you take the time to look ahead to what is coming up the rest of the week, month or even longer? It’s important to schedule your day with an eye on what is out on the horizon. If you plan each day in a vacuum, looking only at what is going on that day you will miss out on opportunities to get ahead on longer range activities. There may be times when you have a bit of free time that you can use to move another activity forward. If you aren’t aware of what is out there you will not know how to use that gift of time.
One way to do this is to keep a long range calendar available. I love having a year calendar posted on my wall that shows all 12 months, particularly ones that I can write on with a dry-erase marker. I can make note of vacations, holidays, deadlines, etc. This allows me to see when I will have a time crunch due to people being gone or due to my own vacations. With this in sight I can use the available time right now to get ahead of the curve on things that must get done that can be done early.
Another way to keep in mind what is coming is to use your email systems calendar and put out on it the same types of things. This can be a great tool if you make it a habit to regularly look ahead at what is coming up. I find it too easy in Outlook to stay focused on a week at a time and I can lose sight of next month. This leads to deadlines that can sneak up on you because they are not as readily visible. Using the week view in Outlook is great for awareness of what your week looks like, just take the time each day to look at what is on your calendar for the next 4 weeks. This will help you make progress towards longer range goals.
Another tool I will also use is an Excel template for a yearlong calendar. Typically I use this for my family schedule. This helps me get more specific on steps towards goals and where they fall into the family’s schedule. I note when vacations are planned, school holidays, and kids’ trips. I will print these out to review with my family to make sure I have the key items noted and help us figure out how to handle any conflicts that have surfaced.
There are a variety of calendar tools out there for you to use. Experiment with them to see which one will help you keep track of your longer range goals and how you can fit them into your daily schedule. Taking the time to look ahead while planning your day and week will help you find the time to do the things you love to do and take the necessary steps to reach your goals.
How do you keep long range goals in mind while scheduling your daily tasks?