Tips for Making a Monthly Plan to avoid overdoing it

So in my last 2 posts, we talked about embracing the exhaustion so that you can find out what caused it and then making a plan to deal with it.

Once your back on top, keep your eyes on the rest of my exhaustion tips, because there are still some fabulous ones to come to help you maintain your energy or get more.

But in the meantime, lets start making a plan of action for keeping your energy levels up and make a monthly plan.  I know, your busy! This doesn’t have to look smart, or require anything posh.  But think about how much energy and time you lose because you didn’t look ahead.  Think about the rubbish weekends you have because you didn’t have the energy to deal with the kids.  Remember how awful it is to spend your time shouting at the kids, because you didn’t have the energy to talk to them or plan to make sure that the day goes well; this is ironically why we get more and more exhausted, because it takes quite a lot of extra energy being exhausted in the end.  So I’m going to give you a quick (1hr) little exercise, to help you to make sure that from now on you look after yourself better….

Four Things To Think About

Sit down with another cuppa (and this time you can treat yourself to a biscuit or a cake) and thinking about four important things and WRITE it down (writing is magic!).

1) What boosts your energy and helps you to maintain it: this is stuff that you love doing. This stuff is really important, because it revitalises you, and gives you a boost.

2) Over a month, what is the barest minimum you can do to make sure that you are taking care of yourself and functioning at your best (you are allowed to add more of course!).  For example, a chat with a friend, eating well, getting some exercise, having a bath, getting 15 minutes alone.  (If you haven’t signed up for my email newsletter think about it, because you get a free Life Health Questionnaire at the moment, which might give you some tips).

3) Do you have other areas of life that need a priority list, because it gets you down, or makes you unhappy or dissatisfied if you don’t do it e.g. work? rest? play? relaxation? socialisation? sorting finances? reading? seeing grandparents? playdates for the kids?

4) What do you not like looking back on at the end of the month and find you didn’t do? E.g. I would feel dissatisfied with a month that had no time where I was alone with each child for a bit, and where I didn’t do anything creative with them.

Now Write Four summary lists

  1. 7 Things you need to do each week to look after yourself
  2. 7 Things the family needs each month for it to be a contented place
  3. 7 other things that need to be prioritised (my are my work priorities)
  4. What else is needed per month to be fitted in

Do a quick sanity check: is there physically enough time in a month/week to do all this without becoming a screaming fishwife and having miserable kids?  If not, dump stuff and look for simpler more basic things to put in the lists that you forgot e.g. cuddle time.

Now Get Perspective On The Month Ahead

Then get some way of looking at the month as a whole.  It can be a diary, filofax, chalk board, piece of paper with lines drawn on it.  It doesn’t matter!  (Mine is a print out from my computer’s calendar, because it looks good and I can do it A5 and put it in my filofax which had a weekly, rather than monthly diary).

Put in what you have already got planned (the big events).  Now look at the basic stuff that you need to fit in to keep yourself, your work and your family afloat.  Does it fit?  What can you get rid of?  If there is no space for anything else, DON’T ADD IT!  You are not doing yourself or your family any favours by running around like a blue arsed fly and trying to be super mum, who never says ‘No’!

Now once a month have a look at what is planned ahead and put in some ‘relax space’ if it’s getting too jam packed.  Some families like a day in their PJ’s, others a day of watching films, others a day of doing something simple like a picnic at the park.  Make sure there is space for this downtime.

I also have a list for each week where I tick off the things that I’ve put as my minimal list to do to take care of myself, because I have a bad habit of working too hard, or looking after others first.  So to make myself accountable I have to look at the list each week and make sure I followed it.

Here’s an example looking at my life:

1) What boosts my energy: Dancing, taking care of myself physically, playing and having fun, writing

2) To keep my energy going: I like to do zumba/exercise (45mins) 1xpw, walk dogs/get along time (1hr) 1xpw, Dance with the kids/have silly fun (10mins) several times pw, meditate/do personal development (2hr) 1xpw, eat well (hardly any chocolate), chat with friends on phone (15mins in car) 2xpw face to face twice a month, work 3 days pw, and at the moment I’m getting some coaching for myself (2hrs) 2 x per month.

3) For my work: I have set a 7 priorities so that I’m not attempting to rush around like a mad thing.  Currently I’m focussed on the basics of my blog, reaching more mums, helping more of them, covering my costs and building the foundation for a big launch that is coming later in the year.

4) At the end of the month: It doesn’t work for me if I don’t get time with the big northern hubby once a week, and with the kids sometime during the month, plus they need Daddy time and a bit of family time.  It doesn’t have to be long (can’t fit that in!), but just a time to connect and ‘be’ with them.  Plus it’s easy to forget to fit in the basics of sorting out the general family health, and financials.

So, each week I tick off my things from No2 and see how many I managed and how I feel.  When the plan doesn’t work I re-adjust – maybe I find out that I need more time alone, or less time alone.

Why bother?

Why bother with all this you might ask?  Well, I’m assuming that because you are reading this blog post, you find that sometimes/often you are low on energy.  You can achieve this in 5 minutes per week, with 30 minutes to plan ahead once per month.  So in the time it takes to drink a couple of cuppa’s you could make sure that you feel better, and have a fab month.  Kind of worth making time for?

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