The in and out of a year planner
Year planner! year planner!!year planner!!! In my last article, I shared how I started using a year planner and a bit of my experience. It was one of the best decisions I made this year. Here are some of the benefits I enjoyed:
- I had a proper plan for my day
- I had a place to pen down my dreams, ideas and goals
- I had a year’s plan written down
- Better time management
- I hardly forgot important things
- Procrastination was reduced to the nearest minimum
- I could track my progress
- I hit more goals
- I had all my ideas in one book
“Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.” ― Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
I will go ahead to talk about a comment a reader made on my last post “I used to coast along too without much plans for the year. Then I started making plans, though for me, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a new month, week or year. I’d just write what I wanted to achieve within the period. But big mistake I made, which I think most others make is not to write out strategic steps to meet those goals.
So “the what” gets written but “the how” is not included. Back to zero point.
All thanks to my improvised planner, basically a jotter I made lines in. I wrote plans and then steps to carry them out. As you said, I was able to track progress and employ alternatives. Now, I have extra ginger from you to go write for 2019. Well done J!”
This got me thinking, not everybody who uses a year planner gets to enjoy the benefits. A planner would be like every other jotter you have if you are not deliberate with it. I must say there were days when I did not touch my planner, it just stayed there on the bed. Days rolled into weeks and there was nothing to show for it, then I realised, you just have to use this thing girl. A planner allows you the luxury of writing out a goal, then going further to expand on how to achieve this goal. If you don’t do that, you just might never achieve the goal.
Let’s take a practical example, flash back to when I convened an online class, starting up and sustaining enterprises as a youth in Africa. I had never done anything like it before, I thought to myself, what do I need to host and online class? I wrote in my planner:
- Registration forms
- An online platform to host the class
- Posters for publicity etc.
I took off from there, I wrote down the names of facilitators I had in mind, reached out to them, fixed a date, made posters. I ranked everything I needed to do in their order of priority and dealt with them bit by bit. I was very busy with school at that time but with taking a task at a time, it was possible to organise the class even with my busy schedule.
Some problems I faced while using a planner:
You know they say everything with advantages also has its disadvantages, I feel that is true to an extent. There are some things I had to deal with while I using a planner. If you plan to use one, then I think you should know about this too and how to deal with it accordingly.
- Lack of reflection
Like I have mentioned before, there were days I didn’t open my planner at all. I felt like I was too busy, but I got to discover that this is a fallacy. How can you be too busy for something that helps you manage your busy schedule? Truth is, you can wake up in the morning feeling like you have a plan mapped out in your head. If you do not write it down, two things are bound to happen: 1) you forget all about that plan 2) at the end of the day, you realise you did little or nothing.
I had to debunk the feeling of being too busy for my planner. On a very busy day, when I cannot think of a day’s plan before setting out I take the planner in my bag. When I’m settled I draft my plan immediately.
Let’s also remember that, a plan doesn’t have to be something big, mine looks like this, sometimes:
- I call mum today
- I read a chapter of goals by Brian Tracy today
- I go to school today
- I take breakfast today
The little things that would help your productivity matters in your day’s plan. Remember, “Little drops of water make the mighty ocean”.
Lack of reflection
This happens to me even with my books. I write things down and I never go back to read it. This habit did not really affect my daily plans, it took a toll on my year plan. When I finally opened the plan recently, I discovered I had only achieved 5 out of 10 goals. Now I know better, to keep reviewing my plans and not getting caught up with the daily plans that I forget the big picture. The long and short of the story is, always go back to read anything you write down. It’s quite easy to forget them.
When you write down some really big goals and somehow you do not seem to be hitting it, it can be discouraging. You might start to feel unnecessarily pressured. This can even happen when you write down your days’ plan and at the end of the day you really could not do much, pressure might set in. In times like this, I focus on those things I could tick off my list. I reflect on the big goals I have hit in the past. I go ahead to tell myself: If I could do them, then I can also do this too.
Never forget the what and how in everything you do, not just with your planner.
Till next time,