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Are you ready to ditch stress once and for all? Start by trying out these 11 effective planning hacks that are HSP-friendly!

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Estimated reading time: 13 minutes

Most highly sensitive people sooner or later experience stress and overwhelm in their lives. Work, family obligations, maintaining friendships, taking care of your household, and still making time to recharge truly take their toll on your mental and physical well-being when not carefully balanced out.

Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of how to plan your week so you can live a stress-free and happy life as a highly sensitive person.

I know what I’m talking about; when I almost fell into a burnout 4 years ago, my body clearly signaled that something needs to change. Hence, I went on a discovery journey to find the most effective planning hacks for my well-being.

In this article, I share 11 of the most powerful planning hacks I’ve discovered in my search for the best solutions. From being mindful of how you schedule your week to practical productivity hacks – in this article I’ll cover the best planning tools for highly sensitive people.

Why Planning Is Important In Life

Before diving into the most effective planning hacks out there, you may want to know why it is important to plan. After all, the new age spirituality movement tells you to live as much as possible in the here and now.

It is true that being able to bring your attention back to the here and now has its benefits. However, you may still have certain obligations in life such as work, social activities, or planning important life events like a birthday party or wedding.

Not having a clear overview of these to-do’s can cause you serious stress. Moreover, having to remember everything you need to do can be quite overwhelming for a highly sensitive person.

Therefore, it is crucial to have a system in place that works for you. Creating a plan for your daily life does not necessarily have to stop you from living in the here and now. Ultimately, it actually brings you even more into the here and now, because you don’t have to stress about remembering everything you need to do.

In this article, you’ll discover powerful planning hacks for highly sensitive people. However, I encourage you to find out what works best for you. Everybody has different needs when it comes to daily planning.

11 Effective Planning Hacks For A Stress-Free Life

Here are 11 effective planning hacks that you may want to try out in order to find your perfect planning routine:

#1 Plan With Purpose

Planning with purpose is my first secret to creating a stress-free life as a highly sensitive person. After all, you don’t want to waste your time on a bunch of activities you strongly dislike.

Being conscious about what you schedule in your week planner is the first step towards living more peacefully and happily. Carefully thinking about your values and needs helps you to identify what you say yes to and where a boundary should be said.

For instance, if one of your core values is to help others, you may feel happy with scheduling moments throughout the month to do so. On the other hand, if focusing more on self-love is one of your main needs right now, you should watch out for over-scheduling yourself.

By planning with purpose, you create a plan that works for you instead of against you. If you aren’t quite sure about where to start, here are some questions to help you in the process:

  • What feelings arise in you when looking at the tasks and obligations from the past month?
  • How do you want to feel when looking at your schedule?
  • Looking back at your schedule in the past month: which tasks and obligations did you enjoy and which did you dislike?
  • What is something you’ve always wanted to do, but never taken the time for?

Use the insights from your answers to determine your desires and boundaries for future scheduling of tasks and appointments.

#2 Use A Planning Tool To Organize Your Life

Another effective planning hack that I highly recommend is using a good planning tool. I know that there are a bunch of great planning tools out there. However, I recommend you to not use more than 2. One for scheduling appointments and one for scheduling tasks and projects.

Ideally, you use tools that you can synchronize with each other. As a result, you always have a clear overview of everything going on throughout the day.

For instance, I use the free task tool Asana to keep track of my own to-do’s and projects. Also, I use this tool to manage my team of volunteers and interns.

Having everything in one place helps me to have a clear overview of everything going on in my life right now. Also, it significantly reduces the overwhelm I experienced from not having a clear structure for my daily tasks and appointments.

Additionally, I use Google Agenda to schedule all my appointments and get-togethers. What I love about this tool, is that I immediately can add a video conference link to the invitations. As a result, scheduling video calls with friends or business relations is super easy!

Finally, I highly recommend you to synchronize your planning tools. With Asana and Google Agenda you can synchronize everything going on in your life. This way, you really do have it all in one place. Bye-bye, overwhelm!

#3 Set Clear Goals

Do you have a system in place and are you aware of what you want to focus your attention and energy on moving forward? Then it’s time to start setting goals.

For that, I highly recommend you to organize your own goal-setting session. This is a creative moment where you take the time to put your dreams into concrete goals.

Here’s an outline of what this session could look like:

  • Start with envisioning: Before setting goals, I encourage you to envision your ideal future. Think about what you would be doing on a daily basis, whom you’d spend your time with, and how you want to feel. Ideally, create a little vision board where you express your thoughts and ideas physically.
  • Think backward: Once you finished your vision board, think backward. What steps would your ideal future self set in order to get where they are? Try to think as far as back to the present moment and be as specific as possible. Sometimes, thinking backward helps you to know what you can do in the present moment to get where you want to be. Whether it is purchasing an online course to learn a specific goal needed to get further, or contacting somebody with a specific skill who can help you to get to where you want to be – it is important to know where to start. Doing this exercise helps you figuring that out.
  • Set SMART goals: When you’re aware of the different steps to take, it is time to set goals. While setting goals, it is crucial to make them smart: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant & time-bound. On this website, you can find practical examples of smart goals.
  • Schedule your goals: Once you’ve defined your goals, schedule them in your favorite planning tool.

#4 Evaluate Regularly

Something that is crucial in order to optimize your planning skills, is to evaluate regularly. After all, we don’t want to get lost in our planning and not think about whether the decisions we made actually make us happy.

It is okay to adapt plans and there is no shame in choosing to let go of an initial set goal. Our society is so focused on achieving, that it sometimes forgets happiness along the way.

However, remember why you created a plan in the first place – to live a stress-free life and feel happier. Therefore, try to evaluate regularly how you feel about the goals you’ve set.

For instance, a couple of years ago I found myself so set on a specific business goal, that I fully immersed myself in my planning. However, after completing the big goal, I realized that I actually didn’t feel happy working on achieving that goal at all. Why? Because I let my planning take over without tuning into my body!

After having that experience, I decided to always evaluate how I feel about my journey and the things that I do daily. If I notice that there are tasks that make me deeply unhappy – and that do not necessarily provide the value I had in mind – I ditch them! No shame or guilt here!

#5 Schedule Time To Rest In Between Obligations

I cannot stress this one enough. Especially for highly sensitive people – or projectors if you’re into Human Design – it is crucial to schedule enough moments to rest.

One of the biggest mistakes I did when I first started planning my weeks, was to not schedule enough slack time. This is the time in between tasks.

Sometimes, a task takes longer than you may expect. Not having any slack time between tasks will stress you out, trust me. While doing one task, you’ll constantly watch the clock and worry about not making it in time.

Try to schedule a slack of at least 15-20 minutes between each task or obligation. This way, your planning runs more smoothly and stress-free.

If you’re worried about not being productive enough, make sure to have a list of tasks that you can pick up when you have time left. For instance, you could already get started with the task of the next day to have a headstart, or you know, you could just relax and enjoy the present moment. 😉

Scheduling enough time in between tasks helped me to reduce most of the work overwhelm I experienced as a highly sensitive person. Consequently, this is one of the most effective planning hacks I’ve come across so far.

#6 Set Reminders & Alarms

Many highly sensitive people may experience the sensation of flow while working. This means to fully immerse in a task and forget the time.

I’ve experienced this multiple times: I pick up a task where I can use all my skills and creativity and find myself two hours later, not being aware of how quickly time passed by.

While this is a wonderful state to be in, this also has its disadvantages. Especially when you have an appointment scheduled that you forgot all about because of a flow task. Been there, done that! *facepalm*

To save you the trouble, I highly recommend you to set reminders and alarms for important appointments. This way you won’t be late. Also, this helps you to not constantly worry about not making it to your appointment.

This allows you to immerse yourself in a state of flow and still be a reliable person who shows up in time!

This image by Copper and Wild visualizes the effective planning hack to use color markers. There is a hand holding four color markers.

#7 Work With Color-Coding

When you start creating your stress-free planning, I recommend you to immediately implement color-coding. This involves giving each project you work on a different color.

Most planning tools and agendas do have this option to keep your week organized, so don’t be afraid to play with them.

For instance, for my team, I have a different color for each major task within the team. One for writing blog articles, one for Instagram management, one for community management. This way, your calendar stays organized and you’ll immediately know what a specific task is about.

Besides that, color coding is fun, as it makes your calendar more vibrant to look at.

#8 Prioritize Your Tasks

A great productivity hack for highly sensitive people to reduce overwhelm is prioritizing your tasks. Each day, make sure to start with the most important task and then work your way through the list to the least important.

This way, you won’t feel stressed about not having enough time to finish something. Moreover, this helps you to remain conscious about what matters the most.

If you wonder how you can prioritize your tasks the best, I do it by simply putting an exclamation mark like this one – ❣️ – in front of the task. If you want something more professional, you could use a ⏰ -sign as well.

Most important is that your priority tasks immediately pop out in your daily schedule, so you don’t forget them.

#9 Create An Idea ‘Drop-Off’-Space

This tip is an effective planning hack that I haven’t seen anywhere else yet. However, I found it to be incredibly helpful, so I just had to share it with you!

My biggest game-changer as a highly sensitive person and effective planning was to create my own ‘idea drop-off’-space. This is a project space within my planning tool where I can jot down any great idea that comes to my mind.

Sometimes, you have those moments of inspiration, where you think “that’s a great idea!”, but you don’t have the time to work on it yet. However, you don’t want to forget that idea, right?

That’s what the idea drop-off space is for! Whenever you have one of those enthusiastic ideas, note them down in your idea space. It is a safe space where all your ideas can live freely without any direct deadlines attached to it. No pressure here!

Whenever you have some extra time on your hands, I recommend you to go to your idea drop-off to see whether it is the time to start to realize some of your brilliant ideas.

This hack relieves your highly sensitive brain of its pressure and helps you to truly stay grounded in the here and now.

#10 Ask For Help If Needed

If you notice yourself feeling overwhelmed by specific obligations that you feel obliged to do, I highly recommend you to ask for help.

For instance, a while ago I felt incredibly overwhelmed by my daily chores. I did not realize how much meal planning was stressing me out each week.

Thinking of dishes to cook, going to the grocery store, organizing the groceries at home, and then cooking seemed to stress me out greatly.

Therefore, I reached out to a friend to help me to come up with a better system. We brainstormed and agreed that she’d help me to set up a good meal planning system in the near future.

I immediately noticed how the overwhelming sensations went away after coming up with this solution together with my friend. If I wouldn’t have asked for help, I probably still would have felt stressed out.

Please ask for help when you need it. I know that many highly sensitive people and empaths struggle with this. Many of us are more likely to help others than to ask for help ourselves.

However, it is all about giving and receiving. Remember that!

#11 Reward Yourself

Finally, I highly recommend you to reward yourself. Not only by checking off to-do’s on your to-do list – which can be rewarding in itself – but by rewarding yourself for reaching milestones.

We oftentimes forget to celebrate the little moments while working towards reaching the bigger goal. However, it is important to appreciate yourself and your effort along the journey.

When creating a plan, make sure to mark milestone tasks and treat yourself for reaching them. For instance, you could spoil yourself with a nice new clothing item or a great book you’ve had on your reading list for too long. It does not have to be expensive, as long as it feels rewarding!

Besides the reward, it also works as a great motivation throughout your week to see that you are close to completing a next milestone task. 😉

Upgrade Your Planning Routine With These Awesome Planning Resources

Before rounding off, I’d like to share some awesome planning resources with you to take your planning routine to the next level:

Good Luck With Trying Out These Effective Planning Hacks

Now that you’ve discovered my favorite planning hacks, I hope that you feel inspired to get started with planning your daily life. Also, I am curious to hear YOUR best planning hacks. Feel free to share them with me in the comments!

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