"What to Do" Worksheets
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Introduction to the Planning Templates—“Being the Author”
“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
– Dwight D. Eisnehower, Supreme Commander of all Allied Forces in WWII and President of the United States
There are two types of planning templates here – a simple one and a more complex one. Use whichever makes most sense to you now. A plan should simply help you organize your thinking about the goals you want to pursue and what you will do to be successful. Use whatever template works – and feel free to customize them if you like.
- This is for me
- This is about me being the author and creating my life
- This is to guide me in reflecting on my life and what I can do
- This is just a set of boxes into which I can dump my thoughts as they come to me, so that I don’t lose them – I can collect those thoughts and order/connect them as I want – and when I want.
- This is not about “completing” a task/plan
- This is not about complying with adult expectations
Danger—this can look intimidating and cause a “This is too much—run away"
Keep it simple—it’s a structure for reflecting on how you want to be the author of your life. Don ‘t fill in all the boxes – it’s just a map and structure for you to review and choose where to put your attention and energy. What will make the biggest difference for you—now?
Be curious and focus where your interests lie. What parts speak to you? What sections are you drawn to? Pay attention to those.
Do this with a friend(s) or group. It just works much better.
If it seems like too much work at some point or something you “have to do”, then back off.
It should be a living document and it may take some time to create – and it will evolve with experience. It’s not something to just check off a list of “to do’s.” Plans emerge from thought and the evolve with experience.
Warning—These are boring documents in how they are laid out—very corporate and unimaginative. Feel free to change them to fit you and your style. The headings and topics are accurate (although you may add some in that regard also), but the more the documents look like you, the better.
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.”
– Alan Lakein, Author of How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life
The Planning Templates
There is a planning template for each of the three central challenges and for managing the journey. There are suggested headings for your goals and interim goals for each, but those can be changed as you see fit. Each template is in word format, so that it will expand as needed as well as in PDF format.
There is also a very simple template that looks at the three-five things you would like to make happen in the next six months.
Goals—Desirable and Realistic
Goals are commitments. Goals should be both desirable and realistic, although you can push the boundaries of realism quite a bit. Being desirable doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be a lot of fun to achieve, but your goals should be desirable in terms of helping to create the life you want.
For example, if you have a goal of getting a 3.6GPA next semester because it will help you become a better thinker and position you to get into a college you want to go to, you might have to work harder, give up some free time at night or on weekends, or miss out on some social activities.
Or, if you want to develop the characteristics and skills required to be a good friend, you might have to try new behaviors that will seem awkward at first or take some risks in forming new relationships.
So, the goals should be your goals—goals that are desirable to you.
Defining a goal
Keep it simple. A goal can be to create something, achieve something, overcome something, stop doing something, etc. You can use a beginning phrase, such as “I will…” if that is useful. “I will create/overcome/achieve…” However you define your goal it should sound like you.
Your goal should be stated in a way that it will be clear if you have achieved it. For example, if your goal is “I will achieve a 3.6 GPA this semester”, then it will be clear if you were successful.
However, if you have a goal such as “I will be a better friend to Pete and Emma Kate and Sabrina”, then you need a little voice that says, “How will I know I’ve been a better friend?” You could simply commit to asking them how you have been a better friend or you could choose 3-4 characteristics of a good friend and ask them how you have shown those characteristics. The key is to simply have a way of knowing whether you hit your goal or not. Keep it simple.
For some goals that are longer term or complex, it can be useful to have interim goals – steps along the way that show progress and can be celebrated when Who is going to support you in your quest to achieve your goal? Individuals, organizations, teams/clubs? You can also indicate how you are going to get the support—ask for support, pursue a common goal with others, be part of a team or club or class, etc.
When are you going to begin your pursuit of the goal and when do you expect to achieve the goal (or interim goal)? The timeframe is important because you don’t want to overwhelm yourself by trying to achieve too many goals at the same time.
For example, you might have ten goals and decide to start pursuing four of them now and start three more in a few months and the last three a few months after that.
On the other hand, having a target date for completion can add some energy to the process. Target dates sometimes have to slip for good reasons, but extending a date should be a conscious choice.
This is just a section for any notes you want to make about a goal or interim goal.
Click any of the links below to download.
The Simple Planning Template:
The More Complex Planning Template: