Life planning is an important tool for linking your long-term goals and values to everyday actions. A vision is worthless if it is not realized step by step through short-term actions.
That's why the goal of my life planning is not to create a master plan for the next years or decades. That would not be possible anyway, because everything will change and the future is not fixed. Instead, I want to design a guideline for myself that I can orient myself by.
My life plan is more of a life guide that should point me in the right direction. It also consists of various components:
These standards form the enclosing framework for my life. Like a constitution, all other goals and actions are guided (as best as possible) by these values.
I have already written in more detail about my life vows in another article.
My life vision describes a rough plan for the next five to ten years. I didn't write down many goals there, but rather noted long-term plans, such as completing crisis management training. I also wrote down several career directions that interest me and that I want to try.
This part of the planning is mainly about me setting a rough outline for the next few years. A vision is not yet about precise planning, but rather an idea of what I want to accomplish.
My one-year plan takes on the function of concrete planning. This planning builds on my life vision and links the general goals to the organization of their implementation. For example, in one year I might resolve to complete crisis management training, and because of that, create a new project with next steps. Then I plan to implement those steps within a year – and end up with a goal of my life vision achieved.
Not everything can be implemented in a year, but each goal can be broken down to a part that can be completed within 365 days. A year is long enough to not be stressed, but at the same time short enough that you can plan relatively reliably.
Daily Tasks and Reminders
This part of the system is my daily operating system. I have a calendar for my appointments and a to-do list for my tasks.
In my article “Planning the Day,” I described in more detail how I plan my days and weeks.
Diary and Life Milestones
I keep a daily diary and summarize it weekly in a weekly summary. This helps me learn the lessons of my past, process what I've experienced, and remember my life better.
My life milestones are the most defining moments of my life. I also record my daily highlights and contacts so I can remember them later.
I recommend everyone to keep a diary because it's the only way to get in touch with yourself. If you are interested in how I keep diary, you can download my Markdown templates on my website.
These were the components of my life planning. They are interdependent, meaning they depend on and influence each other. Of course, “real” life is much more stressful, complex and flexible than this planning. That's why I keep revising it and adapting it to new circumstances.
How do you plan your life? Even if you don't officially have a life plan, deep inside you know your goals, desires and visions for the future. You just have to write them down and take the first steps to take the future into your own hands. Today can be the first day of the future!