Planners Know Best: 4 Things To Consider When Planning A Successful Week, Month, Or Year!
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” - Benjamin Franklin
We’ve all heard this quote from the Founding Father himself, and for good reason: it’s a popular saying that emphasizes the importance of making plans. If you’re a planner like we are, then you already know firsthand how vital preparation is when it comes to seeing things through. May it be a task, your lifetime goals, or just the day’s chores, you can never go wrong if you’ve got a well thought out plan.
But here’s the truth: not everyone begins the week, much less their day, with one. Often, people have a vague idea of what to expect, and that’s all they go by—they have nothing concrete and instead of doing the dictating themselves, the events of the week, month, or year dictate what they get accomplished. In the end, they have very little control over when and how things get done, rendering them unable to maximize their own time and productivity.
Thankfully, we’ve put together this list to help you out if you’re still on the fence about keeping a planner of your own. Here are four things to consider in order to successfully plan out a week, month, and even an entire year!
1. First thing’s first, what’s important to you?
That’s right. You. We’re not talking about anyone else: not your family members or partner, not even your boss. The key here is figuring out the priorities that matter to you because knowing what they are can help you sort them out in the next twenty-four hours, thirty days, or twelve months! Pick a few and write them down. These will act as the foundations of your planning.
Need a planner that you can use any time of the year? Then look no further: our Planner Refill has six monthly spreads and twenty-six weekly spreads with only the days of the week filled in—this means you’re free to start planning in the middle of February or the beginning of December! Just write down the month and dates, and you’re all set.
2. Ready, set, schedule!
Since you already know what your priorities are, it’s time to take a look at your Planner and start writing things down. Projects, important events, long term goals, milestones… take note of them all and assign them their respective due dates. It doesn’t mean these things are set in stone though: instead, having an overview like this provides a snapshot of what you want to achieve, which can help for two reasons: it’ll be easier to make a timeline to success if you know when something is due, and you’ll have a reference for when you need to move or reschedule certain items.
Note: don’t forget to be SMART even with the items in your schedule! SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Just as goals should be clear, tangible, realistic, and set within a timeframe, so does your schedule since it will be your guide to getting things done.
Field Journal Refill
3. How about a habit tracker?
Is it overkill to add a habit tracker on top of your planner? We don’t think so! This is because getting just about anything done—whether that’s achieving a goal or following a schedule—relies on certain behavior that is a result of our habits. However, it’s important that we only let good habits stick, and having a tracker for this can be an empowering tool that will serve as encouragement, especially when things get difficult as it provides visual proof of our amazing progress.
We’ve already looked at four reasons why you should start a habit tracker here, as well as put together a list of things to track in a separate article. And the perfect medium for tracking itself? Our Dot Grid refill. Imagine a chart with an X axis and Y axis. Write the dates along the top X axis and habits down the left side of the Y axis. This video shows you exactly how to set it up.
4. Reflect on the past to improve the present and ensure a better future.
At the root of it all, it’s important to look back. The only way a planner will work is if we look not just inward but the past too, sorting through what did and didn’t work and figuring out what to keep doing so we can plan accordingly. For example: when you tried to work out in the past but failed to make a habit out of it, what were the possible reasons you weren’t able to follow through? Did you set an impossible goal? Perhaps instead of working out every day, doing it two to three times a week is more ideal. It’s easy to make excuses—you’re busy and just don’t have the time, it’s not a priority, among other things—but plans only become successful if you’re honest with yourself.
There are many other aspects to planning, but these are four of the most important ones that we want to shine a light on. Through prioritizing, proper scheduling, good habits, and complete honesty with ourselves, any one of us can plan our way to success, whatever our endeavors might be.
What are other important considerations for you when it comes to planning for the future? What has worked out for you that’s not on this list? Let us know by leaving a comment—we’d love to hear about it from you!