Introducing Your Diplomatic Planner
A letter from Talyn Rahman-Figueroa, author of the “Diplomatic Planner”.
Congratulations on getting the “Diplomatic Planner”. You are about to embark on a transformational journey, but I know what you must be thinking. The Planner is thick, heavy and perhaps a little intimidating. Don’t worry! These tutorials are designed to help you walk through each section of the Planner so that you can maximise each and every chapter. You are not alone in your journey. As you begin to find your voice and place in the world, Grassroot Diplomat will be with you every step of the way.
The Planner is divided into 12 chapters with the intention to be used strategically over the course of a year - one chapter for each month. This is to ensure that you don’t get overwhelmed by some of the choices you have to make and you are accountable to yourself.
Each chapter focuses on a particular key area that is important to succeeding in international relations. For optimal results, I recommend that you stay fully focused on at least one to two exercises per week with the intention of completing one chapter per month. If you are unsure, stick to the exercises prescribed in the order that I have presented them. This will enable you to fully immerse in each exercise provided, and overcome any related weaknesses you may have before moving on to the next chapter. The Grassroot Diplomat Online Academy also offers a host of additional resources on each exercise if you feel unsure on how to complete things or need further guidance. I have created tutorials for everything the Planner introduces as well as additional case studies, PDF guides, and podcasts to fully coach you in your development.
For each of the 12 months the planner includes a blank monthly planner with daily focuses, a weekly action planner, blank mind maps, and a networking tracker sheet to help you note those important relationships you build. On a monthly and quarterly basis, you will evaluate your progress to see what is working for you, and in what areas your daily habits need to change. By the end of the year, you will have gained a clear picture on where you fit in the world and what direction you want to take your career in line with your passions and interests.
You will use your blank monthly calendar to plan out big goals for the month, schedule appointments, and create block out dates. This will enable an overview. The calendar will reveal your main priorities at a glance. This will hone effective time management.
Pixel Mood Chart
Mental health professionals recommend mood journals. This helps to manage depression or emotional disorders. In a paper published by the International Politics Psychology, it’s strongly argued that unresolved emotional issues pose security threats around the world. By using the mood chart on a regular basis, you can begin to see your patterns evolve and learn to detect the early onset of cycles, and take preventative action.
You will select a colour for each mood and define what each emoji means to you before tracking your mood each day.
MONTHLY MIND MAPPING AND MINING
A powerful path to self-mastery is the deliberate creation of mind maps. These are visual stories of everything you are thinking, written out in organised clusters. Once a month for ten minutes, you will write out whatever is in your head in a stream-of-consciousness writing. You will organise your thoughts in this mind mining exercise to categorise required attention.
As part of your monthly evaluation, mind maps will help you to visually prioritise your most concerning areas, and will culminate in better stress management.
The Weekly Actions exercise was designed to focus you on your most crucial daily tasks. On the same day each week, you will take the time to identify those tasks, and habits you want to develop throughout the week ahead.
An hourly layout allows you to get more specific with your time for certain activities. The morning ritual segment starts from the moment you wake up. The evening ritual segment clusters after 10pm. You may wish to use these segments to block out fixed activities as part of your daily routine.
Focus of the Week
The human brain has difficulty focusing on multiple things. Each requires mindful attention. Productivity depends on this focus. Looking back at your monthly calendar, you will remind yourself of your daily priorities and decide on a theme of activities that requires your biggest attention.
If you can’t fit your to-do list on a Post-It note, chances are you will not get round to it without feeling overwhelmed. The weekly to-do list was consciously created with only 10 items so that you get to prioritise tasks that MUST be completed this week, no matter how small or demanding the activity is. Make an effort to reduce how much you put on your list and focus on essential tasks that will help you move forward with your ultimate goals and self-development plans. Even if that one item requires a long process of other actions, aim to complete that task in one day. Be accountable and provide yourself with a deadline for the task to be completed on the same week. Keep track by ticking off what you have completed.
This three-point list is a reminder for pending items that will suddenly become urgent. For example, you may want to remind yourself to press your suit for a future event, or book train tickets for a scheduled meeting. These reminders will help you plan for the week ahead without losing sight of important, non-urgent tasks.
Keeping an easy log of your habit will help to improve your motivation to stick with a new routine. A sign of a strong habit is doing activities almost automatically so when your chosen activity starts to become second nature, it can come off the list. When choosing a new habit to track, consider an activity that you will do regularly, something that you are motivated to do, and a task that is achievable. The more often you do your habit, the stronger it will become.
Have fun listening to our podcasts that touch upon public diplomacy skills and activities. Some podcasts may only be available to members of the Grassroot Diplomat Online Academy, so don’t forget to subscribe. The latest podcasts are announced on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram page. Search for @grdiplomat.
Every month, you will complete a monthly evaluation to summarise your best and worst efforts as part of your progress. The evaluation will form as a basis for your personal progress. Use this exercise to reflect on your past activities and areas where you require further improvement in your development.
Building a network takes time, effort and dedication. If you simply store these contacts in an address book with the intention of reaching out only when you want something, your network will not work for you. A connection is only useful if you build a relationship with them and it is important to start building foundations early. Use the network tracker to write down new people you meet as a reminder to email and further connect with them on professional digital networks. This will ensure you always have the most up-to-date contact details. While new contacts are useful, it is just as important to be grateful for people who already play a part in your life. A space is included to list members of your established network who help you with your developments. Be thankful for their time. A note of appreciation will go a long way to making someone feel valued.
Every four months, you will complete quarterly evaluations to follow up on your progress. The evaluation will track how often you have networked, key people you want to build relations with, a mini SWOT analysis to identify areas of improvement, and evaluate ways to bring your career goals back on track.
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