I’m guessing that you want to be more productive and accomplish more each day than you are now. Yet despite your best intentions and efforts – it isn’t working out the way you want it to.
That might be due in part to the tools you are using. If your systems and tools are too complicated or burdensome the reality is that you simply will not use them consistently enough to get any real benefits from them. If that’s the case – don’t worry. There is a better way to do things – and a way that will work for you too.
Choose a Better Tool for the Job
I love woodworking and just building and making things, and woodworking provides some good comparisons for our current topic. When you build things you need tools to do it. Some tools are good and produce excellent results, so long as they are used correctly and with skill.
But try using the wrong tool and the results are not going to be good. It will also be a frustrating process instead of an enjoyable one too!
Even when you have the high-end tools that are more than capable of doing the work – they too are worthless if they sit untouched and idle.
The key is to use the right tool for the job and have that tool readily available, and know how to use it. If it is too complicated and takes too long to set up and get it ready – chances are it isn’t going to be used very often. On the other hand – a tool that is simple but powerful, quick, and easy to use and always kept readily accessible and available gets used a lot more. The more it gets used the better the skill of the person using it gets too.
One of your most important tools for improving your productivity is your planner.
Yet very often people buy planners that are too complicated, too fancy, too high tech or otherwise not the right fit for maximizing productivity for them. Others try using multiple planners – and that is a big mistake!
You are only one person and you only have twenty-four hours in each day. Therefore you only need ONE planner!
What happens when people try to use multiple planners is that they make it so complicated they invariably forget to carry things over from one to the other – and they wind up missing important meetings and events. Other times they have multiple people show up for an appointment at the same time! That’s embarrassing and it is not going to impress the people whose time is wasted as a result of it either.
So let’s focus on that for now.
Choose a planner. It doesn’t really matter who makes it or what planner it is – but do keep in mind simple and easy means it is more likely it will get used.
Do some research and find one you like – then order it.
When Your Planner Arrives
Take it out of the box or package. Spend some quiet time with it. Seriously… take an hour or two where you can be left alone and uninterrupted to study and then set up your new planner.
Flip through it cover to cover and learn all of its features. Read any literature that may come with it – and if the publisher has a site with a tutorial or course go there now and take it. Even if they don’t – search YouTube and maybe you can find some videos made by other users that can help you.
Next start planning!
Open the thing up to TODAY. Make some entries and put a note that today is the date you started using this planner and what your initial impressions and thoughts are. Then change pages to tomorrow.
Make a task list for key things you want to accomplish. No more than 7, and maybe even less than that. Make it something relatively easy for now. If there are any specific time events such as a meeting or training event you need to attend or conduct schedule it accordingly.
Next – put your planner somewhere you can not possibly forget to take it with you. Maybe put it on the counter with your keys and wallet/purse on top of it, or if necessary go put the thing in the middle of the driver’s seat of your car. Some people leave it on the corner of their desk, and that may work for you too – if you have a private office. If you have a home office that’s even better.
Where ever you put it – put it somewhere you will be certain to see it.
Building a Planning Habit
All new things take both time and effort. This is no different and it will take extra effort and self-discipline for a little while until you can begin to form a habit using your planner consistently each and every day. That is what we are after now.
In fact building this habit is more important than the actual use of the planner to accomplish things is right now. Yes, we want to do that too – and you can and should. But the main thing you are really working on is building a new habit that can and will help you do better from now on for the rest of your life.
The key is consistency.
Just get in the habit of keeping your planner with you – or at least accessible at all times, and then use it all day every day. As you accomplish tasks check them off. As you develop new tasks make sure you write them down in your planner. This is one of the reasons you need a paper planner in a binder of some kind. Not just an app or a program on a computer – but an old technology paper planner in a binder.
Think of it this way – if what you have been doing up till now has not been working for you and you have not been able to improve your productivity… then what have you possibly got to lose by at least trying this?
So try it.
Do this for three months consistently every day and it will change your life for the better.