As you have probably figured out, using a planner is not enough to promise balance and an organized life. That is why I recommend using Theme Days along with your planner to help provide balance, focus, and a sense of freedom.
How do theme days work?
Theme days provide focus for a particular day of the week, so you can match the actions on your to-do list and your appointments in your weekly planner with that theme. This allows you to get into the flow and not have to change direction many times in the day causing you to feel unproductive and frazzled.
For example, let's say you have Friday as Financial Day. If on Tuesday you are feeling anxious because you really need to balance your check book, you can give yourself permission to wait until Friday because you have that day set aside for all activities relating to your finances. You are free to focus on Tuesday's theme instead of worrying about other things you think you “should" be doing.
Need another example? You have created theme days for cleaning your house so you don't have to do it all in one day. Monday-Kitchen, Tuesday-Bedroom, Wednesday-Bathroom, Thursday-Laundry, Friday-Vacuum, Saturday-Kid's room, Sunday-Rest. On Thursday you begin feeling guilty because you haven't done the kid's room yet. Because you have it set up on your Theme Day schedule, you can let go of that guilt knowing it has its special day!
Okay, one last example. Wednesday is Errand Day. Someone wants you to pick up something for them. You can proactively say, “I will get that for you on Wednesday. " This keeps you from having to run errands throughout the week feeling scattered and unproductive and being at the mercy of someone else's schedule.
Now there are tons of ways to use Theme Days with your planner. You can also create more flexibility by using half days for multiple themes. Even go as far as creating Theme Weeks, Theme Months, or even Theme Seasons depending on what you want to create in your life. You may also create personal theme days and work theme days. This concept is only limited by your own imagination.
Keep your themes SIMPLE and MEANINGFUL for you!
Take a look at the examples below. Choose a few (or even one) that will work for you, or completely create your own. Allow theme days to evolve based on what is important to you at the time and what you want more of in your life.
Remember theme days are created to provide balance, focus, and freedom for both your personal and professional life.
:: My Day ::
This is my personal favorite Theme Day. Mondays have been claimed as “Marlo Day. " You get to define what this day looks like to you. For me I usually schedule my massages, do my long workouts, read, have lunch with a friend, watch a movie, etc. I do not plan appointments that are work related, or anything that does not nourish my soul. The day is ALL ABOUT ME!
I have planned my theme days in my weekly planner according to the day's name-Monday is Marlo Day; Wednesday is Workshop or Website Day; Friday is Financial Day. It is easier for me to remember what theme goes on what day this way.
Now, you may think that scheduling an entire day is out of the question. So, start with half a day. Or reserve one day every two weeks. The idea is to get used to having a full day to yourself. You deserve at least ONE day. . . if not more.
When you practice Extreme Self Care, you wrap yourself in an energy that creates miracles in your life and in the lives of those around you. ~Shirley Anderson
:: Errand Day ::
Use this day for grocery shopping, library stops, post office, or any other errands required.
:: Focus Day ::
Need time to really work on a specific project? Take advantage of this day to create momentum and get extra productive. Allow phone calls to go to your voice mail and refrain from checking eMail throughout the day. Stay FOCUSED!
:: Family Day ::
This day is reserved for your family. Enjoy a picnic, hike, bike ride, games, etc.
:: Meeting Day ::
Schedule all your meetings (within your power) on this day. Make sure to leave transition and travel time between meetings. You can also use this to schedule your client sessions.
:: Financial Day ::
This is the perfect day to focus on your finances by balancing your checkbook, paying bills, evaluating your investments, and/or learning more about money management and creating financial freedom.
:: Planning Day ::
This day works in great partnership with “Focus Day. " Use this day to look at all your projects and list all the action steps required for your “Focus Day. " Take this time to really brain dump so you are not holding any to-dos in your head. You may also want to include weekly planning into this day.
:: Buffer Day ::
Purposefully reserving a day as a buffer will allow you to create space for the unexpected, while still allowing you time to get things done. Maybe a project took longer than you anticipated, or maybe you had to change gears for the day. No worries because you have this time set aside to stay on track! Be sure to leave this day open for that buffer, because if you plan it full, you have just removed the freedom in your schedule!
:: Catch-Up Day ::
Want to catch your breath? You will have to schedule that into your week too! Take advantage of the “Catch-Up Day" to do some of the little things on your to-do list that haven't been touched or finished. This day has the potential of making you feel really great!
:: Creative Day ::
Creative Day is a fun way to come up with some great ideas by tapping into your creative side. You may want to dive into your hobbies, play a musical instrument, paint, or go for a walk and see what you come up with for some creative-problem solving.
:: Follow-up Day ::
Many times things can fall through the crack because we don't take time to follow up on phone calls, e-mails, or delegated tasks. By reserving a day for this activity you can become more proactive and on top of projects and other important things in your life.
:: Free Day ::
We all need some down-time. Celebrate yourself by not planning a single thing! Just go with the flow and do (or not do) what feels right at the moment. Experience the peace in this day knowing you have reserved other days to take action on projects and other areas of your life.
One last thing. . .
You may want to communicate your themes to your friends, family, and colleagues so they will begin to honor your new schedule. Heck, they may like it so much that they will follow your lead!
Marlo Nikkila is The Organizing Coach. Would you like a simple and meaningful life? Receive your free gift of “7 Powerful Ways to Simplify Your Life" Action Plan and begin receiving inspiration with the Let's OrganizeTogether e-zine. You will love the tips, resources, and opportunities available for subscribers only!
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