plan, do, review

by rebecca on October 21, 2012

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I finish more things when I make a plan to do so. Seems so obvious. But even now, I neglect my simple system because I think getting into action mode is more valuable than planning mode.

Without the “plan” step of Plan*Do*Review, I get a lot of things half done and nothing finished. Finishing is my big goal during soulful cleansing.

Plan: Put the Big Rocks in First

Each week I make a plan of my week and email it to a friend. Then I live the week, doing my plan. At the end of the week, I review the week I just lived. She does the same, and I send her a quick email note while channeling my inner cheerleader.

The critical thing for me is to put the Big Rocks on my plan. It might seem silly to you, but I put drinking 2 glasses of water on my “before 11am” list. Staying hydrated staves off a headache and allows me to keep working.

Even though I put it on my list, I’m not really worried that things like “get the blog written,” or “see clients” will get done. What tends to get neglected is “clean off the kitchen island.” So I choose a time slot – typically later in the afternoon when my brain power is firing less – and pair it with another activity like listening to a podcast, which I happen to adore.

Self Care

I put my exercise and hygiene on my list. Working from home, when I go many days speaking to people on the phone, and no one sees me, it can be tempting to neglect tooth brushing. Fortunately/unfortunately my husband is the epitome of unconditionally loving. He loves me whether I look like a trophy wife or a salamander. I need to remember to take care of myself for reasons of my own.

Lay out the Week

First I make a list of everything I want to do in the week. Secondly, I import my sample week document that has all the everyday things (like tooth brushing, island clearing and exercise!). Then I begin to fit this week’s tasks into time slots. It quickly becomes apparent that I’ve over reached. This happens every week.

Consequently, I’m forced to choose. This is good because it begs me to focus on what’s important to me when I am calm and resourceful rather than at my wit’s end and hungry.

In these moments I’ve clearly made decisions to back away from volunteering commitments in favor of making dinner for my family. This, alone, has made me grateful for this system.

The hardest truth I’ve had to face is that I cannot do everything I want to do. But I CAN do everything that matters MOST to me. I simply need the reflection time to see what that is and what choices are putting the squeeze on me.


This simply requires living, checking in regularly with my list and generously awarding myself smiley faces.


This is actually my favorite part now that my friend taught me to focus on what I’ve done well. At first I approached this task to see how I’d failed. When, week after week, she’d seen me take myself to task, she simply asked me to notice how I was moving toward my goals. Viola!

We will find answers to whatever questions we ask. Therefore, be mindful of your questions. I began to ask gentle questions. “How did I show my family I loved them?” or “How did I move forward in my business?” or “How did I continue to establish a rhythm of a less cluttered, more stable home?”

I am convinced that just these questions, week after week, have made an enormous difference in my life.

What questions run through your head when it’s time to wonder about what you do? Do you need a reminder to brush your teeth?

I am taking time to address my mess. It’s part of my 4-step philosophy in Soulful Cleansing. Identify – Notice – Address – Tend.  I’d love to have you join the class.

I am participating in 31-days of Soulful Cleansing. This project is the collaborative brainchild of The Nester. Join her here and see all the other 31-day projects.


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen @ Motherese October 22, 2012 at 7:04 pm

I love your Plan-Do-Review idea, especially the idea of having a typical week’s schedule ready to modify at the beginning of each week. So smart.

And this line, you may not be surprised to hear, resonates deeply with me: “The hardest truth I’ve had to face is that I cannot do everything I want to do. But I CAN do everything that matters MOST to me. I simply need the reflection time to see what that is and what choices are putting the squeeze on me.”

Amen, sister. xo


rebecca October 23, 2012 at 2:31 am

This “sample week” came to me after I noticed that, week after week, I was typing in the same EXACT thing into my computer. I’m a slow learner. But I DO learn.

Yes, time to reflect is the golden key for all of us I believe. Given Steven Covey’s sweet Big Rock demonstration, I know I’m not the only one who struggles to come back to this!


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