I am by nature a planner, and have, as long as I can remember had an affinity for list-making, meal planners, diaries and monthly schedules.
I am a huge fan of the practice and believe, firmly, that good
planning can avert many a crisis.
Having a large family and a fairly full plate, means that planning is not just a nicety, but rather a necessity in my life. In fact, I am a huge fan of the practice and believe, firmly, that good planning can avert many a crisis. Sitting quietly with a notebook and pen, giving thought to the future makes me feel calm, organised and motivated. It helps to keep life, work and family running smoothly. Planning goes hand in hand with intentionality, organisation and focus and enables us to consider our time and energy commitments, and how closely we’re living with our values and convictions.
As the year runs helter-skelter to an end, I find my need to plan only increases. Just recently, I took three pages of month planners and mapped out our family’s commitments for the last quarter of
the year. What an exercise it was, but doing it has been tremendously helpful as we can plan wisely and hopefully not end the year in a heap of exhaustion (as has sometimes been our
I’d love to share with you a few tips on the art of planning (in the hopes that these will give you some practical handles on the topic and encourage you, whether you’re a seasoned planner or not):
Start your plans with a prayer. Whatever you may be
planning (be it a birthday party, a holiday, a budget, or even the meals you’ll cook in a week), have you considered just inviting the Holy Spirit into the process with you? It’s a great way to start and I believe, brings Heaven’s touch to all you do. Proverbs 16:3 encourages us in this: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans” (NIV)
Plan in the quiet. What do I mean by this? Are you heading into a busy season? Plan before you get there. Plan when things are calm and peaceful. Make your decisions there, in the unrushed, still place, not in the hustle and bustle of your situation. It has been said that “one hour of planning can
save you ten hours of doing”. Think ahead, consider what you’ll need and make provision ahead of time. This is what the bible calls “prudence.”
Don’t forget to build a good amount of margin into your plan. If you’re planning your week, build in some ‘blank space’ in your diary. Don’t try and pack in too much, it is
usually counter-productive. It is liberating to know that there are some spare hours in each week to be allocated as you see fit. I have seen this work well for me, particularly for those last-minute eventualities: the friend who is in a crisis and needs a cup of tea and a conversation; the child who unexpectedly wakes up sick and needs extra care or a doctor’s appointment; the commute between two meetings that ends up taking way longer than anticipated. It is said of the Proverbs 31 woman that she “has savings of time and strength” (vs 16b Amplified). I aspire to living my life with
margin so that I have spare time available, and a reserve of strength.
Plan with a firm knowledge of who you are, and who you are not. By this, I simply mean, plan in a way that is true to
who you are. Know your capacity and how much time you need alone, or with people. Know what fills you as well as
what drains you, and plan around this. Know when your energy dips and peaks, and organise your days accordingly.
Know your boundaries and honour them in your planning.
Stick to your plan as far as possible and honour your word. If you have committed to see someone or do something, try not to rearrange your plans at the last minute (particularly if a “better” proposition has emerged) Of course, life throws us curveballs and we need to be flexible and gracious, but it seems people don’t live so much by the “let your yes be yes, and your no be no” advice of scripture (Matthew 5:37) anymore. Living a life of integrity means that you will do as you say. Wisdom is being careful with your words, and rather under-promising and over-delivering, than the other way around!
Plan for rest. Just recently, a friend of mine sent me a photo of her plan for the day. It was beautifully handwritten in her blank-paged, spiral bound notebook. I noticed that her
schedule included two slots for rest. One around lunchtime and one following dinner. What a wise woman she is! She knows when in the day she’ll need a quiet moment to put her busy feet up and sip a cup of tea. She had planned accordingly. Rest is a godly way of honouring our bodies and
in so doing, honouring Him, our Creator. In your planning, work in daily, weekly and annual rest. It’s not a self-indulgent luxury, it’s wisdom indeed!
Plan for celebration! As daughters of God we should know well how to celebrate life! Birthday parties, baby showers,wedding anniversaries, Easter and Christmas are all wonderful occasions worth celebrating! You don’t have to break the budget to mark these occasions with festivity and
joy. Even simple gestures, and a few special elements can make an occasion memorable. It is worth planning ahead for these events as they bring much joy into our beings and help us to shift our focus off the hardships we may be facing, and rather to notice the many blessings in our lives. In his insightful book,” Celebration of Discipline”, Richard Foster says that, “Celebration is at the heart of the way of Christ.” Should we not also plan to weave it into our lives?
Whatever you are planning, even if you’re planning to plan, may the Master Planner Himself be with you in it all. His plans are always good!
Angela is a valued contributor at Women of Reverence. Her words delight the soul and point us towards our beautiful Jesus. Read her bio here.