If 2020 has taught us anything it is that the future is not always certain. This has brought about feelings of insecurity and anxiety in some people. That’s why this week, I share an article from Harvard Business Review which describes how people can use micro-planning and biomimicry to combat feelings of uncertainty brought on by this post-pandemic world.

After the retirement headlines, I’ll answer two listener questions. John asks about maxing out his HSA after 50 and Val is trying to decide between a pension and a lump sum payment. Don’t miss out on the latest episode of Retirement Starts Today; press play now!

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Outline of This Episode

  • [1:22] How to plan your life when the future is foggy
  • [3:19] The six steps to learn from biomimicry
  • [7:35] How much can a person contribute to an HSA when they are over 50?
  • [9:28] Should Val take a lump sum or an annuity?

Micro-planning can help you take command of your life again

Did Covid-19 toss your 5-year plan out the window? Many of us have had our future plans shaken up due to the effects of the pandemic. The lack of control that the long-term insecurity creates can bring about feelings of unease.

One way to take back control of your life is by harnessing the power of adaptability through micro-planning. Micro-planning is a way to take a larger plan and break it down into yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily check-in practices.

Did Covid-19 toss your 5-year plan out the window? Press play to find out what you can do to get it back. Click To Tweet

Biomimicry is the inspiration behind micro-planning

In tumultuous times, micro-planning is more manageable than big-picture planning, and it offers the sense of power and stability that we need. The idea behind micro-planning is based on biomimicry, a practice that learns from and mimics the strategies found in nature to solve human challenges. Biomimicry uses nature as a model to imitate or use as inspiration for designs or processes with the goal of solving human problems.

Six steps you can follow to feel more in control of your future

Prolonged stress can cause us to function at less than optimal levels, so it is important to mitigate stress when we can. These six elements of micro-planning can help us manage this stress, function at higher levels, and give us a sense that we are taking back control of our lives.

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  1. Set a purpose – Identify the common thread that connects the different roles you have had. What do they have in common? Think about the most fulfilling career experiences you’ve had to date and notice their commonalities.
  2. Plan your year – Make a plan for the year that aligns with your purpose and identifies between one to three focus areas of desired growth. Keep the list of focus areas short in order to promote a better chance of success.
  3. Plan by quarters – At the beginning of each quarter, reassess your successes and failures and set goals for the next quarter. Be careful to choose no more than five to keep the list manageable. You may want to shift your plan at this stage based on your reflections on the previous quarter.
  4. Break the quarters into months – Each month break your goals for the quarter down into specific projects, and then break the projects down into even more specific and manageable phases.
  5. Create weekly lists – At the start of the week, create a weekly to-do list, making sure to plan time for movement, sleep, time outside, hydration, and healthy food. Doing this makes sure that you are physically and mentally caring for yourself in support of your intellectual goals.
  6. Make use of your days – Use a journal to track your energy on a daily basis. Doing this gives you powerful information as to how to optimize your workflow and helps make annual planning more mindful. Make sure to note daily what you are grateful for, as well. Journaling in this way gives you an immense sense of control, which has been proven to shrink the amount of time it takes to get tasks done.

What have you been doing to help you feel more in control during the pandemic? Try implementing these steps to take command of your future. Make sure to press play to hear the details of how you can use micro-planning to improve your life.

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