If you are like me, for ages you bought a new planner each year. They show up everywhere from office supply stores to Walmart. You can buy them directly from the printers. There are lots of them with familiar names like Daytimer, At-A-Glance, or The Franklin-Covey planner (the one I used).
But let’s be honest. These were not planners. They were calendars. They allowed you to manage your time and activity, but there was nothing in them to help you define your goals, break those goals down to tasks and then integrate them into the appointments and activities that life and work foists on us.
In recent years a whole new group of planners showing up on our internet feeds and in the stores. They come from companies and people like Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner, The Best Self Planner, and (the one I use) the This is My Era planner.
If you are content to manage your time, the old tried and true “Planners that are really calendars” are perfectly sufficient. But if you have dreams that you want to make happen. If you want to rethink your life in terms of actually making the things you want, the life you want for yourself, happen, you’d best think about one of these newer planners.
Why? They actually let you plan.
Planning involves knowing what you want to accomplish, breaking it down into achievable chunks, and then doing the work. The new planners help us do just that.
Most of them have a section that asks you to pick some goals. The best of them use the SMART system. This means that the goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
Why goals? Because without goals, we have no idea where we are going and no path to follow to get there. We are just wandering through life. You end up like this exchange in Alice in Wonderland:
“Cat: Where are you going?
Alice: Which way should I go?
Cat: That depends on where you are going.
Alice: I don’t know.
Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
The best planners help us sort out the goals we have, using the SMART system. They help us sort out the goals and destinations that make sense. But that’s not all.
They also break those goals down. What are the steps we can do to get there? Who are the people we need to talk to get there? This takes some thinking and honesty because you want to make sure that they are achievable in the time you are allotted (Most of the best planners work on a quarterly basis).
Then, once you have the goals and steps, there is a calendar component that challenges you to make sure every day, or every week you actually do the work. What I like about these planners is that if I start the week out marking things to do that have to reach my goals, I can work everything else around those goals.
Most of the time we do it the other way around. We mark in all the stuff of life, and if there is any time left. We work on the goals. A planner, a real planner, puts the priorities right.
Most of the real planners also have tools to encourage you. Often they have quotes, gratitude journals and most importantly, places to review your progress.
So what do you want to do this year? What do you want to accomplish? What do you want change? It’s doable. And a planner will help. Pick a good one. As I say, I use the This is My Era planner. I think it has everything you need, well thought out. I’ve used it for a year now, and I’m an evangelist, often recommending them to my coaching clients, but others work for people. The important thing is that we take the discipline to work the system.
We’ve got half a month left before the new year. Check some out. Make a small investment in a real planner, and let it make a difference in your success.
Be well. Travel wisely,
PS: I don’t get anything from “This Is My Era” but you might. Go visit their site, look it over, then like, comment or send me a direct message or email and I will choose a person at random to get a free planner.
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