Combine Planning and Scheduling to Move Forward in Life and Business
How to Combine Planning and Scheduling to Move Forward in Your Life and Business

85: How to Combine Planning and Scheduling to Move Forward in Your Life and Business

“I just need to plan more.” Do you really, though?

Regardless of the time of year, I often hear people say this. But I think the real answer lies in figuring out what, when, and where you want to direct your attention. Today, I share the differences between plans and schedules and how they go together in helping you figure out what you want to attend to.

We’re talking about this now, in the middle of summer because as we move into fall, you’ll crave a fresh plan and schedule. You may even believe you’ll be happier, and that everyone in your household would be happier. This is 100% possible.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss: 

6:30 – What good ol’ Google has to say about planning and scheduling

8:33 – Why you shouldn’t confuse planning with scheduling (or vice versa)

12:39 – What an attention audit is and how to use one if you have trouble planning

18:20 – How scheduling is different than planning and should come after, plus two rules to keep in mind

21:49 – Recapping why scheduling and planning isn’t just about using the pretty planner

25:00 Get support during the Full Focus Planner Masterclass

How you manage your time is definitely a reflection of how you manage your mind. I hope this discussion around planning and scheduling, figuring out what you want to attend to, how to use tools to help you, but most importantly, how to use your mind to help you, I hope this was all helpful because this stuff helps me.

Join Andrea for Full Focus for Fall Masterclass.

Resources Mentioned: 

Other Episodes You’ll Enjoy:

84: Creating a Breakthrough: How to Decide, Implement and Evaluate

83: Getting Clear on Where You’re At: Finding Your Current Location

82: The Key to Making Better Choices: Knowing How to Figure Out All the Options

You're listening to the Time to Level Up Podcast. I'm your host, business life coach, Andrea Liebross. I help women in business commit to their own growth personally and professionally. Each week, I'll bring you strategies to help you think clearly, gain confidence, make your time productive, turn every obstacle into an opportunity, and finally overcome the overwhelm so that you can make money and manage life. Let's create a plan so you have a profitable business, successful career, and best of all, live with unapologetic ambition. Are you ready to drop the drama and figure out the how in order to reach your goals? You're in the right place. It's Time to Level Up. Let's do this.

Hello my friends. Welcome back to the Time to Level Up Podcast. I also want to welcome my new podcast production team. This is the first podcast I am recording with a new team, Uncommonly More, led by the amazing Stacey Harris. Everything always is changing in the business world and I periodically make changes to my business. This is one that I am making now here at Episode 85.

In an upcoming episode, I'm going to tell you why, and some of the thinking that went into that change. But today, what we're talking about is planning versus scheduling. I wanted to talk about this in the middle of summer but you're going to be listening to this at the beginning of July if you're listening when it is released, because believe it or not, it is the middle of summer but that means that fall is just around the corner. I hear you all saying, “Regardless of the season, I just need to plan more.”

This is sometimes a common thought and I hear it actually spoken often. What exactly does that mean, “I just need to plan more”? Do you really mean plan, or do you really mean schedule, or do you really mean I need to figure out what, when, and where I want to direct my attention to? What, where, and when to direct your attention? Ding-ding-ding. I think that's what you really do mean.

Today, I want to spend some time sharing with you the differences between planning and scheduling and how it all ties into knowing what you want to attend to. The reason I bring up seasons is because in the fall, we say, “In the fall, I'm going to get my act together” or “I'm going to wait until the fall.” As the fall approaches, and yes for some of us in the Midwest, our kids will be back in school in less than a month, in the fall, I especially know that you crave a fresh plan and schedule.

I know that you believe you would be happier. Actually everybody in your household might be happier. Everybody in your business or at work might be happier if you did have a plan, if you did schedule. This is 1000% possible. Now, I'm sure you've heard me mention on the podcast that I am a big believer, user, coach, and teacher of the Full Focus Planner. I became a certified pro at the end of last year which means that I know this tool, this planner inside and out. I'll put a link to it in the show notes if you've never checked it out before.

I do think it is the number one tool you need to get things in order, your life in order, your business in order. It really does have everything you need in order to get yourself into a habit or a pattern that leads to productivity and peace of mind. The Full Focus Planner really truly guides you to become a better planner and scheduler. I am such a huge fan that I have created a four-part master class which dissects the planner and helps you figure out how to use it and helps you figure out what parts to actually use that would apply to you.

In that class, I am giving you not just instruction, learning, and coaching on the tool, I'm adding in some mindset, the mindset you need to have in order to use it. I am teaching a four-part class that starts on August 11th. At the time I am recording this, I know there are a few spots left in the class so if you want to grab one, you can go to andrealiebross.com/fullfocus, we'll have a link in the show notes, to register.

If you like what you hear today, you're going to love that masterclass series because in there, we will dig even deeper into not just how to use the tool but how to use the tool to help you create the life and business you want, how do you create a week, a day, a month, or a quarter that you really crave and want. All right, so let's dig in to what we're talking about today, and that is scheduling versus planning.

I went to the Googles, like I always do, to see what the Googles had to say about scheduling and planning and up popped the definitions of plan and schedule. Let's start there. A plan, as a noun, part of speech, noun, gave me three options for meanings or definitions of a plan. It's a scheme or method of acting, doing, proceeding, making that is developed in advance. It's also a design or a scheme of the arrangement that you've thought about. It is also a specific project or definite purpose.

To plan is to arrange a method or scheme beforehand for any work or enterprise or proceeding, and planning is the act or process of making the plan. Now this is different than schedule. Interestingly, plan is used in the definition of schedule. But a schedule is a plan of procedure usually written for a proposed objective, especially with reference to the sequence of and time allotted for each item or operation necessary to its completion.

Notice they put the word time in the definition of schedule, they did not put the word time in the definition of plan. But a schedule can also be a time table, it can also be a series of things to be done, or of events to occur at, or during a particular time or period. The last definition of schedule is a written or printed statement of details often in classified or tabular form, especially when forming an appendix. But to scheduling is to plan for a certain date.

Notice, inside the definition of schedule, you found both the words plan and time. But there's something else that I think is missing here. In order to plan, you have to know what to plan for. If the plan is a scheme or method of acting, doing, proceeding, making, etc., that is developed in advance, then you need to know what you want to act on, do, proceed on, make, and that my friends requires you to decide where to put your attention.

Here's an example. I am sure that some listener out there is someone that I have talked to in the past, maybe done a consult call with, and then they decided not to proceed with coaching. If I'm talking to you, I want you to think about this. If you say, “I don't want to move forward with engaging you, Andrea, in coaching because I just don't have the time now,” then what you're really telling me is that you don't want to proceed on making you a better person or acting on creating a better business, you don't want to take action on changing something, you don't want to do something about what drew you to investigate coaching in the first place. It's not about the time.

If you're telling me you don't have the time, then really what you're telling me is that you don't have the plan or it's not something that you want to direct your attention to. It is not how you want to allocate your attention. If you think about it, we only have so much attention. I like to think that we have like 100 parts of attention. This is not something that you might want to use 10 of your attention parts or points or marbles toward.

“Andrea, I don't want to engage in coaching.” If you're telling me it's because you don't have the time, what you're really telling me is not that you don't have the time, because you do, you have 24 hours in it every day just like me, what you're really telling me is that you have decided that it is not something that you want to attend to. Sometimes I say to my clients, “Are you happy with this decision?” They kind of like hesitate to answer it because in reality, they do want to attend to it. They're just scared, they do have the time. They just haven't put this into their plan and they're kind of scared to put it into their plan.

That's a whole other podcast. But my point here is it's not about your schedule being too busy. There is no such thing as your schedule being too busy or packed. This is not a scheduling issue. What it's about is that you don't want to attend to coaching, thus, you don't want to put it into a plan, thus, you don't want to put it into your schedule. What you want to attend to is the plan. When you want to attend to it is the scheduling and you schedule what is in the plan. I want to say that again, what you want to attend to is used to create the plan. When you want to attend to X such thing, when you want to attend to what's in the plan, that's scheduling, and you schedule what's in the plan.

When we use the Full Focus Planner as a tool, it guides you to creating the plan and to scheduling what you're planning for into your time budget. Just like you might want to think you have an attention budget like you've got 100 marbles or a 100 attention points, you have 24 hours in a day. If you're having trouble planning, which is needed in order to schedule, the first step is to decide what you want to attend to. It's kind of like the preface or the pre-work to planning and scheduling.

How do you do that though? I think a great way to determine this is to do an attention audit, which is a term that I was recently introduced to by Brooke Castillo. I think it's really a great concept. What is an attention audit? How do you do it? Here's how, you do a brain dump of all the things that you're paying attention to currently and all the things you want to be paying attention to currently or in the future.

I literally recommend you pulling out a piece of paper, you pulling up two pieces of paper, labeling one personal and one professional or business, and you start listing all the things that you are attending to. You might be attending to your kids, your spouse, or the dog, or meal prep, exercise, or your parents. Maybe you want to spend more time with friends, which that's something you want to attend to, or maybe you want to dig deeper into your finances. Maybe you want to put attention towards being involved in your house of worship or even you might want to attend to the act of planning. These are all just ideas that might go on that personal sheet.

Then on the business or professional side, I might say if I were doing this that what I attend to in my business, the podcast, creating content, actually coaching my clients, planning, and oftentimes, that's done with my online business manager, Lynda, or my podcast producer or my person that helps me with copywriting. I attend to creating proposals. I attend to developing coaching concepts, and something that I am wanting to put more attention toward is writing a book. I've actually planned to start doing that this month.

Now, how many parts of my 100 attention points or 100 attention marbles am I putting toward each of these things? That's the next question you've got to ask yourself. For this exercise in deciding how many points you want to put toward each one, or the first step is how many points are you putting toward each of those things that you have listed now, I would recognize that there really are only 100 points combined both personal and professional.

That doesn't mean that 50 go toward personal and 50 go toward professional, you get to decide that, but just like you don't have 24 personal hours and 24 business hours, you don't have 100 personal points and 100 professional points. You have a total of 100. It doesn't mean they have to be 50-50 either, so that's something to be paying attention to, what side does have more points?

Now, look at the list and look at how many points are going toward each thing on the list. Some things might have zero next to them. Do you like what you see or do you want to reallocate those points? Maybe you want to foster a better connection with friends, so that might deserve more attention and you might have to up it from one point where it is now to five points. Or maybe you're spending time on social media and you're giving it five points but you don't really like those five points because what are you getting for those five points? Is what you're getting aligning with your overall life goals and should you really just give it one point or zero points?

Think of your attention as a full jar of marbles, and how many marbles are we moving from the full jar to the little jars that each are labeled with a different thing you want to attend to? Now all the things you want to attend to become part of your plan. All of those things should align with your overall goals. In the Full Focus Planner, you learn, and I teach you how to write smarter goals, so one could argue that you need to do that part of the planner first, and once you have your goals, then you can make sure that your attention is going toward the things that align with your goals.

But you could also argue that you need to determine what you want to attend to before setting your goals. I could make an argument for either way, either way what you want to attend to and your goals should align and both be used as part of creating the plan, the process of creating a plan for the year, quarter, month, day, or week. The Full Focus Planner totally helps you with that. But notice you had to access your thinking a little bit in order to do that. It's not all about the pretty planner. You've got to bring your mind into it too.

Let's switch gears and talk about scheduling which is different than planning and which can't happen until you have a plan. Once you've decided what is in your plan for the week, for example, that means you've decided where you want your attention to go, in which jar, which means that you also have an idea of your bigger goals, then and only then can you schedule. In essence, scheduling is deciding when you are going to attend to the things you want to attend to.

A couple rules of scheduling. Number one: Not everything that you're giving attention points to has to make it into the schedule every month, week, or day, whatever just because it's something that you want to attend to. You get to decide if it is going to be part of the plan for the month, week, or day. Number two: Just because you want to devote a lot of attention to something doesn't mean that you have to devote a lot of time to it.

For example, I might choose to put 20 of my attention points on my health, 20 marbles go into the health jar. But I will tell you, I am certainly not spending 20% of my time on my health. I may only spend one out of every 24 hours on my health. Scheduling is really the act of deciding and determining when I'm going to attend to my health, when will that thing fit into the puzzle of my day and for how long. Health, yes, I'm going to give it 20 attention points so I each week create a plan or a method or a scheme in advance of taking the actions toward improving or maintaining my health.

Me, personally, what I call my health plan is the 2-2-2 plan. Twice a week, I like to do some strength, twice a week I like to do cardio, and I like to get to two yoga classes. Two strength, two cardio, two yoga, and also part of my health plan is nutrition and eating. I have to think about in advance how I'm going to get the nutrition and meals that I want to get. Then I get to schedule it.

How I schedule that usually is in the form of about an hour a day. If you think about it, one hour a day-ish goes toward exercise six days a week, and maybe on that seventh day, I spend one hour planning meals. That is certainly not 20% of the 168 hours in a week. By saying that I'm giving it 20% of my attention points, what I'm really saying is that it's something that's non-negotiable. My health is in the top five things that I attend to but it is certainly not 20% of my time, it's just a non-negotiable. It's in my plan, it's something I think about in advance.

All right, so let's review. We can have tools that help us plan and schedule like the Full Focus Planner but in order to use them effectively and consistently, we need to do an attention audit and we need to allocate our attention to what we want to attend to. Knowing that, we can plan, we can make an arrangement or scheme—if we went back to the definition that Google provided—for the things that we want to attend to.

The plan is kind of like the how; how are we going to address my health? How are we going to address relationships? What are the vehicles through which we will attend to it or that allow us to attend to it? The yoga class is the vehicle through which I attend to my health and I plan that I am going to go to a yoga class. But it is not until I get to the scheduling point that I determine when the yoga class is happening.

Once something is planned, then we can schedule it, then we can decide at what time we're going to attend to what. That's kind of actually the easy part. When someone says it doesn't fit into my schedule, what they're really telling me is that it's not part of their plan. As you can see, planning and scheduling, with the help of some very good systems or tools, takes managing your mind, takes thinking, takes brain power, takes having the right mindset.

When we use a tool like the Full Focus Planner, in order to use it effectively, in order to use it regularly or consistently and not shove it in the drawer or have a stack of pretty planners on your desk, you've got to access that brain power, you've got to access your mind. That's why I'm confident when I say it's not all about the pretty planner, it's about your mindset when you go to use the pretty planner.

I think the Full Focus Planner should just be called Full Focus, drop the plan part, because the Full Focus Planner does lots of things, it can help you create the plan since it asks some amazing questions and it gives you some space to reflect, it can also help you schedule, it's a platform to prompt the scheduling, and it does help you a little bit with figuring out what you want to attend to if you determine what your goals are before your attention audit.

If you are someone who has not mastered this or who wants to or has tried to master this planning and scheduling thing and just can't seem to do it, or you're someone that's done it but only for short bursts of time, like you're good, you stay on track for a week but then you sabotage, if you're someone who wants to master it who realizes that mastering it will lead to a much happier you, a more productive you, and maybe a happier household or work setting, then do yourself a favor, decide to devote some of your attention points towards mastering this.

This Full Focus master class series is just an opportunity that's available to you to help you master this, to look at all the parts and how they fit together. We're going to start on August 11th and you're going to get four hours of instruction over four weeks as well as access to what I am calling office hours, weekly during those four weeks. Office hours are giving you space to bring questions to the table to work on this, to start to implement everything, to see what other people are struggling with because sometimes when you see other people's questions, you think, “Oh, yeah, that's me too.”

This master class series, if you think about it, is just a small investment of your attention, a small allotment of time in your schedule for a huge gain in time later and a huge gain in you making the plan come true. It's a small investment in money now for huge potential influx of dollars later if you actually learn how to plan and schedule. Because how you manage your time is definitely a reflection of how you manage your mind.

All right, my friends. I hope this discussion around planning and scheduling, figuring out what you want to attend to, how to use tools to help you, but most importantly, how to use your mind to help you, I hope this was all helpful because this stuff helps me. When I get to think about writing these podcasts out and preparing for it, creating a plan for what I'm going to say, and then scheduling in the time to record it, I'm devoting attention to it. It gets some attention points of mine, these podcasts, and these help me move my plan forward of helping you become a better version of you.

You can find all the details about the master class series at andrealiebross.com/fullfocus. It'll be in the show notes. You can find all the details of how you can learn more about attending to you making yourself a better you and using coaching as the vehicle or plan in which to do that all on my website. Seats are limited in that master class so as of time of recording, there are a few left. I want to give you the personal attention that this kind of work requires, so sign up now before we fill.

All right, my friends, have a great rest of your week. Remember this is a way in which you are leveling up. There's never a better time—how ironic—to level up them right now. See you soon.

Thanks for listening to the Time to Level Up Podcast with me, your host, Andrea Liebross. If you know someone who could benefit from listening to this episode, I encourage you to take a screenshot and share it with them. Okay. Now, what about you? You've listened to the podcast, and if you now know that you're ready to upgrade your life, upgrade your business, upgrade you, then stop being only a listener and start being a liver living that upgraded life. Head over to my website and schedule a call. Right there on that call, we'll start changing the way you think and act so that you can have the freedom to achieve the impossible in life and business, and have the resources to do it. You deserve an upgrade. Let's do it.

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I'm Andrea

It’s my goal to help bold, ambitious women like you achieve the right mindset and solid systems through coaching, education, and a bit of unfiltered humor. I believe every problem is solvable and every dream is possible IF you make it all simple, doable and FUN (yeah, fun, remember that?).