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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Using a Planner Like a Pro.

Are you obsessed with planners?

I am.  I actually hate the word obsessed.....it is so overused right now.  I can hardly type it without grimacing a bit.  I am not obsessed with having a petty pink and gold planner.  I am not obsessed with spending a small fortune on planner supplies, stickers, washi tape and more.

I am obsessed with learning how to use a planner.  Using it in ways the help me achieve my goals and create the life I want.....and quite frankly deserve.

Over the past 15 years I have read books, attended classes, tried every planner in the market and became a time management instructor and consultant.  All to get my head around what leads someone to work towards their goals while others just dream about them.

If all you want to do is remember important dates and tasks.....then any calendar will do.  If all you want is a pretty book.....then any journal will do.

But if you want something more.....it is not the type of calendar/planner/journal you use, but how you use it. 

  7 Tips for Using a Planner Like a Pro

Tip #1: Planning is more then a to do list or calendar.
Planning is about developing long-term goals and scheduling your life around what you say is most important.  
Tips #2: Choose the right planner for your needs.
Size matters!  As does portability and structure.  Do you want spiral bound or a binder?  Do you want time slots or open blocks?
Tip #3: Schedule a time to plan. 
 Without this, the rest of the tips are really pointless.  If you don't set a regular appointment to use your planner you will NEVER get into the habit of planning.  I schedule time every Monday morning. (And yes, I do use stickers and washi tape.....but that just adds to the fun.)
Tip #4: Flexibility is your friend.
 There is no such thing as a perfect planner so make sure you can adapt yours to fit your needs.  Or better yet....if you have the time, make your own. 
 Tip #5: Plan Weekly
Monthly planning is too broad and daily planning is to narrow....weekly is just right. (Goldilocks approved!)
Tip #6: Schedule the big rocks first.
Schedule your most important items 1st and then fill in the rest.  Below my presentation there is a wonderful demonstration of this process in practice.
Tip #7: There is no such thing as a perfect planner.
I am pretty sure I said that already, but it is worth repeating.  I use multiply calendars, but only one true planner.  I also incorporate electronic calendars into my planning.  They each serve a specific purpose. 
Interested in more?  Check out the presentation below. 

This demonstration was originally part of a Stephan Covey workshop.  While I cannot not show you the original demonstration this video does a great job recreating it.  (Trust me....I saw the original in person.)

And finally I wanted to share with you how I use my planner.  

As I stated in the video, I am switching planners.  There are things I like about my current planner, but too many things I do not like.  I am switching to an Erin Condren planner.  (Use this link to get a $10 off coupon.)

I am excited to say that it arrive last Saturday. I am totally frustrated that I cannot start using it until January. LOL!  Delayed gratification is not my thing.  (But then, I have never meant someone who enjoyed delayed gratification.) Until then I make making adjustments and prepping it.  In January, I will provide an update and review of my new planner.

A few links:

Why did I do this post on a crafting blog?  Because I had so many students ask for it, and who I am I to say no.

Happy planning and be sure to let me know if you have any questions.

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