Planning is a creative way to get things done and a form of self-help to support our mental health. It keeps our minds clear of clutter, releases us from internal and external pressures, and gives us a clear direction to follow. In this article, we’ll explore an accessible weekly planning practice to keep anxiety levels low.
People struggled with a busy mind even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, yet the new stress and changes are throwing us even more off balance. The new reality has a massive impact on introverts, empaths, and highly sensitive people. That does not mean strong-minded persons can’t also be affected. A proactive attitude is welcome for all.
Whether we don’t understand what happens with us or are afraid to understand it, we often choose to walk on the same old path: getting ourselves busy. The busyness can be a way of hiding from our inner fears and translates into never-ending To-Do lists and complicated plans. Facing the fears, embracing them, and constantly looking for ways to be better with ourselves can be a healthy path to a lasting mental balance. We need a solid ground for mindset boosting. It starts by accepting that external stress is part of our lives, then tune it down with calm and practice. Although life comes with many uncertainties, we can create our best answers, just as we create our outcomes.
To move it forward, we’ll explore a 3-step weekly planning practice to build a better journey, ease anxiety, and calm a busy mind. To complete the exercise, have two pieces of paper and a pen at hand.
Step 1: Accept Your Fears, Confusions, and Pains
We can’t change the reality but can choose the ways to react to it. Here’s a quick exercise to practice once a week or as often needed. When the mind is loaded with thoughts, worries, or questions, take the first piece of paper and outline three areas:
- First area: on the left side of the page, write a list with ALL nagging questions that set your mind on fire
- Second area: on the right side of the page, list solutions or answers to these questions. If you don’t have an answer, outline the steps you’ll follow to find one (like asking for outside support).
- Third area: at the bottom of the page, make a third list with the steps to focus on next. At this step, writing a 3 to 5 step action plan will bring a bit of comfort and ease your mind.
This approach can help ease the anxiety and free up some space in your mind to welcome positive outcomes.
Step 2: Know What’s on Your Plate this Week
When the brain is jumping all around with distractions, anxieties, fears, and worries, making 2-3 small lists with what’s on your plate that week may help massively. To start, take the second piece of paper, and on the right side of the page, write those mini-lists to have them accessible throughout the week. Add a name to each mini-list to keep them all organized. Keep each list under 5 bullets to prevent overwhelm.
Getting distractions out of your mind will improve your focus on more important matters.
Step 3: List Your Weekly Winning Actions
On the same page with your mini-lists, make a new list with up to five weekly wins – actions that will help you move the needle in your life and business. Add them to the left side of the page, then organize them by workday. Give yourself plenty of time to win at every step, and don’t make it the end of the world if it’s not completed in a day.
Planning can be challenging or, for some people, even scary. Consider these points to lower the burden on yourself: it’s OK to start your week with only 1-2 winning actions on the list. You can add a few more throughout the week if you think they will help you reach some level of progress. Also, a day without a focus may be a buffer time between major actions or a well-deserved time for yourself.
Although you will do MANY more things throughout the day, channeling the best energy on one winning daily action will keep your mind grounded and give you the strength to move forward.
The Bottom Line
Don’t overwhelm your mind with too much to do or think about. Although calming a busy mind and releasing anxiety needs determination and constant work, you can create a steady pace of mind every week by writing down a simple yet effective action plan. A simple list with winning actions can calm your mind and connect you with your genius.
To set yourself up for the best success, do this practice with an accountability partner to support each other and get your minds back on track.
About the Author: Ralu Petrea is UX Designer and Paperless Planner Creator at Outline Planner (www.outlineplanner.com). She is on her journey to design PLUG-IN & PLAY iPad planner templates for entrepreneurs, executives, creatives, work-from-home moms, and everyone in between to calm the chaos and thrive every day at 9 to 5 and beyond. She is also a strong ambassador for positivity, love, and finding genius through simplicity. 🙂
The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.
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Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash
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