If you’re anything like me, ‘tis this season for spending 45 bucks on some “must-have” planner, only to use it four or five times in January, feel guilty in February, and then finally recycle it in March.
What if there were a better way? (I mean, come on, we know there is.)
Instead of spending an excessive amount on a premade planner, pop into your local convenience store, grab a $3 notebook, and follow along here. (Or buy a slightly swankier journal at your local bookshop. Sometimes aesthetics inspire action.)
Questions to Focus Your Year Ahead
On the first page of the notebook, write the following questions:
What is my biggest career goal for the year?
What do I have to accomplish each quarter to achieve that?
What do I have to accomplish each month to achieve those?
Spend some time to consider your answers to these questions. If you’re like me, you might want to jot down ideas on a piece of scrap paper so you can keep your journal (well, at least the first page of it!) “clean.”
But really: take some time. These are big questions that will help guide your year and your goals for the year. When you’re off track, you can revisit your answers to refocus yourself.
Build in time to sleep on your answers. You’ll likely find that a bit more comes up as you think about them and let ideas percolate.
Your Weekly and Daily Planner Pages
For the month of January, write the date and day of the week for each day at the top of each page. (Use both sides of the page—this planner is eco-conscious.)
At the beginning of each week, write the question:
What do I have to accomplish this week to get me closer to my goal?
And at the top of each day’s page, write:
What is the ONE thing I need to do today to move closer to my goal?
The “Other” Stuff
And that, my friends, is the crux of an effective planner. You’ll plan and know your goals and milestones, and then you’ll make it clear what you need to do every day to get closer to those goals.
But what about all the other stuff? The gratitude lists? The “how do I want to feel today?” prompts? The glitter stickers?
Those things are all great and, if they make a huge difference for you, then feel free to use them. But for most of us, those extra bells and whistles just distract us from the things that really make a difference: deciding what our top priority is and taking action on that.
Our Teams’ Planner Recommendations
We love the sentiments on these journals. “Let’s Do This” and “Anything is Possible” are great reminders that we can accomplish anything we set out to do. There’s a plain black option, too, if you prefer a cleaner look.
Ah, the classic Moleskine notebook. Signature notebook of writers around the world. We love the hardcover versions in the “large” size. It’s large enough to fit you to-dos, but small enough to throw in your bag when you’re heading to work from the coffeeshop.
Do you want to make real difference in your career? Let me know if you’re up for taking the cheap-o (but actually effective) 2024 planner challenge in the comments below! 🙂
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Last Updated on February 22, 2024