Planning your travel a year in advance? There are MAJOR benefits to yearly calendar planning.
How is this possible? It won’t work for a busy mom like me. I don’t have the time. I am not organized. Last-minute things come up all the time. Are you crazy? All the things you are probably thinking right now. While I can’t promise you that I’m not crazy, I CAN promise you it is possible! It will definitely help to get organized for the year AND be better able to adapt to unexpected things that may come up.
Your family will be more purposeful and intentional in the year. You will no longer look back at the year behind you with a list of things that got lost in the shuffle. It’ll also keep you from forgetting those critical events that can sneak up on you if you are not organized. So join me! Download your planning template. Block off an evening, pull up all of your activity schedules, school calendars, work deadlines, and holidays. Get them on the calendar and enjoy the fruits of your planning AHEAD all year long!
I created a year at a glance planning spreadsheet for myself inspired by Michael Hyatt. I block out each of the items detailed below in a different color. Seeing everything in one place (unlike on a traditional calendar) allows me to ensure that I am not out of balance with too many work commitments in one quarter and all of my vacations in another.
Now let me show you how easy it all is.
See! It is easy. Start marking holidays on your spreadsheet. If you are using my template for 2020, this has already been done for you. Now take your kids’ school calendars and mark off any school vacation weeks.
Add family events that can not be moved. This would be weddings (if you look at the example I provided you can tell this is a BIG part of my 2020) graduations, dance recitals. Make sure it is a color that stands out because these are things that can NOT be moved. If you are still waiting on official announcements for things, I recommend blocking out when you think it will be and italicizing the writing, so you don’t lose track.
Mark any planned vacations or travel. These are things you have already booked.
This is different for everyone, but everyone has a busy time in their business. If you work in health and wellness, taking a vacation at the beginning of January may mean missing out on the New Year business. If you work in Sales or Finance, I know from experience you will need to avoid End of Year/Quarter. I personally do not like to travel in January, which is known as ‘Wave Season’ in my industry or mid-June when Disney usually released their packages. If you consider this BEFORE you book your trip, it will allow you to fully disengage and recharge.
Hopefully, you are looking at a full calendar of pre-planned trips by now. If not, it’s time to get serious about advanced planning. More than half of Americans leave vacation days on the table. I encourage you to get focused and actually take the time you need.
Plan ahead for your desired, fun vacations. These don’t have to be extravagant vacations, it could be as simple as camping! I try to take at LEAST one-week-long, entirely disconnected vacation per year. This is something you will want to book and plan in advance to make the most of your time.
Not sure where you want to go? Or Ready to Book?
I then like to balance out my travel calendar with a few quick trips to serve as a fast recharge after a busy time or before a crazy season. These don’t require as much planning, so I block them and pencil in any destinations I am thinking about and wait for some travel inspiration or a good deal. See you are already on your way to an attractive and balanced annual calendar.
This year my husband and I set the intention to be more mindful about our marriage, and a part of that is regular date nights. With our busy work schedules and a rather young child, we decided monthly is the cadence that will work best for us without adding stress. We blocked those out, so they don’t get lost in the shuffle of meetings and travel. You may have something else that is important to you this year. Maybe it’s a monthly girls night, perhaps you want to miss fewer weekly book clubs. Whatever your goal/intention is for the year, make sure you get it on the calendar. Just my taking that one action, you are already halfway to your goal.
Of course, unexpected opportunities come up… or on the flip side, your kids may be sick for your scheduled date night. That is the beauty of this spreadsheet. It is made to be flexible.
My friends and I used to wait for our get-togethers to plan the next one. So if we missed one, we never organized the next one until months had passed. We now plan them out for the year, so if we miss one, then we are still on track! Being able to see everything in one place also allows you to reschedule without double booking.
I would recommend printing this out and keeping it near your monthly physical calendar. Once you have planned everything out, I also recommend putting it in your digital calendar. My husband and I like google so we can each have separate schedules but have access to view the others.
It may seem like an added step to add it to google. Why didn’t we do it there in the first place? Having everything all in one place where you can see it at one time is the beauty of this! It allows you to look at your year with intention and say no to things that don’t align with your priorities. After a year with this guide, I promise you will thank me!!
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