EP13 Simple and Effective Daily Planning

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“Begin with the end in mind.” - Stephen Covey

In this episode I dive into the exact planning methods that I use daily, weekly, monthly and annually.  This is a system that I have tweaked over the last 20 years, taking all of the “best practices” and simplifying them, to make one simple yet effective way to proactively live my life.

In this episode I share my tips for simple and effective daily planning. Here are some highlights!


  • Keith’s system for planning starting with a year, down to quarterly, monthly and daily. [01:40]
  • Keith’s two main resources for planning [03:20]
  • How planning starts with assessing your priorities [03:55]
  • Starting with what you want to accomplish in the upcoming year [09:10]
  • The importance of identifying the different roles that you have in your life before jumping into monthly planning [11:58]
  • Setting role-specific goals [13:22]
  • The amount of time planning should take each month [17:54]
  • How to set up weekly goals related to all of the roles in your life [20:54]
  • Why planning your week on Tuesdays instead of Sundays might work for you [22:27]
  • The power of scheduling your tasks [24:39]
  • How to stay committed to what you schedule [26:07]
  • Breaking your day into chunks of time to improve your productivity [30:34]

Show Transcript

You’re listening to The Business of Life podcast. Practical advice for creating the life you love to live. Here’s your host, Keith Callahan.

KC: Alright. Hello there everybody. Keith here and welcome to Episode number 13 of the Business of Life. So, I had to say, I’m really enjoying recording this podcast. I wish I didn’t have everything else to do for work and could just do this because I really do. I enjoy sitting down. I enjoy talking into the mic and sharing. And so, today’s episode is about, really about planning and about planning out your days, your weeks, your months and your year. And, the reason I, you know, I like going down and I like planning out these calls because it really, it brings me back to just reminding me and helping me to refine what it is that I’m doing in my life, the ultimate way to learn something is to then teach it. So, it really takes the use of the principles that I’m teaching and instills them deeper within me. So, today we’re going to go through it. I’m going to share with you a system that I use for planning. I start with the year then down to the month then the week and then the day. And, just so you know, this is a system that I have gone through and I’ve spent the last 20 years putting together, the last 20 years creating. So, take what you want from it, take the information and use it as you see fit.


I’m going to start by saying that I am a pen to paper type guy. I like to keep it super simple. Alright, so before we dive in on the nitty-gritty, I just wanted to let you know that as we go through this I’m going to be talking about a document that I use, my weekly planner, and I actually made that available to you can download it and take a look at it. You can use it. It is an editable Excel document. It’s a document that I use every single week. So, in order to get that, it’s super simple, just send a text message to 38470 and then in that message, type in the word PLANNING, so P-L-A-N-N-I-N-G, 38470, just send a text message and type in planning and we’ll make sure you get a copy of the weekly planner that I use. And, just so you know, it is nothing elaborate. The 2 books or the 2 methods that I really researched and really studied are David Allen. David Allen has the book, Getting Things Done, and he has the system, GTD. So, part of this is incorporating his principles, his philosophies. And then, also Stephen Covey, if you research Stephen Covey and the book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. So, those are 2 books you can check out. I think they’re the best and what they do is they really have different philosophies. It’s not just about time management. It’s about making sure that you’re putting your priorities first and you’re getting clear on your priorities.


Another quick note, so one of the things that I’m going to talk about in here is getting clear on your priorities, on what it is that you want to do with your life, on how you want your year to look. So, I’m going to refer to Episode 2 of the Business of Life, so episode 2 of this podcast. If you haven’t listened to that, you can go back and listen. In that episode, I outlined exactly what I do, have done, continue to do on a yearly basis to get clear on really what it is that I want to accomplish.


So, let’s go ahead. We will start with the yearly planning. And again, I’m going to say, if you haven’t listened to Episode 2, go check that out. Go through that process and what the process really is, in a nutshell is helping you to identify what it really is that you want to accomplish in life, what it is that you want to accomplish, maybe it’s this year and the next year and the next 5 years. And, let me give you an example of that. So, why do we really want to identify what we want the year to look like? So, in this yearly planning, you’re really looking to do 2 things. You’re looking to A, get clear on what I call a vision statement or a mission statement and that’s deeper than just the year. That’s who you want to be as a person. And then, you want to get clear on like what are the big things that you want to accomplish for the year.


So, let me just share with you how this worked for me this year. So, over the past couple of years, we’ve had major change in our life. So, we, literally in the last year, we bought a house. We started this new podcast. So, we have this podcast going and the house we bought was built in the 1890s and it’s in immaculate shape. But it’s an older house, right, so just taking that on as a project. We have 3 kids under 5. We have a fourth one on the way. So, super busy life, crazy stuff going on and when my wife, Amy, and I, we actually come together as a couple and we pray about like for the year, like how do we want the year to look, what are we focusing on, like and it’s so important to do this. This is you anchor. This is what is going to help you with all of your decisions. So, in this yearly planning, we’re like, alright, this next year and it’s probably going to be like for 2 or 3 years is all about stabilization. So, it’s all about the 2 of us coming together and stabilizing what we’re doing in life, so stabilizing our finances. We have shelled out so much money over the last couple of years. Just with all the changed that’s happen, with everything that we’ve been doing and not that we’re not in a good financial situation but there’s been a lot of spending. So, it’s like, “Alright, let’s pay off the house. Let’s, you know, live with zero debt again. So, stabilizing that, with our children, like really anchoring in the new home, stabilizing that, with the relationship between the 2 of us, like stabilizing that, making that deeper. You know, we’ve had so much going on that we want to get back to keeping it simple, get back to that one-on-one time together. So, kind of get the point, like the theme, the message is stabilizing.


So, anyways, I have this huge passion for real estate and I want to start getting back into real estate with the investments that we do and there was a great, great opportunity that came up. It’s literally like 2 streets over from the new house that we just bought. It’s a 5-family property and one of the important things in real estate is the cash flow. The cash flow is really well, like it’s an ideal property, an ideal situation and I got really excited about it. I went over. I looked at it and we can afford it, you know, we got to put a down payment on it and stuff. Like, we can afford to do all of that. And, Amy and I were talking about it and what we did is we went back to what we were focused on for the year and the focus is stabilization and even though we can rationalize, “Well, it’s not going to cost us any extra money.” It’s not going to, like it makes sense on paper. It makes sense all over. But, the one place that it doesn’t make sense is ‘what are we focused on this year’. We’re focused on stabilizing what we have. So, if we go and buy this property now, it’s this whole new thing that comes in, right. We’ve got to set up the management for it. We’ve got to, you know, it’s got to be cleaned out, like all this stuff that has to be done and it doesn’t align with what we’re focused on right now, right, so it doesn’t align with stabilization. So, I want to really leave the yearly planning at that. The yearly planning is focused on like really who you want to become, what you want to get accomplished in that year and the best way to do that, listen to Episode 2, focus on that one piece. You know, it’s really about grand scheme, whole life and then really narrowing it down to the year. So, that is the annual planning that we do or that I do and usually I’ll, you know, I’ll do this a little bit with Amy but I will take an entire day that I set aside to really focusing on what I want to get accomplished for that upcoming year.


So, I want to jump now to the monthly and this is where it really comes together. Take the time and do the yearly piece and then after you’ve done that, what I want you to do is identify the different roles that you have in your life. For me, this is broken down into one role I call Husband-Father. That’s a role for me of being there and being present with my wife and being present with the kids. So, within that role would be things like setting time aside to go on a date with my wife, setting time aside to have one-on-one time with the kids, setting time aside if the kids have an activity that they’re part of and they’re going to be doing something. So, that family piece, so I call that Husband-Father. Another role that I have is what I call Homeowner and with homeowner that is just, that’s all the stuff that has to be done with the house, right? That is the mowing of the lawns. That is the house needs to be painted. Well, you know whatever it is that you have to for the house. So, I have that role called Homeowner. I have this role I call Moneyman or I call it ‘duh’ Moneyman. And, for me, this role is about, that I’m the provider for my family. So, I’m the financial provider for my family and it’s not really about business, it’s more about how much money are we spending, how much money do we have coming in, you know, getting the personal finances and the business finances in order. So, that’s another role that I have. And, another role is Podcaster. So, a new role that I just brought into my life is Podcaster and that’s everything to do with podcasting. And then, another role right now for me is Beachbody. So, I have these different roles and, you know, these are roles that sometimes can change, right? And, oh, one other role that I do have in there is relationships and that is just with my extended family, with friends, with whomever. Another one that I want to mention, just to keep this real simple is I have this one called personal development. So, within the personal development one that is my health and fitness, that is my nutrition, that is just all these different things that I’m doing in my life, that is as a sun dancer and on the spiritual path that I follow.


So, I have all these roles, right, and think about with your life, like what are the different roles that you carry? What are the different things that are important to you in your life that you want to push forward? So, all of those pieces, those are important things. That’s where I want my focus to be in my life. Because, when I’m focused on my family, when I’m focused on the right things in my business, when I’m focused on the right things for me as a human being, that’s going to give me the clarity, the drive, the focus to really get the big things done. And, I’m going to go into the exact ‘how’, like ‘how do we do this planning’ but from a big picture stand point, what this is doing, when you identify these roles and then we’re going to talk about setting goals to them. But, when we identify these roles and then when we set goals to these specific roles, a lot of rolling Ss there. So, when we do that, we’re able to focus and we’re able to put first things first and not let all the little busy work that really isn’t that important get in our way. Alright, so now, so think about it. Like, what are the important roles in your life? So now, once you have that, I want to jump in to how I do my monthly planning.


So, my monthly planning takes maybe an hour or maybe 2 at the very most but what I’m doing is I’m revisiting that mission statement, that vision statement that I set for myself in the beginning of the year. Like, what is it that I want to focus on. So, right now, I go back and I say, “Okay, stabilization, like that’s the focus on the year.” I have to remember, when I’m planning on my month like that’s the most important thing, right? And then, what I do is I go through and I focus on each one of my roles and I identify 2 to 3 goals that I want to accomplish that month. So, if I’m talking about personal development, like right now, something that some of you may or may not know what, I’m struggling with Lyme disease. I’ve had it for a while and my focus this month is I’ve got this, a few different things that I’m focused on to help myself with the healing of that and I don’t want to get into all the details of it but the Lyme has, in dealing with that, has risen to the top. So, the things that I’m doing to take care of myself, to develop myself, to go through, it’s sort of a little different than it usually is because I have to deal with this. So, I’m focused in on the health aspect of that. And then, you know, with the husband-father piece, we’re having our fourth baby right now, so one of the things that I’m really focused in on and this is overlapping with the homeowner piece is I’m focused in on we have some work getting done to the house and I want to get it done over the next 2 months. So, it’s really, it’s really honing in on that because again the theme of stabilizing is like that’s the underlying theme for the year. So, okay, let’s get the work done for the house so when the baby comes in, like there’s nothing else going on.


So, I go through each of my roles and then I identify specific goals for that. So, with the husband-father and also the homeowner one, that has the goal of getting a clear picture of all the work that has to be done with our interior designer and then lining up all the contractors. And then, I have a list of each of the contractors. Like, that is my big goal, that’s the push goal because that’s what’s most important right now. And then, for the personal development piece, I had to get a doctor and identify a path that we’re going to follow. I’m also going to be doing one of the previous guys that we interviewed, Darin Olien, he has his book and he also a program called the Ultimate Reset. So, I’m either going to do one of those 2 things, so he has a diet plan in the book that’s 10 days and then he has the Ultimate Reset that’s 21 days in there, they’re sort of a diet to put you at optimal health and I’ve done the Ultimate Reset before. So, I’m identifying one of those things that I’m going to do. So, finding a doctor, doing that diet and then the third thing right now with personal development, I’m doing this Wim Hof course. So, those are the goals.


So again, I have a clear understanding of the roles and you have a clear understanding of how to identify the goals that are associated with those roles.



KC: Okay, before continuing I want to quickly let you know about our sister podcast, All About Beachbody Coaching. So, partnering with Beachbody, the makers of P90X, Insanity, the 21 Day Fix, Shakeology, you know, the Shaun T/Tony Horton Company. It’s played a huge role for Amy and I in creating the freedom to do what we want, when we want with who we want and not only has it helped us to achieve our goals, it’s how I’ve mentored hundreds of others just like you to achieving their goals and ultimately living the life they love to live. So, if you’d like to learn more about how you can partner with me and be mentored one on one by me for free, check out the All About Beachbody Coaching podcast. Alright, back to today’s episode.



KC: For the monthly planning, so the way that I do it is again, I spend 1 to 2 hours but I usually start out with getting into a deep prayer space. So, I’ll spend anywhere from 10 minutes to a half hour, just getting into a prayer space and connecting with that higher self, connecting with, you know, letting the mind quiet down, letting the chatter go away and oh, also this is usually or I shouldn’t say usually, like 90% of the time unless something’s going on, I’m traveling or something, I do this the last Sunday of the previous month. So, the last Sunday, say that I’m going to be planning out August, the last Sunday in July is when I’ll sit and do this. Alright, so the flow of the day, it starts with getting the clarity, getting in prayer, getting in that space then revisiting that mission statement, that vision statement then going through each one of those roles and really saying, “Okay, like what is the most important thing or things that I can accomplish in this upcoming month to really focus on that stabilization, to focus on moving things forward.”


Alright, now we’re going to get into the weekly planning and this is where you want to make sure you have that document download. So again, if you didn’t download it yet, send a text to 38470 and include the word PLANNING and that’ll get you the document. So, what I do hear is now I have my monthly goals that I’m looking to do. So, I have those identified and on the left hand side we have roles then it has weekly goals, right, so the roles are exactly that, the roles that we identified. And then, I have weekly goals and this is just, the weekly goals are things that I want to get accomplished in the week to push myself towards those bigger monthly goals. So, like the piece of finding the right doctor and finding the plan, so that would go underneath the role of personal development and then the goals. The goals think of them sort of as a combination of goals/tasks but they’re the important things. So, the goal would be there was 3 doctors that I wanted to talk to and interview. So, setting up appointments to talk to those 3 doctors and the next goal is there was 2 books that I wanted to read, so buying those 2 books. So, you kind of get the idea of those goals and even deeper than buying the 2 books, like reading the books or skimming through them to get a good idea of them.


So we have our roles then we have our goals, right, and you want to do that for each of them. So, go through the roles, go through the goals and I’m doing this on, I used to do this on Sunday nights, I actually changed this. I do it on Tuesday mornings now and I’ll just give you a little reason why I do that. I used to do it on Sunday nights when work was the most important thing in my life. So, prior to kids, prior to being married, I was just like “I couldn’t wait to get back to work.” And now, on Sundays, I’ll be honest with you, like looking at this stuff is the last that I want to do. So, I decided to try it on Mondays and I pushed it back to Tuesdays and here’s the reason why. I feel like Mondays are just a cleanup day, like we go through, we’ve got, I’m touching base with the people that I’m working with, we’re pushing things forward, we’re cleaning up things from over the last week and I just don’t have a clear mind, as clearer mind but on Tuesday I focus on planning out the week. So, first thing Tuesday morning and I usually do it right after exercise, so an awesome time to plan, you’re going to be clear, you’re going to have a good focus. So, on Tuesday morning, I sit down and I plan and I use this. Just go through and I look back at again the month, the goals for the month and write down the roles. And then, I start chunking off things that I can do this week to push those all forward.


And then, after you have those goals or those tasks identified on the left-hand side, you want to schedule them out for the week. So, exactly how I do it, I write them down on the left and then I write them down on the right-hand side. And, there’re 2 things on the right-hand side, you’ve got your times and then above the times, so like if you look under Monday, it’s got those 5 lines, Tuesday has those 5 lines. Those are things that are not scheduled. So, there maybe things that are scheduled that I want to do at a very specific time. And then, there’re other things that I want to just get done during that day. And, here’s what I would tell you, the more you can schedule on the calendar at a specific time the better. So, if you can schedule it at a specific time, I think it’s better because you set an appointment with yourself. And, I’ve noticed that things that I put just under Monday but not scheduled time for Monday, often times they don’t get done and they get pushed to the next day. So, one note to really go through here and, or a couple of notes, think about your scheduled stuff as it’s non-negotiable. It is going to get done. You have scheduled time for that. And then, the list of stuff, so in those 5 spots, that’s your tasks, your things to fill in the space around the big things and that’s the most important part about this system, about scheduling this way is you’re thinking all the way out from a yearly to monthly and then down to a weekly. You’re focused in on those things that are most important in your life and you’re scheduling time to do it. And then, the little stuff, the annoying stuff, that stuff that comes up throughout your day, that’s going on like your task list, that’s those 5 spaces but that doesn’t take precedence over the things that are on your schedule.


And, I want to tell you a couple of things that I’ve learned and that have happened to me that you really want to watch out for. So, you have an appointment with somebody and the most important thing is if it goes on your appointment book, you should treat it as non-negotiable. So, let’s say that from 9 to 10, I have an appointment with myself to contact 3 doctors. And then, I have something that comes up and I have, you know, this great opportunity or someone just e-mailed me about a podcast and they want to jump on it and they want to chat about it right now and they want to be on my show and it’s like the best person I could ever interview right? I’m not going to do it during that time because I have a commitment to myself and the most important thing is talking to those doctors. But, in the moment we get excited right? Like, the talking to the doctors isn’t going to help me today. It’s not going to help me tomorrow. Like, it’s a long term thing and most of the things you’re going to put on your calendar are long term things. They’re going to give you that overall long term happiness in your life. Be very, very, very diligent about when something gets put on that calendar, it’s an appointment even if it’s with yourself, those are the most important appointments.


Because subconsciously, when you break that appointment, just like if you have an appointment on here with your wife or your husband, you know, if I have an appointment on here with my wife and it’s 6 o’clock and we have a dinner and something comes up with work that seems urgent, seems important and it probably is in the moment and I say to Amy that “Oh, we’re not going to be able to go out tonight.” It’s not really a big deal right, like you had to cancel that. But, what just happened is I told her this other thing is more important than she is. And, when you do it to yourself, when you have an appointment with yourself and this other thing pops up, that’s more important to you than you are. So, really understand that when something goes on that calendar, that takes top priority. It’s kind of like, you know, so again, I work with Beachbody and we have these programs, right and the program’s outlined from start to finish and you have a workout each day and that, one of the reasons I love, love our programs is because I don’t have to think about it that when I’m committed to a program from start to finish, that’s my workout for the day. It’s non-negotiable. And, they’ll be times right that I could think about doing a different workout or maybe I feel like going for a run or something like that but it’s a slippery slope, right? If you commit to it, so when it’s on your calendar, going back to your calendar now, if it’s on there, commit to it. That’s a commitment that you made. The one note that I’ll say on top of that is this is a 90% of the time thing. So, if you have an appointment to call, you know, I’ve got the appointment to call 3 doctors and then my wife calls me and says that something happened to one of my kids and she needs to take them to the hospital because they’re, you know, they broke their arm or whatever and I have to watch the other 2, I don’t say to my wife, “Well, I’ve got a commitment here. I got to call these 3 doctors.” And, you laugh but some people will do that. So, that’s it. That’s the weekly planning in a nutshell.


And again, some of this may seem like a lot but it really, it’s super simple. I simplified this because I like to keep things simple. If it’s not simple, I won’t do it. And then, how do you do the daily part? So, you schedule your week out and then you just adjust like through the day, like through your week, every morning for about 10 minutes I will just go through, and again I do it after my workout because it’s the time that I’m the clearest. I’ll go through and I’ll just identify or I’ll go through in my mind the week. And again, I’m just, I’m coming back to that week. I’m coming back to what I want to accomplish. I’m coming back to the big picture and making sure those big picture things stay in the forefront. And then, those little unimportant nagging urgent things, like returning the e-mail, you know, the different things that they really don’t mean a lot over in the big picture but today they seem like it’s a lot, those are the things that I do after. One other thing with my weekly planning that I just want to quickly note is I like to focus and schedule the morning activities. So, I break my work day into like 2 to 3-hour chunks. So, it’s two 2 to 3-hour chunks. One is like right after I workout there’s a 2 to 3-hour chunk, that’s when I, so I’m recording this podcast episode in that chunk. And then, another one is after wards and I focus the high energy, high thought, like I get to be on my game for the morning stuff and then in the afternoon, it’s returning e-mails, it’s you know getting back to a few people, it’s running the errands, it’s sending out, you know, I got to mail out a few things, like the less intense mind stuff.


So, I hope that makes sense. I hope that this episode was helpful for you. The easiest way to grab the show notes for this is just jump over to KeithCallahan.com/episode13 or you could, again if you send that text message to 38470 and you include the word, geez for got the word, PLANNING, 38470 include the word PLANNING. We will get that over to you, the document that I use. And, one other quick note. I always like to mention this. If you’re listening, if you’re curious, ‘what is it that you do’, like “How do you get paid, Keith? What is it that you do? How does your mentorship program work?” That is actually with Beachbody. So, Beachbody is the majority of our income and we run our mentorship program through it. I would love to talk with you. I’d love for you to learn a little bit more about it. If you don’t know about it, I’m always looking to help those people that are looking to make changes in their life. So, I put together a separate podcast for that. It’s called All About Beachbody Coaching. If you just search within your podcast app, All About Beachbody Coaching, that’ll pop up and yeah, it’s a really cool podcast and it really gives you, even if Beachbody and working with me isn’t something that you’re interested in, it helps you to understand the types of businesses that you want to be looking at, the power of passive income. So, so much good stuff over there. It’s 11 short episodes. Check it out.


Alright, you guys, it has been an honor to be able to be here once again. I enjoyed today’s episode and looking forward to sharing with you again next time. Have a beautiful day.


Thank you for listening to The Business of Life podcast. Apply what you learned today and you’ll be one step closer to creating the life you love to live.



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