As a busy-bee with lots of daydreams, multiple careers, and a slight streak of perfectionism, I've always had a need to plan ahead and be organised. There's something very exciting and satisfying about drawing up dreams and goals on paper and ticking off to-do list items.
Over time, I've used a range of physical stationery tools and digital planner apps, and I thought I'd share the planning system I use at the moment. This is likely to change over time, as I prefer to keep things new and fresh.
But for now, I like my combo of physical and digital tools. I've listed them below, and described how I use them.
A few times a year, I set aside some time to visualise and redesign my goals. For this, I use the worksheets that we offer as a free download. They're fantastic as a guide, and flexible enough to be adapted. I recently wrote a comprehensive post on this specific kit and how I use it - take a look here.
Every Sunday, I spend a little bit of time planning for the week ahead. I usually take a look at my monthly spread in my planner to note any events or birthdays. I'll also note the goal to focus on for the month and week, and any actions or tasks. Then, I'll plan exercise and meals for the week.
I don't use my daily planner for to-do lists or to manage my schedule very often - more on this below. However, I do use my planner as a log of events, using a similar logging system to bullet journalling. Generally, I add a bullet point to take note of something that happened, and squares for any specific tasks (but as mentioned, not often).
Another reason for a physical planner is as a gratitude journal. Each day, I spend a few minutes writing down things I'm grateful for.
Some days I'll also use a daily notepad, in particular on stressful days when my to-do list is long and my schedule full. I'll then transfer 5 tasks at a time from my to-do list and key appointments and meetings from my calendar. This helps me in two ways. Firstly, I can avoid feeling overwhelmed. Secondly, the notepad is easy to have on my desk, keeping it visually available at all times.
This is one of my favourite digital tools. I find myself creating a lot of projects, with tasks and sub-tasks, and keeping all this in print would require constant updating. Instead, I use Asana both for team management, to run Up & Atem, and for personal projects. It's easy to create a project as a board (if you're familiar with Trello) or as a list.
Tasks can be scheduled, assigned, tagged, liked, and commented on. This is a true timesaver for me. Plus, it's free!
It fits into my planning system as the 'master list of all tasks', and I might transfer tasks from Asana to my physical planner or notepad depending on how I want to manage my day.
Similar to my task management, I find it the easiest to manage my day-to-day schedule digitally. Some days I'm booked from morning to night, and my schedule is constantly updated. It would require too much admin to keep a physical calendar, and this also isn't sharable with whoever I'm meeting with.
However, I sometimes transfer my schedule to my planner or notepad, depending on what I've got on for the day.
We plan, schedule, and manage a lot of content for Up & Atem. From social media to The New Executive blog and our newsletter. From daily photos, behind the scenes, competitions, and holiday content.
I love using a wall calendar for content planning. Each month, we plan content for all our channels, and tick off when they have been scheduled or posted. A little tip that helps me is adding a coloured legend to the bottom, assigning a colour for each channel.
This gives you a brief insight into my current planning system, and hopefully shows you how I use a combination of physical and digital planning tools. However, everyone works differently and you might find a system that works better for you.
Do you have a planning system? If so, share by commenting below.
The New Executive
Comments will be approved before showing up.
What do you do, when working hard is defined by the number of hours you work? Do you care about perception?