By Ina Muntean-Bors

What are the very first words that come into your mind when I ask you to think about planning ahead? Are you thinking about lengthy to-do lists, complicated strategies, vision boards of some kind? Don’t worry, I’m not going to check. I just want to stimulate your mind, for you to understand your own position on this word combo.

As a real sucker for planning ahead and being an organizational freak my whole life, I’ve evolved from believing that planning consists of endless but productivity-inducing to-do lists to learning that it is actually about strategizing and going with the flow most of the time. In other words, planning ahead is pretty much like looking into your fridge before going to the grocery store to know exactly what you need to buy for the week to come.

And so, in light of the countless duties and events happening in our lives on a daily basis, I have some “tricks” up my sleeve that I want to share with you to hopefully help you navigate through everyday life with ease.


  1. Adjust Your To-Do List.

Aaahhhh, our dearly beloved to-do lists! I’m afraid this trend transformed us more into panicky squeaky squirrels that run around all day long and waste time doing the most tasks we can from our list and pushing ourselves into despair if we don’t.

To avoid becoming overwhelmed and frustrated, allow me to give you some steps that can drastically improve your days:


  • Prioritize – write down everything you want to accomplish today/this week and categorize by what is really important and what can wait. Put aside the Wait-List and forget about it and concentrate on the Important-List. From the Important-List, start with the tasks that you know are truly-truly important and impactful to you. In the end, you might get the beautiful surprise of discovering that a part of your Wait-List has sorted itself out somehow!
  • “Do what you can do in joy, instead of trying to do it all in misery.” – Jen Sincero, author of You Are A Badass.
  • Shorten your list – every day, make an effort to look at your list from a critical point of view and exclude all the tasks that you know are secondary. The less you have on your list the more you’ll be willing and happy to accomplish your tasks. Keep it simple (about 3 tasks per day) and you’ll have more time to do what will really benefit you in life.


  1. Delegate Your Tasks!

 Aham, there’s nothing better than having a part of your workload handed to someone else. We are so used to doing everything ourselves that we have a hard time giving up on our loads. To stop being control freaks and avoid burnout, I highly recommend sharing some of your tasks with your hubby, boyfriend, partner, siblings or parents. Don’t overthink it, just ask for help when you need it! Don’t try to conquer the world by doing every little thing all by yourself (perfectionists and caregivers – my eyes are on you right now!) Just get other people involved. Period.

Doing this, you’ll learn:

  • How to be bossy (in a good way!)
  • How to eliminate some of the tasks you hate.
  • How to free up a whole lot of time to do other things you have planned for. 😊


  1. Embrace the chaos in your life – AKA be flexible.

 Adults, especially those who have children, know that every day brings new challenges, new phases, unpredictable situations, and a lot of thoughts like, “I don’t know if I can do it anymore,” and, “this is insane.” A real-life example would be me trying to write this exact blog post. I wanted to submit it a week ago, but – like Cinderella – right on the day when I sat down to start writing it, I got kicked by life with one problem after another, involving myself and my entire family. Five days later things calmed down, and so here I am, giving you advice.

Now, my first and biggest advice here is to not have expectations from life! Unfortunately, our days don’t cater to us entirely, and there is no guarantee that if you start your day nice and easy it will end just as breezily, with a glass of champagne in your hands. Therefore, keep your focus on your end goal, take the craziness of the day as something normal, and remember that tomorrow is another day. The situation may change completely. Like 180 degrees completely.

In other words: Give flexibility, well… flexibility.



  1. Have more than one plan at hand.

My husband will roll his eyes when he reads this, but I’ve been telling him and everyone I know in my life that to create a win-win situation, you need to have Plans A-B-C-Z established all at once. What I mean by this is simply thinking of “What is the worst-case outcome if…?” in a certain situation and having several answers to this question before deploying the whole plan. Pretty much like a cause-and-effect strategy. And trust me, it’s not as complicated as it sounds.

One example could be: “What do I do in the worst-case scenario: If I don’t have enough time to study for one of my exams?”

  • I am taking 2 courses this semester that take x amount of time during the week, and I spend time to study mostly on weekends. If my weekends are filled with other extracurricular activities – I need to change my plan and study during the week.
  • During the week I am busy with x activities. However, if I have a commute to work of 30-40 minutes –> I can use this time, back and forth, to study for class and my exam.
  • Every night I put my daughter to bed and spend 45 minutes doing that. If husband has this time free –> I can ask hubby to put daughter to bed 3 times a week and spend that time studying.
  • If one week things get crazy and I can’t study in the evening –> I can ask my sister a couple of days in advance to look after my daughter while my husband takes care of the house and chores. This gives me some study time for myself!

Just like that, I have 4 options to choose from. I am able to switch from one plan to another, depending on the week and my family’s dynamics.

In the end, no matter how much you have to plan for in life, don’t forget that you’re only a human being – a very SUPER human-being – so take breaks as often as possible. Pamper yourself, accept those great invitations coming your way, eat whatever you want, take short weekend road trips, kiss your beloved ones very often, book those spa/yoga/fitness sessions, sleep as much as possible; just anything you love and brings you PURE joy. If you have too much to do, it doesn’t mean that you should forget about yourself, your body and soul!

So, today, make a small plan for your life, and rock on. Because you’re already a Star!


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