Lost time is never found again.”Benjamin Franklin
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My planning approach leverages numerous paper and digital platforms to ensure I don’t lose track of ideas or time! In my last planning post, where I discussed the gaps between a failure to plan and a failure to strive, I mentioned the life categories I utilize to chart the course for my planning and, in effect, my life. For those of you who enjoy lifestyle planning and strategy, I thought I’d share my planning approach across the various tools I use!
I’ve tried using Happy Planner for well over a year now and while I don’t find it sufficient as a whole life planner, I do find it exceptional for exploration of various projects I’m working on related to various life categories! I have divided sections for planning theories, volunteer work, consulting projects, pet sitting training, and more. The ability to reorganize pages and the entire notebook structure are exceptionally helpful for me during ideation phases!
For years I’ve wanted to create a resource journal and this is the year I’m at last tackling it! My resource journal is a far more curated bullet journal. It serves as a repository for the interesting things my husband and I learn that we may want to refer back to in the future. It’s designed to prevent me from scanning through all of my other planners for such resources and is designed as a sort of encyclopedic journal series that will be added to over the decades!
Entirely based upon the weekly Franklin Covey Planner set up I used from 2010 through 2016, my bullet journal is essentially a day planner with corresponding annual, quarterly, monthly, and weekly views. I take all of my actionable ideas and intentions from my various planning materials and assign them to myself in the bullet journal. This ensures that my big picture, long term goals are put into action via my daily plans!
Digital Planning & Apps
A dear friend of mine introduced me to most of these digital planning apps/platforms and they have made a world of difference in how I navigate planning.
Imagine Microsoft Excel like a cute, short legged Corgi. Now picture a nimble, sleek, elegant Greyhound. Airtable is the Greyhound! Airtable is an online planning platform that is extremely customize-able. You can plan tasks, categorizing them by deadline, topic, urgency, and more, while linking the to various other spreadsheets to have a holistic, comprehensive project plan that can be adapted whenever. I use Airtable to plan larger projects, after ideation in Happy Planner is complete and before assigning myself tasks in my bullet journal.
I find a lot of use in the Google Suite, but Google Slides has forever been a favorite of mine. The layouts are quite handy anytime I need to throw a project together. I’m very imagery oriented, and like using visuals as a shortcut in my ideation phase when I’m piecing together ideas, lists, and examples. I find it works quite well on mobile, too!
My husband found this gem years ago. We use it for shopping lists, event reminders, deadlines, and a repository for our various ideas ranging for Halloween costumes to Christmas shopping lists. It eliminates so many other productivity oriented apps for both of us!
Fabriq is a delightful app used to stay abreast of social relationships. Based on the circles of influence model, it helps you to define key relationships and pings you with reminders to connect. You can store birthdays and record quality of interactions and more!
This is a very secure messaging platform that also enables voice and video calls. You can create different channels based on topic, have group chats, use searchable hash tags, send ADORABLE stickers, and more! I use the “saved” message feature to send myself important links and documents so that my phone screen isn’t littered with various websites.
This Catholic app is exceptionally well organized. It contains readings according to the liturgical calendar, prayers, and a very intuitive electronic bible that allows you to take notes and highlight passages. I highly recommend it, even if you are Protestant! It’s a peerless bible study tool.
Using Different Planners
My planning process is definitely rather widespread, but it works for me! I find it helps me to stay properly committed to my intentions without putting too much pressure on myself to keep track of everything every single moment. It allows me to create a perfect, rich mix of short and long term planning while de-cluttering my brain of all the inspiration and thoughts I have on a day to day basis. I’d much rather have a chaotic, messy bookshelf full of different planners than a chaotic, messy mind full of unrealized dreams.