Have you ever found yourself working with a planner, planning assiduously, and then completing tasks in a way no less haphazard than before you started using it? Well, it could be that you need to work on your planning diligence and discipline. However, it’s also very likely that you have the wrong planner.
And this can be a complicated matter because there are two reasons why you planner might be failing you – it’s the wrong planner for what you’re planning, or it is just the wrong planner for you!
There is a loose industry standard when it comes to planner types. While this can vary and there’s also room for personal innovation, the five main planner types are the daily layout, the monthly layout, and three different types of weekly layout – vertical, horizontal, and hourly. As you might expect, the tasks you need to plan have a bearing on the right type of planner for you. Does that task need to begin at 3 P.M. on the 25th and end at 5 P.M.? Then the hourly planner might be for you.
But, as mentioned, it isn’t just what you have to plan. There is also the matter of your personal planning style – and you shouldn’t simply assume that you automatically know what this is! Next Level Daily, a Redding, California company producing a variety of planners – from the daily journal planner to the habit journal – advise that how you plan is deeply related to your psychology and conscious preferences.
Most Common Planning Mistakes
Thus far things have been pretty general. What can we offer in the way of more practical advice for choosing the right planner or adapting your planning technique? Well, a period of trial and error is to be expected. There’s no alternative to simply selecting a planner you think might work well and then trying it out.
What we can do is go over the most common reasons that planners fail. Enter your period of trial and error, watch out for these, and you should soon realize how to go about your planning.
Your Planner Actively Hinders You
But how do you know if it’s hindering you? Well, there are a few questions you can ask yourself. Is the planner realistic to the life you’re leading right now? Is it fun to plan? Is the design simple enough for you to clearly extract information at a glance? If the answer to any of these is “no”, then your current planner is probably slowing you down more than anything else.
You Expect it To Be Perfect
Another reason for your planner woes could be that you stopped using a planner that worked simply because it wasn’t perfect. Unless the planner is designed and made by you personally, it’s not going to have every feature that you might have wanted or find useful. The solution is to the find the closest fit and then customize the planner to include the extra features that you want. You could be drawing habit trackers in the notes page of a weekly planner, for example.
You Don’t Have a Planner Process
Sometimes, the problem doesn’t lie with the planner at all, but how you’re using it. With all planners, there are a few steps to progress through. You should first plan in the smaller tasks to see what time you have for the bigger ones; you should have some way of tracking your progress towards a goal, and so on. Sometimes, the problem is you.
Regardless of what – our who – is the culprit behind your planning woes, the sheer variety of planners out there bodes well for finding the right one.