I’m a firm believer in setting goals to attain the things I want out of life. Because I have multiple positions and maintain a very busy schedule, my calendar is vital to my success. In the digital age we live in, there are no shortages of electronic calendars and scheduling systems. While I do use a digital calendar, I haven’t been able to totally give up my paper calendar. It has been a challenge, however, to find a single calendar/planner to suit my needs. For the most part, my days aren’t scheduled by the hour, so a daily hour by hour calendar doesn’t fit my lifestyle. A simple monthly calendar doesn’t allow me the space I need to schedule tasks and activities.
As I mentioned at the opening of this post, I use goals to get me where I want to go. Traditional planners and calendars don’t really build in priority and task management, which brings me to why I’m writing this blog post. Last fall I discovered Natalie MacNeil’s “Conquer Your Year” planner. I like to take my annual goals and break them down into quarterly goals. Natalie’s planner is focused on the same concept. Not only does this planner incorporate quarterly goals, she calls sprints, but it also helps you track new habits you’re trying to form, daily exercise, water intake and gratitude. She has also build in weekly reflections. Another component I like is that she includes tools for goal formation and action plan generation like setting your milestones and brainstorming action steps/tasks associated with each goal. As a part of the action step brainstorming there is a prompt for you to load all the identified tasks into a task manager. I use the Todoist app as my task manager (you can read more about it in this blog post).It was as if Natalie reached inside my head and put all the processes I go through for setting and achieving goals, then expanded upon it by adding inspirational quotes, weekly intention and priorities, and others.
The planner isn’t dated, so you can begin at any point in the year. There is a place to write the date of the “week of.” I decided to add the date to each day, just to make life a little easier for me. I fill in about one month out. I still use a monthly calendar so that I can see the month at a glance and know what events and trips I have coming up. It also helps keep me from overbooking myself. If I have events back to back, I’ll block out time to relax or go visit family. I carry the Conquer Your Year Planner with me every day and refer to it multiple times a day. I often leave it open on my desk as a reminder of what my priority tasks are.
As you can see, Natalie pretty much covered all the bases in the “Conquer Your Year” Planner. I’m coming to the close of my first sprint and have found this planner to be an invaluable tool. I’d love to hear from you. What type of planner or system do you use to stay on top of your goals?