Note from Diane: If you find yourself wondering where the first three months of 2014 went you are not alone. Living today is almost always done at breakneck speed and you can find yourself forever thinking about what you need to do just to catch up.
Unless you take some time out each and every week to plan your week ahead and make sure the majority of activities are taking steps towards your goals instead of taking them further away you will typically find yourself waking up each and every morning with a million “To Do’s” in your head and your day will begin in a frenzied state that is likely to continue the whole day through.
Even though it may seem doing things the wrong way round in a busy schedule it pays hugely to take some time over the next 7 days to make sure that you are organised and focused on the week ahead for maximum productivity no matter how many hours you have available.
Feature Article: My Top Tips For Planning Ahead And Increasing Productivity
1. Simplify Your Home Office
Even if you do not have a designated home office in your home you do need a place where you can get all your paperwork organised. You will also need to create a home filing system and have somewhere you can sit down and sort through every piece of paper that comes into your house efficiently.
Start by getting 10 – 12 lever arch files and label them up for everything from your latest bank statements and credit card statements to your insurances, life cover and pension documents. You'll also need one for healthcare, letters, tax and social security, savings etc. *Plus you will want to create one for your personal expenditure reports and tracking your net worth.
Once you have set this up for your home, you will want to do the same for your business if you are running it from home.
When everything is current, filed and labelled up ready to go you might want to create a “inbox” or area for incoming post (or emails that need to be dealt with) and an “outbox” for anything that needs to be posted out every day.
The rule now that you have everything set up is to handle one piece of paper once when possible and either file it, deal with it or trash it / recycle it.
The other skill you want to develop is being able to put your fingers on any piece of paper you need within 30 seconds (that will put you and your new system to the test.)
2. Simplify Your Money Management
For recording expenses in personal expenditure I highly recommend YNAB (You Need A Budget) don't be put off by the “B” word it helps you plan ahead each month and project your monthly expenditure which I haven't found other software focus on (they mainly focus on what you did last month and that's it).
You simply plan your monthly expenditure by category, such as household, food, credit cards, schooling, clothes, fuel, bills, car etc and then as you track your expenditure you can see easily where you are spending more than you should be plus the reporting section allows you to print income versus expenses and builds an instant net worth statement so you can focus on growing it month by month.
This keeps you accountable every month.
If you are in business I highly recommend using Quickbooks which helps you create monthly Profit & Loss statements and a Balance Sheet which is the equivalent of what YNAB does for your personal finances.
One of the best pieces of advice I was given a long time ago when I was in network marketing was to think of yourself as “YOU INC” and run your home, finances and life as if you were a mini corporation.
What you need is a positive cashflow every month, then follow a brilliant money management “system” like T Harv Eker's “jars” system, putting 10% in categories for your Financial Future, Education, Play,Contingency and Long Term Savings Accounts and 50% towards your bills and necessities.
Brilliantly simple but it works!
3. Simplify Your Life!
Every week without fail write a report to yourself (include the family if you can) on exactly how you are progressing with your current 90 / 100 Day Goals.
At the moment I am carrying around a clipboard with me with my To Do Lists printed out each week. [Of course software on your iPhone works fine too, I'm back to using a Filofax organiser too and loving it!]
On my To Do Lists are sub categories for Sales, Marketing, Finances, Website, Product creation etc for my business ventures Contemporary Log Living and the Project Lifestyle Club plusa To Do List for my home / lifestyle / personal goals and a Healthy Eating & Exercise weekly planner to make sure that stays in focus too.
There is a whole chunk of my time each week spent planning ahead which then creates harmony for the whole week. Chaos is the only result when you fail to plan things out, you'll just dabble in a bit of this and a bit of that, start what you feel like doing and end up getting a fraction of what you need to get done finished.
If you want to reach your goals in 2014 you HAVE TO get organised about it or they will just gather dust on top of a pile of other goals you set yourself but failed to turn into a reality.
A confused mind does nothing!
It may seem like a lot of extra work putting in an hour or so each week to plan ahead but I can assure it will pay you back ten times over as you will become far more focused and far more productive when you spend time doing the right things that will take you one step further towards your goals every time you strike a To Do off your list!
To your passive income march success!
A small business coach and entrepreneur specialising in WordPress & Social Media for business whilst continuing to build The Passive Income March via her internet marketing expertise helping people just like you inderstand how to create multiple streams of income using just the internet!