Life on Cottage Hill: PAGES

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Family Master Plan

I am a big believer in having a clear vision of what you want out of life and the only way to make that vision a reality is to set short and long-term goals. I am a big goal-setter. I set goals at the beginning of each week and even each day. I think this is related to my obsession with creating lists. Dan shares in my passion for setting goals so we have conversations a lot about what we want out of life for our family, for ourselves and for each other. 

The OCD side of me decided that we needed to formalize all of these ideas and conversations into a "Family Master Plan." Being the good husband that he is, Dan humored me and told me I could take the lead on developing this master plan and then he would just "review" it and add his builds. 

So, I did. And I shared it with him over dinner this week. I handed him the "master plan" paper, he took one look and handed it back saying "this is too much, just tell me what I'm supposed to be doing and I'll do it." Me? Tell him what to do? No problem! 

I am not going to post our actual Family Master Plan because even I have some boundaries on what I share with my lovely readers, but I will share the principles that I used to create and some examples of what to include in case you want to run your family like a militant corporation like I do! (only kidding, but I can definitely see the "P&G manager" in me coming through VERY clearly in this).

The Principles: 
1. The way to lay out the plan: Use a simple chart format. Along the top you will have 4 columns- one for each quarter of the year. Label these accordingly: JFM (January, February, March), AMJ (April, May, June), JAS (July August, September) & OND (October, November, December). On the left side going down vertically you will have 5 rows- one for each of the next 5 years. Again, label accordingly and I also wrote in what our ages would be that year to add more perspective- this can be very eye opening because you don't realize how fast time goes! So, on our it says: 2010 (26, 0) because in 2010 Dan and I are 26 and Jackson is 0. 

2. Then, simply fill in the boxes with what major family goals you want to accomplish and focus on each quarter for the next 5 years. Include things like: family planning (when you would like to have your next child), major family purchases (new car), major home renovations, big projects (cleaning out and organizing the basement), financial planning (goals on paying off major debt such as your mortgage AND savings/retirement planning goals), major milestones (when your child begins preschool, major wedding anniversaries), family vacations, etc. 

3. Take it a step farther by then making a "Family To Do List" to accomplish your major buckets on a quarterly basis. So, for example, one of our major goals this quarter is to "simplify" our lives. So, I wrote out a more specific step-by-step list of what we need to do to accomplish this goal over the next 3 months. This includes things like going through our kitchen cabinets and getting rid of anything we don't use, getting rid of cable TV, finding ways to simplify our routines, etc.

Family Master Planning to me is so important. It allows you to have long-term visibility on major milestones that you want/need your family to achieve- most of which takes a lot of planning either with your finances or time or both, so by laying out these milestones and spacing them in a realistic way you are allowing yourself to plan in advance. 

I am also realizing more and more each day how fast time goes. As Dan always says "we have too many full-time jobs"- we each have our actual full-time careers but many other things can end up being a full time commitment too such as taking care of the house and yard, each other, our hobbies, our church activities, volunteering, our family and friends... the list goes on. These are all GREAT things that we LOVE, but they can quickly become more of a burden than a blessing if we haven't planned enough in advance. 

If you found this helpful then I am excited for you to make your own FMP and reap all of the benefits. If you have found this on the side of "Jessica is insane" then we already knew that, so hopefully it was at least entertaining!

1 comment:

  1. This is SO what I needed! I am a big lister, although I have not in the past made myself upset over things I have not gotten done. A big fault of mine I believe. But that changes now that I am a mother (soon to be of 2!) I need goals. I need to know I, we- are moving forward. Thanks for the idea!!!


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