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Episode 80 - Plan Ahead [Your Year Series Pt. 14] 


Welcome to Episode 80

Planning ahead is a gamer changer for success. We discuss the struggle between instant gratification and long-term achievement and how planning is crucial for your success. Instant gratification hampers long-term success, but planning ahead using our brain power counteracts this. By anticipating instant gratification moments and planning proactively, we honour our commitments and make conscious choices for personal fulfilment. Planning ahead allows a deeper sense of achievement, pride, and joy by making conscious decisions to stick to our plans and goals, instead of getting distracted with shiny things that make us instantaneously feel good.

Explore your planning styles, understand the benefits of planning, and experiment with different methods to enhance productivity and achieve your goals.

Managing 168 hours a week effectively involves understanding personal boundaries and priorities. Planning optimises our time and prevents wasted time.

In this podcast, you'll learn:
  • Why rest is essential

  • The benefits of planning 

  • How planning satisfies the need for certainty and structure, and how that helps you achieve your goals

Episode Transcript:


EP #80


“Do I need a life coach?” You’re listening to Episode 80, with Rhiannon Bush


Welcome to the Do I need a life coach? Podcast. We’re here to discuss the ins- and outs- of the life coaching industry and give you tools to use, to see for yourself. I’m your host, Rhiannon Bush. Mother, management consultant and a passionate, certified life coach.


I can’t tell you how much planning in advance changed my life and not only mine.


We have our animal brain that wants instant gratification and to feel good, all the time. That’s all it really wants. For us to be comfortable. We will have that our entire life. When we truly get results, it’s because we’ve used our higher functioning brain, our adult brain (also known as our pre-frontal cortex) to plan and look after our higher needs which is growth and making a difference in others’ lives – contributing.


Brooke Castillo talks about this all the time. If we constantly give in to our animal brain and honour that instant gratification to feel good all the time, we deprive ourselves of so much achievement and fulfilment that can be felt on a much deeper level and achieve our long-term success.


If anything will derail you, it’s the need to feel comfortable and instant gratification. Because so often we will go to do something where we don’t feel like it. Or we’re tired. Or we’d rather be.. enter your statement here. Going out with friends, watching Netflix, eating cake, even going for a walk or falling down a Facebook hole. But what I see frequently happening with my clients is when they give into that, they then feel a plethora of negative and self-deprecating emotions off the back of it because they feel like they’ve let themselves down.


As part of the Your Year Series, we need to have an awareness that yes, we will feel the need for instant gratification, it’s very normal, and also we need to plan in advance to overcome that when it happens, using our adult brain. This happens by anticipating it, planning for it. And by the way, if this sounds like you’re never going to feel good or have any fun, that’s absolutely not true. The difference is, when you want to eat cake, go for a walk, go out with friends, you will have planned it in advance using your adult brain that’s smart and responsible and sets great boundaries for you. You’ll do it proactively, not reactively.


And the consequence of doing this? You’ll experience such greater levels of fulfilment, pride, joy because you will honour your commitments to yourself, take action, and make conscious choices around how you want to feel good and when. This will give you much better balance as well.


To plan ahead effectively, it’s so important to understand what standards you’re setting yourself in different areas of your life. And this is why we’ve done great work on your perfect average day, and setting our goal, creating a manageable action plan, devising our values, and doing many of the other elements covered throughout the Your Year Series.


Understanding how you WANT to spend your precious 168 hours per week is so important because that’s all we get – 168 hours per week. And believe me when I say I’ve tried to circumvent this. I’ve tried adapting to 6 hours of sleep each night to get extra hours and yes, it can be done temporarily, and then eventually I fall in a heap and need to sleep 16 hours a day for a while. That sleep debt thing is real and I wish, oh how I wish, I could tell you otherwise.


168 hours.  Say 56 hours (approximately) to sleep. That leaves 112 hours. Let’s say we need 3 hours a day to shower, toilet, eat, commute – and that’s being very conservative. That’s now down to 91 hours. Say you have a 9-5 job five days a week, you’re down to 51 hours, add in 5 hours for exercise, 2 hours for supermarket shopping, 2 hours a day for socialising with family and/or friends in person or online, that leaves you with a bit over 4 hours per day for the rest of the week.


And while, when it’s quantified like that, it may seem like a reasonable amount (about 30 hours), that is a very lean take on how your week could look. That doesn’t factor in rest time, life admin, a lot of commuting if that’s what you need to do. It doesn’t factor in cleaning or cooking. It also doesn’t factor in optimising your time or your productivity levels – there are times in the day you won’t work as effectively. Ever heard that expression “I’m a night person” or “I’m a morning person”. We all have times of the day when we’re able to be super productive, versus times of the day when we’re not. We need to know this about ourselves and work with it.


The point is.. if you don’t plan ahead of time, you waste so much more time. And considering the lack of time we already have, it’s really not something we should be ok wasting. Especially if you’re ambitious, driven and want to live a meaningful life – knowing you, you’ll pack as much in as you can but it’s also important to rest. Why?


Have you heard of play therapy? Through studies done with children, the Lego® foundation (yes Lego®) have found that the mirror neurons work differently in our brain when we’re in a state of play. When we have fun, we have more happy hormones like oxytocin produced. You know what gives us the biggest hit of dopamine? Sleep. We can restore dopamine levels in our brain throughout the day – by laughing, exercising, and doing other activities but essentially, we wake up with a set amount of dopamine that’s been restored during our sleep (specifically in stages 3 and 4 of sleep which is deep sleep. We need between 2-3 hours of deep sleep per night which doesn’t sound like a lot, but to get to deep sleep, we have to go through stages 1 and 2. We also have REM sleep which is Rapid Eye Movement where our brain becomes really active while it processes information and commits what it wants to long-term memory.)  


When we play, we enhance the neuroplasticity in our brains and expand our awareness. Therefore, we learn better, are more productive and retain information more efficiently when we’re having fun. So rest is a huge key to your success if you’re a higher achiever and you want to jam-pack your life.  But as a high achiever, it’s often hard to rest. Because our brains are actively thinking about our next steps or what we should be doing. This is another benefit of having a weekly plan. You know when everything you need to get done is scheduled, so you can rest and enjoy that rest without feeling guilty or like you shouldn’t be resting because that’s “not being productive”.


Benefits of having a plan:

  1. You know exactly what you’ll have achieved by the end of the day or week

  2. You’ve calculated how much you’ll be able to achieve without stretching yourself beyond your limits, preventing burnout

  3. You’ll be able to handle chaos and change because your foundation will be set, meaning you can juggle things when and if you need to

  4. You’ll enjoy your rest time and let it restore you

  5. You’ll achieve so much more because you won’t use time you’ve scheduled to actually get things done, on planning or considering the things you should be doing – I’ve made this mistake many times. Rock into work Monday morning without a plan. I sit there for the first hour twiddling my thumbs thinking “ok, what’s on my agenda for today”. This is fine when there’s not a lot to do but even if there isn’t a lot to do, if I’ve at least thought about what I want to achieve by the end of that day, the day before, I hit the ground running in the morning and achieve so much more. I’m much more productive.

  6. You’ll feel better. It satisfies our need for certainty and provides structure to work from. This structure and the plan come from our adult brain, looking after our best longer-term interests. This way when our child brain reacts to shiny things, we can stick to our plan. The adult steps in and can say “is that on the schedule”. Sounds prescriptive but it’s life changing, especially when you want to achieve big things and you need to get to work.


Are you best at starting? Stopping? Or Maintaining things?


If you’re not a planner, what type of person do you need to be to become one? Grab your notebook and pen, write this down.


What kind of person plans? Describe them? Write down those words. Then ask yourself – is this you? Are you a planner? If not, do you now someone who is? Copy them.


Planning ahead of time enables us to calmly go about achieving each step because we’ve reverse-engineered the journey and have milestones along the way to calibrate whether we’re on track or not. Just as we did with our goal back in Episode 69 and 70. That was a larger version of doing it on a weekly basis but still based in the same methodology – by knowing your outcome and having a plan to achieve it ahead of time, you have more structure, more control and you know what your next step is before you get to it. This sets you up for success.


In Episode 79 we discussed six different time management strategies. Go back to that episode and try the different strategies to see what works for you. Try different apps, planners and methods but make sure you have a plan and use your adult brain to avoid the reactions of your child brain that looks for instant gratification and that will derail you from achieving your goals.


Planning can be fun – I love it. How can you make planning fun for you?


I’ll see you soon.



Hey! Before you go, I always find reviews really helpful when looking for new information or insights…


I you’ve found this podcast valuable, please take a minute to write a quick review about what you’ve found most beneficial for you, so other people can benefit from your insights, and listen in too. I would LOVE that!

Also, if there are any topics you’d like me to cover specifically about life coaching or the life coaching industry, visit to contact me. Thanks for joining and I’ll see you in the next episode of Do I Need A Life Coach?!



Please note, this transcription may not be exact.

Questions? Topic Ideas?

Reach out to Rhiannon today
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