Earlier this week, I shared two tips about how to have your best year ever:

  • Cut out the complaining.
  • Do what you can to make someone’s day extra special.

Here are two more ideas:

Start with a plan, but be flexible.

We all have some non-negotiables in our days. Maybe you have a job with strict in-office working hours. Or perhaps you are a student with classes to attend. My advice is to sketch out a schedule for the week that includes all those requirements, then pencil in other activities and appointments that you want to be sure to include in your weekly routine. It might help if you make a list of those extra priorities first, then you won’t forget to add them into your plan. Don’t forget to add in time for exercise. I love to build extra time in to allow for time to relax and recharge.

Note: Sometimes coming up with a schedule you can live with seems like an almost impossible task. At times, I feel like I am building a house of cards. If any one thing doesn’t go exactly as planned, my day collapses into a game of 52 card pickup. If you feel that way when you look at your plan, it is a sure sign that you need Tip #2…

Enlist the help of others.

It is impossible to do everything, and even more impossible to do everything well. You probably already know that asking for help is a good idea, but you may be reluctant to do so. Saturday morning, I had a fun conversation with Wally Bock and Mary Jo Asmus on Twitter. Wally said something memorable:

Cleaning is what God invented checkbooks for.

Even though I don’t have paid cleaning help, his sentiment is one I can understand and endorse. If you have more money than time, decide what tasks you would like someone else to do, and HIRE SOMEONE TO DO THEM. If you are like many of us and and your budget won’t allow you to hire help, consider free or low cost ways to get the help you need.

Earlier this summer, I worked out a swap with a friend who is an excellent organizer. I watched her three daughters so she could have a much-needed break, then she came over for a few hours to help me get ready for our new school year. All six girls played happily, and I ended the day with a re-organized classroom/dining room.

As you consider how you might enlist the (free) help of friends with items on your to do list, think about ways that you might help them while accomplishing your own goals and tasks. A few years ago, I shopped for my neighbors groceries each week while doing my own shopping. At the end of the month, she paid for her cleaning person to clean my home. Since I was going shopping anyway, it was a good trade off for me. Be creative! Chances are, your friends will appreciate the opportunity to help, especially if you can add value to their lives also.

Don’t forget to ask your family members. They may not know you need their help if you don’t ask them.

How do you map out your week? I would love to hear your ideas and suggestions. Do you have any creative ideas about finding help for your endless to do list? I would love to hear your stories.

This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is re-posted with permission.