How to make successful daily steps forward using good habits with your planner

Let’s break the title of this article down into manageable sections.

“How to…” – I do not claim to be an expert at productivity.  The opposite is true, actually. I am very well versed in the art of failure and as a result, have learned numerous ways of how to and how not to do things.  My aim is to show you how to move forward with your goals by using a planner.

“…successful…” – After much trial and error, I have learned that the first step to success in setting and reaching goals is identifying the end result.  I set values-based SMART goals which allow me to able to focus in on the tasks I set for myself.  Who am I?  What do I believe?  What do I stand for? Hopefully, you have identified those values for yourself.  Assuming you have, you need to ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve?”  Be specific. How will you know when you have achieved it? Set a standard by which you will measure your progress. Document your starting point. Once you have identified your starting point and your end goal, ask yourself, “Is this attainable?” Are you able to reach this goal in one effort or do you need to break it down into smaller goals? Is this a realistic goal to work towards? Or do you need to gain additional skills or resources before you can start working towards it?  What is the timeline for reaching this goal? When do you want to reach this objective? Remember, a goal without a deadline is a daydream.

“…daily…” – Repetition is key.  Once you have established your goals it is easy to determine if you should begin a certain project or not.  Will it help you reach your values-based goals? If yes, it is time to identify the daily tasks that will create momentum and do them.

“…steps forward…” –  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time!

“…good habits…” – Whether you realize it or not, you are already engaged in a variety of habits.  And while they may or may not be BAD for you, they may not be serving the purpose of helping you achieve your goals.  Each time to watch television or eat a meal or sit down at your computer, ask yourself, “Is this helping me reach my goal?”  If the answer is yes, repeat it daily. If the answer is no, stop doing the thing that is standing between you and your goals and replace it with one that will help you reach them.  

“…planner.” – Show me your calendar and I will tell you what your values are.  A planner is more than a calendar. A planner houses your calendar, for deadline specific events and tasks, and your project management system.  Project management can be as simple as a list of to-dos for your annual spring cleaning or as elaborate as a forecast and analysis of your instances of headaches to days of rainfall.  Planning systems and styles are unique to each individual, but I have identified the two major categories of planners based on learning styles: left and right brain. Most people are either a logical list-making, left-brain planner or an intuitive, creator-designer, right-brain planner. Some are a combination of the two and utilize what I call a “Bilateral Planning” approach.  I use this style of planning and it has revolutionized my life…this is not an understatement!  It seems simple, but you would be surprised how many people struggle with using a planner to organize their hopes, dreams, and wishes into actionable projects. If you think you would benefit from bilateral planning, check out my series on YouTube to learn more.

For the sake of this article, let’s set a SMART, values-based goal.

“I will let ten pounds go by summer.”  

One of my values is to be healthy, strong and flexible. The goal is specific.  It is measurable, as I can stand on my scale and record my starting weight and in 3 months, at the end of my timeline I will stand on the scale again and record my progress.   Since summer is 3 months away, this is an attainable goal and realistic because I do have ten pounds I could give to the universe. (Notice I didn’t say lose, because I have no intention of finding these ten pounds after they’re gone.)  Now what? Pray that the scale moves in three months? No! I must set a plan of action in place and create tasks to help me in my endeavor. I will call this my Summer Body Project (“Body”).

Within the project section of my planner, I will have a section tabbed “Body” in that section I will list out all the actions that will need to take place in order to reach my goal.  

  • Diet – What kinds of food will I/won’t I eat?  How often will I eat? Will I intermittently fast?
  • Exercise – What kind of physical activity will I participate in? How many days a week?
  • Rest – When will I schedule my body time to recover?

Once I have determined all the components necessary to reach my stated goal, I will add at least one task to my calendar, daily.  At the end of each day, I will review how I did and what worked for me/what didn’t and either repeat the day’s actions or make a change.  At the end of each week, I will gauge the outcome of my efforts and decide how I can improve for the following week. When I reach my deadline, I will evaluate my progress.  Did I reach my goal? Did I fall short? Did I surpass it? What will I do moving forward?

What planning and organizational style do you employ to manage goals in your planner?  Tag me (@theorganizedmiss) on social media with your goal planner and use the hashtag #bilateralplanning!  

Happy Planning!  

Need a way to track your health and wellness goals? Check out how I track my fitness goals!

One Book July 2017 – Review of Week 2

This week found me a tad bit busier than last week and not feeling 100% but I was able to stay on task, due to prior planning, and get the things done (in a timely manner) that needed to be accomplished.  I didn’t get many personal things checked off my to do list but that’s okay with me.  This week highlighted the importance of having a flexible planning system.

Observations and changes made this week:

The first and most recognizable change for me this week is the TN cover itself.  I have been struggling with the LOVELY TPS Floral TN since my initial set up.  While I love, love, love it, the 1.5″ spine is just a little too small for my needs right now.

I am using my One Book July to experiment with tracking all of the things that need to be done this month, both personal and professional.  As the festival and pageant are at the end of July and the first week of August, I have little to do and lots of time to do it…STRIKE THAT, reverse it!

The next change I have made is the addition of a dump book.  I have one dedicated to all the details that I need to stay on top of this month in preparation for the festival and pageant, however, I didn’t have something to capture all the other items.  So, I dedicated some of my self-care time to creating an insert and have already started collecting items to be organized after my Incompletion Trigger List review.

My weekly spread is where the “work” gets done in my One Book July.  I noticed that I didn’t consistently use my dailies but went back and filled in what I accomplished, instead of using it for pre-planning.  I used stickers to create “word pictures” to help with my memory and this resulted in aiding my recall.  Therefore, I have decided to pre-set up my dailies this week.  Let’s see how that works for me.  I have had a new memory and discovered a 20 year gap…this blank spaces do not mean I don’t remember anything for those 20 years, but rather all instances relating to a specific memory group (i.e. an annual picnic that I have no memories of or the location it has been held in, although I apparently have attended it numerous times).  This leads me to look for ways to re-associate people, places, and things in hopes of being able to access the memories eventually. So, I am attempting to use more stickers in my planning routine to create word pictures in my mind.  Well, see how this works.  This week will be the first time I include the sticker associations in the “guts” of my planning and I am hopeful I can report a success next week!

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This Michael’s Recollection’s Hourly Vertical Planner sits on my desk and does double duty as my memory planner.

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This is the weekly box spread in my One Book July and functions as a weekly overview of my events and appointments using pictures.

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This is a printable from Ray Blake at My Life All In One Place and functions as the “guts” of my planning. I have not previously utilized stickers in this section as it houses tasks…this is where I take my “To Do’s” to “To Done” and document any changes to my planned schedule of events with actual events.

Finally, I have decided to set up my dailies for the week to see how I can better utilize them in the TN.  However, I typically use my hourly planner for itemizing the details of my white spaces.

How are you using your One Book July?  What have you learned so far?  I would love to know how has this “experiment” helped you stay on track to reach your goals.

See you next week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The SetUp

After initial research into how I am going to structure my planner for One Book July 2017, I have decided to transfer all of my necessary planning and project management into a pocket-sized TN (traveler’s notebook) from The Planner Society.  

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Behind the scenes of my YouTube setup video

The OnebookJuly2017 Challenge is to use One Book and One Pen for One Month.  However, there are no rules save for the rules you may set for yourself.  The goal, as I understand it, is to “get back to basics” and streamline or in some cases, learn what you need to be successful in your planning routine.  

Since I am a goal planner, I have included my current projects in each area (Being, Body, Brain) to help me reach my goals.  My goal for One Book July is to streamline all of my planners into one carry along planner/wallet that I can have to track EVERYTHING!  In order to keep moving forward, I need to assess where I am in any given project, once I evaluate my progress I can decide if I need to make changes or not.   

What I have learned so far:

  • Sometimes, I can not focus and am easily distracted.  When this happens I need to step away and do something else, usually a craft project, like mixed media to help my mind get clear and refocus.  Then I can come back to the task at hand.  It is helpful to know this about myself because I don’t get as discouraged and take a long leave of absence from my goals.
  • When I am riding the struggle bus, I need my planning system to have a structure and functional form to help me stay focused and follow my plan.
  • When I am hyperfocused, I need the real-estate that white space provides.
  • Having this self-knowledge is helpful in knowing which system to work out of at a given time to help me keep moving toward my goals instead of getting frustrated and giving up.

Knowing how you operate and researching the tools to help you is key to setting yourself up for success.  

Visit my Resources page to find the inserts I am testing as well as other valuable information I will add from time to time.

See you next week for an update to One Book July 2017 !!