Okay. So you’ve decided to live purposefully; you’ve taken the step after that to fix up your Internet identity in preparation for the new wave of content that you’d soon be putting out. What’s next?
To actually get to work, right?
The worst thing that can happen to you is when you rush into something – anything – without a plan.
You want to be intentional? Have a plan.
You want to become valuable on Internet spaces? Have a plan.
You want to finish a course? Have a plan.
Having a plan makes things look more organized, and saves you from feeling overwhelmed at a point. Deciding to live a more purposeful life might be easy, but forming the habits you need to keep up with it is the hard part.
Luckily, as I said I would, I’m here to help.
When I say, ‘Have a Plan’, know that there are two types of plans you need to have: the long-term plan and the short-term plan.
The Long-term Plan.
I would be misleading you if I said that it’s okay to have just one goal that’ll cover all the aspects of your life. The truth of the matter is that for the different parts of our lives: academics, religion, work, career, family, relationships, etc., there should be individual long-term goals.
You’ll get the hang of it soon enough.
So, since we’re talking about INTENTIONALITY as a broad concept, you should know that when you decide to be intentional with your life, you decide to be intentional in every part of it.
In this series, I’ll be sharing tips that can be most helpful in the career, academics, and work aspects of our lives. But they can generally be useful in every part of your life with a few adjustments here and there.
Now that we’ve established that, let’s continue…
The long-term goal is that sum total goal you want to achieve.
Take for example, you’re making a plan for your career.
Long-term goal: To become a graphics designer.
The problem is: I feel like I’m not making any steps RIGHT NOW towards my career, I feel like I’m too relaxed and unserious.
The solution is: I’ll take up a course on digital design to begin with (in the case where my career is in design).
The action plan is: For a week, I’ll take lessons in my course for an hour a day to get accustomed to it. From there, I’ll ease into learning for two hours a day. If I learn for two hours every day, I would have completed the course in two months’ time.
Deadline for completion of the course: Two months from the day I started it.
You see how I’ve made the broad statement of ‘make a plan for your career’ seem so doable in five headings?
That’s what the long-term goal is all about: breaking the broad intention into doable parts.
The Short-term Plan.
The long-term plan breaks up your intention into doable parts, and makes it seem less scary and overwhelming. But the short-term plan further breaks those parts into daily points of action that will lead you to achieving the long-term goal.
The short-term plan is very important, because as I said earlier, if you want to succeed at being a purposeful person, you need to have habits that put you in the right direction. And when you have a short-term plan consisting of daily, routine actions aimed towards the long-term goal, those actions for success you carry out every day become part of you; they become your habits.
A good way to look at your short-term plan is thinking of it as a timetable. Many people cringe at the idea of making a timetable for their activities, feeling that it’ll restrict them, but that’s the more reason why people like that spend their day responding to the day’s prompts and circumstances, instead of letting the day be structured by their own actions.
And it’s people like that who, at the end of the month or year, feel like they haven’t done anything meaningful with their life.
To be honest, I was once in this category of people. I used to HATE the idea of a timetable. Back in my JSS1 in secondary school, when my Igbo teacher first told me about a timetable, I just told her I would try it to make her happy. But it was only in my JSS3, when I was to write my Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) – AKA Junior WAEC – that I tried having my first timetable; and that was a reading timetable.
So, what am I saying in essence?
A daily timetable might sound and even BE boring to create and follow up initially, but believe me, it helps. I can’t say I follow my timetable all the time, but whenever I miss an activity, I feel it and scold myself against repeating it. And I often don’t. 😊
Because a short-term timetable can differ from person-to-person, I’ll just be giving you tips to note when crafting yours:
Have two timetables: One for your working/school periods, and one for your holiday periods.
Yup. You have to have a plan for your holidays, too. 😏
The worst thing you can tell yourself is that the timetable you use when you’re working or when your school is in session, will work for you when you’re on holiday.
During work/school periods, you have limited free time which you have to try to slice to accommodate all the extra things you have to do. But during the holiday, you have a lot more free time.
So, make two timetables.
Be realistic: You know how you are. You know whether you’re the kind of person that MUST sleep for two hours every afternoon before you can actually feel rested. You know the time of day – or night – you’re most productive.
In this heading, I advise you to make your timetable bearing in mind the way your body functions.
Taking myself as an example, I don’t joke with sleep. But since I started working, I haven’t been able to get the sleep I need. And that’s why I dedicate my Sundays for sleeping. 😂
In my previous timetables, I always put in a compulsory hour for sleep during the holidays, because on weekdays, I often find it hard to sleep in the afternoon. 🤦🏾♀
The same should be for you. I didn’t say you should get lazy and put in five hours for sleep, or three hours for ‘rest’ and ‘watching TV’. No. Even as we’re realistic, we should know enough to let go of or reduce the time we spend on activities in our day that don’t produce much results.
Always remember to put in emergency time: Of course. No matter how much you try to plan your day down to every detail, there will always be unexpected things that’ll just pop up out of nowhere. An example is how, yesterday, I planned to finish cooking, have a bath, and immediately finish writing this article. But then, I forgot that that day was the World Cup finals. 🤯
And so, when my dad clicked on the TV, I just had to spare some time to watch. 🙃
But good for me, I always have space for contingencies in my daily timetable.
And you should, too.
And just an addy: It helps, at the beginning of every day, very early in the morning, or before you go to sleep in the night, to list out all the activities you have to carry out the next day.
For me, I make my list when I wake up in the morning, not the night before.
And it’s also a good idea to start such a list for the next day with the things you weren’t able to do or finish for that day.
Start from the most important activity to the least most important. That’s what I do, though. You can order it however you wish. 😉
And so, however way you wish to mix and match these points I shared here, know that if you want to be purposeful, you’ve got to have a plan: a long-term one and a short-term one. Without these, anything you may claim you’re doing or ‘working on’ may not give the same results as it would if you had a clear plan with daily points of action.
Try this out, and see how much more confident you’ll be in your ability to plan and execute things you put your mind to. 👍🏾
Look out for the next post in this series, and keep staying enlightened as you journey towards intentionality. 🐱👤
Have any thoughts to share on this? Anything you wish to add? Or do you just want to connect? I’d be pleased to hear from you in the comments! 👇🏾
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Thanks for reading. ☺️
Stay motivated. 🔥