Everyone experiences periods of life when life events make it harder to keep up with your plans. At times like these, you may feel like your daily planning sessions have become less effective, that you’re stuck in a planning rut.
The key to getting back on track with your planning is to analyze what’s working for you, and to change what isn’t. Just because a certain planning style has served you well in the past doesn’t mean that it will continue to do so. Your life changes constantly, and your planning system should keep up.
If you feel like you’re stuck in a planning rut, the solution may be to try a different planner format. Ask yourself these six questions to see how your current planner is meeting your needs:
- What are your planning priorities?
Are you using your planner primarily for business? Are you a busy parent, or an active member of your community? Or does your life include all of these aspects? Maybe you’re moving into a more creative role at work and need more space to connect your tasks and your notes. Or perhaps you’ve retired and your schedule has new space for different goals. Your planner needs to adapt to your new goals.
- When do you plan?
With your schedule, how much time and effort do you spend on planning? The honest answer is likely “as little as possible,” as the point of planning is to increase your efficiency in accomplishing your other goals. Select your daily or weekly planning format accordingly. If you’re consistently running out of space in your weekly planner, or leaving blank pages in your two-pages-per-day planner, then it’s time to consider switching.
- How do systems beyond your control (work schedule, coordinating schedules with others, etc) affect your plans?
Perhaps your younger kids are becoming more involved in extracurricular activities, filling January 2016 with more appointments than any three months in 2015, and you need more space to schedule them all. A more traditional design like Leadership might give you the structure to keep the parental chauffeur service up and running.
- How do you track your progress toward your goals?
You can’t accomplish a goal that you can’t measure. If you’re working toward goals with specific values, like increasing your savings or counting calories, a planner with a Daily Tracker section gives you a great tool for capturing your progress in an easy-to-reference place.
- What are the end results of my planning sessions?
If you’re seeing your goals become reality, then you know that your planning system is working. If you find that you’re giving up on certain goals, however, then it’s worth investigating a new planner format.
If your life is in a period of transition, or if you’re unsure of the best format for you, consider the Dot Grid Planner. With each day a blank canvas of dots, you can craft a plan for your changing needs. Draw more appointments on a busy Saturday, or highlight an important task in the center of Monday morning to hit your workweek running.
While everyone gets stuck in a planning rut now and then, thankfully, you don’t have to stay there when you do. When you select the right planner format, you’re already on your way to accomplishing your goals.