I am super excited that you are here.

This simple planning system is what got me from broke and crying on a hand-me-down couch in North Hollywood to publishing two bestselling books and cheerfully running my own multi-six figure business from my home by the beach.

I’ve found the Real Life Planner more helpful than making lists and less complicated than a journal.

The Real Life Planner, as its name indicates, accommodates your real life – whatever your circumstances are – whether you have a full-time job, are caring for family, are an entrepreneur, or all of the above.

The Real Life Planner is pretty self-explanatory, but here are a few insights:

The “Could Do” List

Each day you are invited to create your list of possible tasks. You are invited to list each item with a NEW name – because I find that the task called, “Revise the ‘About’ Page on Website” sounds like boring homework, but “Make ‘About’ Page Sparkle” sounds quite fun.

Next, you want to list how much time is involved. If you don’t know, just guess. But beware of any project you cannot assign a time for, because that means your project is too big. “Write my book” is too big – there’s no way to assign a time allotment for that. “Outline Chapter Ten” is do-able. This part is also an excellent way to increase your awareness of how accurate your time management is. I know so many creative people who think, “Oh, I just have to send an email to that person I met – that’ll only take 5 minutes.” But then, once they get to writing realize that it actually takes 25 minutes to craft a really terrific email. And then they wonder why they are always running 20 minutes behind. Make sense?

The next column asks you how much MONEY is involved. Whether it’s income or expense doesn’t matter – you just want to keep an eye on your cash inflow and outflow. You may notice that some relatively small task could have a big impact on your bottom line, or that you are spending a lot of time on projects that don’t contribute much. After all, if you want to have a good relationship with the money in your life, it’s worth paying some respectful attention to it as you are planning your day.

The final column asks, on a scale of 1-10, how INCLINED you are to do it today. Because as we all know, it’s not hard to do the things you really want to do, and it’s almost impossible to make yourself do the things you don’t want to do. Being honest with yourself about how much you feel like doing or not doing something is an important step in overcoming procrastination.

PLEASE NOTE: The question is not how much you want the result of having done this project – it’s how inclined are you to do the work itself. Knowing that you want to have the result of writing a blog post and simultaneously noticing that your inclination to actually write is low might cause you to find a new solution – maybe hiring a great copywriter, or using a voice-to-text system so you can “talk” your post into being.

More than once this tool has caused me to notice that one of my items has the potential to bring in a big pile of money. so perhaps I should do that first. Other days I’ve been surprised to see that, all told, I only have about 3 hours of tasks ahead of me, and I can give myself the gift of an unexpected afternoon off.

Occasionally I notice that my “inclination” levels are low across the board, which indicates to me that I am over-tired, and I must rest and refuel before I can accomplish anything meaningful.

Life is not an exact science, and these worksheets are meant to reflect a life in progress, so please work fast, guesstimate, use your intuition and go from your gut.

After all, you can always make a new decision.

Weekly Review

Each week, you are invited to review what’s happened, and there are a few prompts for you.

The first prompt asks you what you’ve done that’s made you feel pleased or proud. Notice that sometimes you may write some non-traditional accomplishments, like, “Got a good night’s sleep” or “Avoided arguing with Marcia.”

The second asks you to write down what you’ve learned. It’s so hard for us to discern progress in our lives (we’re always on to the next thing, aren’t we?) so this area allows you to reflect and remark on your recent growth.

The third quadrant, the bottom left, asks both “What is the critical/rational voice in your head saying?” and “What does your Inner Wisdom know?” This allows you to give voice to the fears that keep you stuck, as well as accessing the deeper knowing that gives you the courage to move forward anyway. Many of my clients find that after a few months of this, their critical/rational voice fades to a dim whisper, and their self-confidence soars.

Make Some 5-Minute Art

Finally, you are given an open page in which to process any hard feelings that may have come up, or to celebrate the good stuff. Remember – this is not about being good at drawing. This is just about creating a visual expression of how you are feeling, so that you can more quickly process your emotions and move through them. Doodling or drawing your feelings gives you – literally – a new perspective on them. Plus, it’s fun.

I hope that as you use these sheets, you will find yourself thinking more clearly and critically about your projects, and find it easier to focus on your:

  • highest income-creating activities
  • highest joy-creating activities.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with this material.

Please email me at Sam@TheRealSamBennett.com and let me know how it goes for you, OK?


About the Author:

Originally from Chicago, Sam Bennett is an author, speaker, teacher and creativity/productivity specialist. She is the author of the bestselling, “Get It Done: From Procrastination to Creative Genius in 15 Minutes a Day” (New World Library) which Seth Godin called, “An instant classic, essential reading for anyone who wants to make a ruckus.” Her latest bestseller is, “Start Right Where You Are: How Little Changes Can Make a Big Difference for Overwhelmed Procrastinators, Frustrated Overachievers and Recovering Perfectionists” (New World Library).

She is dedicated to helping creative people get unstuck, especially by helping them focus and move forward on their goals.

Sam’s extensive experience in improv comedy (Second City, ComedySportz) and decades spent as a working actor in Hollywood (Modern Family, Days of Our Lives, Drew Carey Show) mean that her trainings and talks are famously entertaining, funny and heart-warming.

Now based in a tiny beach town outside of Los Angeles, CA, Bennett offers workshops, keynotes and private consulting. She also makes a heck of a roast chicken.

Sam Bennett