Failing to Plan, Is Planning to Fail!

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Welcome back to another edition of Business & Budgets! Today I will be helping you figure out a plan of action to truly meet your goals this year. The first step to achieving your goals is to map out a plan. One of my favorite quotes states, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." I don't know about you but I've had more than enough failures and I am ready to plan something different.

The first thing you need to determine is your planning style. Are you more of a digital planner or a paper & pen person? I know that some people like both, but for the sake of clarity and efficiency I have separated the two. Once you determine a style you can then decide which apps or planners would work best for you. Use these tools to make your life easier, don't make things too complicated by attempting to use too many tools at once. I always encourage use you to try out a few options before making a decision, but once you make a decision stick to it so that the tool can be useful. Otherwise you end up with 3 planners, 8 apps and way too much confusion.

Digital Planning Tips

Choose one calendar! Utilizing multiple calendars typically leads to things being double booked or completely missed. To avoid having a stressful situation or a missed opportunity select one calendar and stick to it. There is nothing wrong with syncing your calendars to one another (i.e. Apple calendar events appear on your Google calendar), just be sure to be consistent. Be sure to stick notification reminders on your events and include the commute to ensure you are on time. If you are a person who wears many hats look into setting up multiple calendars within the same app. For example, within my Google Calendar I have 3 calendars, one for home tasks, one for business and one for miscellaneous events. They are all a different color so that I can quickly review my calendar and know what's going on.

Use apps. Find tools that work for you, that will assist with the planning and executing process. These apps will help hold you accountable and help you meet your goals. Here are the top apps that I recommend:

  • BeFocused Pro

  • ​To-Do List to track completed and upcoming pomodoros (20 minutes of focused activity)

  • Track number of daily pomodoros and allows you to set a daily goal

  • Focus to Do

  • ​Can create projects and then assign number of pomodoros required to complete each

  • Analytical data on when and how long you continuously work

  • Done

  • ​Allows you to keep track of daily re-occurring goals

  • Review weekly or monthly to track your progress

Paper Planning Tips

Everyone has a different mindset and different set of goals, so picking a planner is personal. Determine which of these planner types best fits your style.

  • Open Planners: Minimal structure and tons of open space

  • Big and Small Planners: Space for short term and long term goals, most have vision board and topic breakdowns

  • Standard Planners: Space for scheduling re-occurring and daily tasks, similar to student planners

All of these types of planners can be found in the options below. Find a planner that fits you and what you need to thrive in your goals. Make sure you choose a planner that you can easily carry. If you typically carry a purse and not a backpack, a 5x7 planner will work for you better than a 8x10 because you can fit the smaller one in your purse. I have not used all of these planners, but I have highlighted the features of each based on my research.

  1. Day Designer Planner

  • Big and small planner

  • Overview of goals, from big picture to daily routines broken down on the first pages

  • Two-sided pocket and gold stickers for date and task highlights

  • Section for top three to-dos daily and space for evening tasks

  1. Simple Elephant Planner

  • ​Undated big and small planner

  • Space for gratitude, affirmations and overall goals

  • Open space for a mindmap and vision board to keep your reasons why in the forefront

  • Space for weekly recaps to reflect on progress and where there is room for improvement

  1. Daily Planner

  • Undated big and small planner

  • Set daily goals for entire year or track your emotional/mental state on each day

  • Monthly overview for the entire year to schedule bigger goals and track progress annually

  • Over 20 ruled pages to draw or map out goals, thoughts, affirmations or current to-dos

  1. Minimalist Student Planner

  • ​Open planner

  • Monthly space for goal setting on a personal, family and community level

  • Sketch corner every week for doodling

  • Grid dots instead of lines, hourly breakdown under open space daily

  1. Bloom Daily Planner, Bound To-Do List

  • ​Standard planner, to-do list based

  • Water counter and daily meal planner for all three meals

  • Tear out pages with daily to-do lists

  • Space for daily to-dos, must dos, to buy, important times and statements of gratitude

  1. Bloom Daily Undated Planner

  • ​Undated big and small planner

  • Vision board for the year

  • No timestamps on the daily planner spaces

  • Quotes of inspiration and monthly reflection questions

  1. Mead Monthly Planner

  • ​Big and small planner

  • Space to list passwords

  • Unruled, open blocks for daily planning

  • Space to plan monthly goals for next year

  1. The Path Planner, Gift Set for Her

  • ​Big and small planner

  • Goal sheet broken down into habits required, milestones and rewards

  • Weekly goal plan tracks daily habits and