Monday, July 11, 2011
The Woman's Success Planner
Okay everybody, hang onto yourselves. This is a big one!!
I first discovered the Woman's Success Planner when Amy commented about it in my Interesting Planners I've Never Tried post. I couldn't resist buying the entire year's worth of planners. Thank you Amy for pointing this planner out to me!! It. Is. Amazing!!!!
First of all, you need to go look at Rori's review of the Woman's Success Planner Third Quarter, then take a look at her follow-up post on how she's using it. When you're done, come back.
My friends, you know I've seen a lot of planners. I can easily say this is the most comprehensive planner I've ever seen. It incorporates planning, goal setting, journaling, household routines, personal growth and more all set into the planner's structure. I spoke with Pamela Adams Henrie, the creator of the Woman's Success Planner, and she said she does a ton of reading and research to produce these planners. Let me explain.
Each planner holds one quarter of the year. I started with the current quarter, July August and September, but you can jump in any time. I'll pretend we are starting at the beginning of the year and walk you through.
Here is a photo of the goal setting pages at the beginning of the year. (These particular pages are from my First Quarter 2012 planner). I love how the worksheets get you to think about what you want and how to get there. The fairy godmother question made me cry! It just gets you to think very specifically about what you want to change. (Click on any of the photos for a larger view.)
Here is the Monthly Tasks page. Each month there are lists of seasonal maintenance and decoration inside the house and out, and a list of fruits and veg in season, which is a wonderful reference. There is also a big space to list your ongoing tasks:
When you open the monthly calendar (printed on recycled card stock which is darker and heavier than the other pages to allow you to find the monthly calendars easily) you see the entire month across the two-page spread with a motivational quote at the top, Blooming Ideas down the side, and space for Notes at the bottom of the pages. Here you can also see how I've written my Fly Lady Zones into the monthly pages:
The right page is weekly goal-setting with topics of Weekly Personal Goals and Tasks, Every Week Tasks (household cleaning and maintenance) and below is a meal planning worksheet for the week including a shopping list.
I use the meal planning area like crazy because usually my husband is the chef, but he just doesn't have time anymore with his new job so it's up to me to feed us. I use this space not only for meal planning but also notes on what my picky daughter liked and didn't (no onions in the meatloaf next time!) and any special ingredients this week (as in, what was on sale) that I can incorporate into meals.
The paper is recycled, cream colored with tiny flecks in it, and super-thick. I use Sharpie pens, Sakura Microns and Staedtler Fineliners and there is absolutely no show-through or even shadow on the opposite side of the page! The paper is spectacular. (And a side-note, all Success Planner products are made in the USA.)
Then you turn the page and it's your weekly schedule spread. Click on the photo to enlarge because there's a lot going on with these pages. At the top of the pages are reference calendars for last-this-next month, and a motivational quote on the monthly theme.
Below that is a Health Tracker (which is wonderful because often we women are so busy taking care of everyone else, this reminds us we need to take care of ourselves too!). There are spaces to check off that you're drinking your water, eating your five fruit and veg per day, getting your exercise, and a space to personalize to track medication, vitamins, or anything else you want. (Let me just say, it's easy for me to THINK I'm getting my 5 a day, but when I started recording it I realized I wasn't!!)
Along the very bottom of the pages are daily tasks that are numbered so you can check them off (to give yourself credit for those daily chores as Pamela told me, very clever!) Next year's planners have added an 8th blank space for you to fill in yourself with any daily task:
Click on the photo below to see how I have adapted the spaces to record learning activities I do with my kids, and a separate section on blog posts. In the space at the left I write my Resolutions for the month and anything else I want to focus on:
Also I marked out "sort mail" because I only get mail twice per month, and added "laundry" because I have a tiny washing machine and if I don't do at least two loads each day I fall woefully behind!
When you turn the page after the weekly schedule, you come to the End Of Week Review which gets you to reflect and record what went well or not so well, gratitude/ inspirations, and any other notes. I use the space at the bottom left to record Financial things like weekly totals for checking, savings and credit cards, major expenses that week etc. I had never done an end of week review before, but after having done it once I'm hooked. This is an extremely important exercise to keep you on track!
Then you turn the page and it's the goals for the next week. Below you can see my notes on how I use the page on the left for multi-step lists, and the goals space on the right page to focus on my goals that week:
Then after the monthly calendars there is a planning page carrying you through an entire additional 12 months, with several pages of notes at the back of the book. So in the First Quarter 2012 planner, you get Future Planning for all of 2013:
That gives you two entire years of planning in each quarterly book.
At the very back of the book there is a plastic sheet to hold business cards and a top-opening envelope to hold any bits:
Inside the front and back covers are tips and instructions on how to use your planner.
I have to admit I was a little overwhelmed the first couple of days I used it, because there is just so much to this planner. But it even says not to feel like you have to do everything all at once, but do things as you are ready for them.
A big difference between this planner and any other I've used is this one holds you accountable. Not only does it help you set goals, but it checks back to make sure you are actually doing things to reach those goals. The weekly evaluation is especially important to help you reflect on your progress. And this continues throughout the year.
The first two pages in the July-Aug-Sept quarter are Midyear Planning to get you to reflect back on what your Annual Goals were for this year, decide which are still relevant, and get you back on track if you've gone astray:
So throughout the entire year you set goals annually, mid-year, monthly and weekly. You then review each week, month, half-year and year. This is absolutely amazing. You can track your progress and evaluate your goals along the way.
Included in with my planners was this little silver binder clip, which I adore beyond reason:
And when I open it to the right I see my current week's goals:
I ordered the year's worth of planners for my sister, and we received our planners on the same day. When we spoke on the phone that day she said, "I feel like today is the first day of the rest of my life!" I feel the same way. Whatever your goals are, this planner is an excellent tool to get you there. The motivational themes and quotes give you direction; the plethora of pages for notes and journaling mean no idea will escape uncaptured; and the goal setting pages get you to focus on what you really want. And like I said before, the regular reviews of your accomplishments allow you to know exactly where you are on the path toward your goals.
My brilliant sister also pointed out that this planner is like "a syllabus for our lives." You know how in college you had a syllabus for each class where you knew exactly what assignments were due and what material would be covered on each date? This planner is like that, for your actual life. Each time you turn the page, there is what you need right now.
In a couple of days I will review the Address Book, which you might have guessed is way more than just an address book! I have also ordered the gorgeous yellow leather cover which I can hardly wait to get, but will have to wait until my in-laws bring it when they come to visit at the end of this month because I can only get documents and books through the mail. I got one for my sister and she says it's "like buttah" and so soft, I can hardly wait to get my hands on it!
Even if you decide not to use this as your main planner, it's an invaluable tool for goal setting, evaluation, journaling, household routines, healthy living and motivation. This planner would be wonderfully useful for any woman at any stage of life.
Each planner is 8 1/2 x 6 inches which makes it extremely portable. I hardly notice it in my bag, which is great because I take this planner everywhere with me to capture ideas and plans.
Please note these are slightly wider than a large Moleskine and do not fit into Moleskine covers (I tried all of mine and the book is wider). If you'd like a cover you should definitely check out their gorgeous hand-made (in the USA) leather covers here.
If you decide not to get a cover that's fine too, the laminated heavy card stock will certainly survive whatever abuse you dish out. I have to say I really like the seasonal colors of each quarter: ice blue for Jan-Feb-March, green for April-May-June, yellow for July-Aug-Sept and an autumnal red for Oct-Nov-Dec.
You can buy just one quarter, half year, or entire year at the Success Planners website. There are also loose-leaf pages if you want to use a ring-binder system.
Click here to contact the company for more information. Also, you can follow Pamela on Twitter.
I know this post was extremely long but I haven't even covered all the possibilities for this planner. The Success Choice website has lots of information on how to use this planner to enrich your life. Please check out their website for more information about these amazing planners!