10 Best Planning Tips to Increase Productivity

One of my biggest challenges as a SAHM was the frustration of not getting stuff done that I wanted to get done.

I didn’t realise that being productive has a lot to do with planning.

I was never taught to plan and didn’t even consider it necessary. I just lived.

I allowed life to happen to me.

The result was that my feelings or crises dictated my life, which led to a lot of stress and overwhelm, which led to irritation, which led to yelling at my kids, which led to guilt.

Sounds like chaos.

Yup. It was.

But then God stepped in and showed me that I should “Let all things be done decently and in order” 1 Corinthians 14:40. I began to prioritise and plan, and my life began to improve!

I’ve been planning for years now, and can’t imagine life without it.

How can you learn to plan better so that you can accomplish the most important things in your life, have some leisure or self-care time, be less irritated, and feel more in control of your life?

Before we dive into how to plan better, let’s talk about out why it’s important to plan.

Why is planning important?

  • Planning helps you steward your time well, and be fruitful. When you plan you increase your ability to serve God well, and rest in Him well.
  • Planning allows you to prepare for the things you can control.
  • Planning minimises chaos, stress, and overwhelm.
  • The structure creates an atmosphere of order and discipline, creating security for you and your kids because everyone knows what’s coming next.
  • Planning saves time because you eliminate chaos.
  • It increases productivity because you set goals and schedule them into your plan.
  • Planning increases motivation because you can see what you are getting done and as you check things off your list you get a dopamine boost which motivates you to keep going.
  • It improves mental health – because you feel good when you are productive, and the lack of stress and chaos creates a peaceful mind.
  • Planning makes you feel in control instead of out of control.

How to plan effectively

We’re going to look at 10 ways to plan effectively so you have time for everything you need to fit into your life, with buffer time so you have less stress and chaos, and can be a better version of yourself.

#1 Have a planner – and use it

I’m assuming you already have a planner. If not, check out my Ultimate Life Planner for Busy Moms.

Keep your planner visible, and refer to it often to help yourself stay on track.

Mockup of life planner for busy moms

#2 Write stuff down in your planner

Write everything in your planner that you need to do – both personal and work related. That includes laundry, grocery shopping, appointments, work tasks.

#3 Plan weekly

Set aside time to plan your next week so you don’t go into it flying by the seat of your pants. I do my planning on a Friday – it only takes about 15 minutes but I go into the new week aware of what’s coming. It makes me feel in control of my circumstances instead of my circumstances being in control of me.

#4 Number your top 3 tasks for the day

Do this prayerfully. “Lord, what are the top 3 things you want me to do today?” Don’t make them all big things. Then discipline yourself to do those 3 things. Treat them like a doctor’s appointment (unless a crisis hits, of course).

#5 Pace yourself

Don’t plan to do too much. Have a running list of things you need or want to do and if you have extra time then tackle one of those.  

Create buffer time in between tasks to allow for unforeseen circumstances like spills, accidents, or tired, cranky kids.

When I was homeschooling my kids I only gave myself one extra task per day (aside from normal chores like cooking and dishes): laundry, or bread making, or housecleaning.

Taking on too much leaves you stressed and irritable, and that almost always gets transferred to your kids.

#6 Create a morning routine

A good morning routine sets you up for success. Include a few minutes to consult your planner and see what’s on your to-do list for the day. You’ll start your day feeling more in control and less stressed and flustered.

If you win the morning, you win the day.

Related: Two morning routines that boost productivity throughout the day

#7 Plan with God

Take God with you when you plan your week and when you plan each morning. Allow God to lead you so that you don’t overload yourself or end up being unproductive.

He knows exactly what you need to get done and how you need to plan.

There are some days that you need to do just about nothing – and that’s ok.

#8 Block schedule

As you plan your week set aside blocks of time for housework, cooking, business activities (if you work from home) – again, working around your most important tasks.

Block scheduling allows you to get into the flow instead of working in jerky snippets. You’ll get more done if you block schedule.

#9 Prioritise tasks/activities

Fill in your most important tasks and activities first in your planner and then add other things in as you have time.

You may first need to sit down and decide what your priorities are so that you can prioritise them.

Related: How to prioritise your life (includes a free printable to help you sort out your priorities)

#10 Review and adjust daily

Learn to be flexible and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get stuff done. Each day review your planner and move any unfinished or undone tasks to the next day or the next convenient time in your week.

If you prioritise your life and plan well, you will be able to get the things done that you need to do without stress and chaos, and have more time for the things that really matter.

Bible verses about planning

Proverbs 21:5  “The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.”

Proverbs 16:3 “Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.”

Luke 14:28 “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?”

Proverbs 6:6-8 “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise; Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.”

Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart deviseth his way; but the Lord directeth his steps.”

1 Corinthians 14:40 “Let all things be done decently and in order.”

James 4:13-15 “Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what Ishall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”

Proverbs 19:21 “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

Looking for ways to be eliminate chaos, stress, and overwhelm and be more productive?

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About The Author

Jennifer Lovemore

Jennifer has three grown kids and is married to her best friend, Richard. She started this website as a platform to help families, and specifically women, to take control of their lives and grow themselves spiritually, mentally & emotionally, and to discover their God-given purpose and live it out with confidence. She is a trained Life Coach and has diplomas in relationship counselling and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). She is a certified SYMBIS (Save Your Marriage Before It Starts) facilitator. She lives in sunny South Africa.

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