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Friday, December 7, 2012

Using the Plannerisms planner as a Goals workbook

The Plannerisms planner has Goals pages throughout the book to help you incorporate your goals into your daily schedule. Or it can be used as a Goals workbook/journal separate from your planner, if you like. It has lots of pages for goals: Annual, Quarterly, and Monthly with designated space on every weekly page for your goals every day. There are also pages near the end of the book for your Annual Review. The planner is designed to guide you through the goal-setting process in a flexible and adaptable way.

I did a video on using these pages for setting and reviewing your goals, which you can click here to see. In this post I want to expand on that video a little bit, and also give suggestions for using the Plannerisms planner as a Goals Workbook/ Journal.

The process for reaching your goals is:

1. Determining your goals. What do you want to accomplish?

2. Set milestones. What are the steps you need to take to reach your goals? How can you break down each goal into actionable steps?

3. Record your progress. Write down miles run, weight lost, seeds planted, projects completed, books read, etc.

4. Evaluate your progress. By figuring out what worked, you know how to replicate your success. By figuring out what didn't work, you can find ways to adjust your effort.

Unlike most other planners, the Plannerisms planners give you plenty of space to plan and record your goals, and to evaluate your progress. Many people are good at setting their goals, but often don't follow up with the key steps of recording and especially evaluating.

Recording your progress is one of the most important things you can do to help reach your goals. And evaluating your progress is probably the most neglected step in reaching your goals.

By recording your progress, you know exactly where you stand. Is your weight/ blood pressure decreasing month by month, or not? How many pages of your dissertation have you written this week? Have you completed your daily tasks relating to your goals? When you record your progress, you know what you've done and what you are yet to do. And, you get a sense of accomplishment when you see your completed tasks and goals.

Evaluating your progress takes the process one step further. What worked? What didn't? What did you accomplish, and how did you do it (so you can reproduce your success)?  What got in your way? Was there an unexpected increase in workload, an illness, or something else that prevented you from completing your goal tasks? How can you work around it?

So let's talk about how to use the Plannerisms planner for determining your goals, setting your milestones, recording your progress and evaluating your progress.

Below is a photo (click on any photos to enlarge) of the Goals This Year pages at the beginning of the Plannerisms planner. This is where you will begin to determine your goals. Think about the year ahead. Consult the Year Planner pages to map out your year. What do you want to accomplish? Dream big, and most importantly, write it down.

You can categorize your goals into Personal, Health, Work, Family, House, Finances, Gardening, Crafts, Books, Study, Volunteer, or anything you can think of that you want to accomplish or improve upon this year. These pages are not structured so you can use them any way you want.

Next are the Quarterly Goals pages. This is where you start to break down your Annual Goals into milestones. Look at your goals topics and decide what progress you want to make in each quarter (or season). Think about how to break down your big goals into manageable chunks. If you are using this book to help plan your gardening, this would be a good place to record seasonal activities.
Alternatively, you may want to concentrate on certain goals during a particular season or time of year. These pages help you focus on what needs to be done at which time of year. This gets you ready to break down your goals by month.

I recommend writing your monthly goals at the beginning of each month rather than writing every month's goals for the entire year. This allows you to be flexible, change your goals if you need to, and base your month's goals on your previous month's evaluation.

Here is a monthly spread, which gives you an overview of the entire month. Think about any major events happening this month, holidays, birthdays, deadlines and anything else coming up, and fill them in.
The column before Mondays is great for highlighting things that need to happen in a particular week, or anytime that month.

Here's one example of how to use the monthly calendars: On the day spaces on the monthly pages I like to use symbols to indicate when I exercised. I use green ink, just to distinguish it from other things on the page, and I use a C for Cardio and S for Strength. That way I get a quick and easy visual if I'm exercising most days or if I have gaps of more than a few days.

You can use this technique for anything you want to do each day. I read somewhere that Jerry Seinfeld marks an X on his calendar every day that he writes. He doesn't want to "break the chain," so the marks on the calendar are incentive for him to write so he can fill in his daily X.

If you have several things you want to accomplish daily, or need to fill in details, you can record them all on the weekly pages (more on that in a minute).

Between every month there's a two-page spread for your goals and tracking that month. The monthly Goals pages are not for filling up with so many goals every month (unless you are VERY ambitious!). These pages are for listing your monthly goals then tracking them, and evaluating your progress.
This is the place to break your Quarterly (Seasonal) goals down into what you can focus on this month.  

Use these pages to record and evaluate your goals each month, including your Monthly Review. Your Monthly Review lets you evaluate your month and find out how many of that month's goals you were able to complete and what you still need to work on next month. Did something come up that set you back? Come up with ways to get around obstacles and move forward.

The monthly Goals pages are a great place to record data relating to your goals like: financial totals (I like to record monthly totals for checking, savings, and credit cards to keep an eye on my savings and what I owe); miles run or other exercise info; weight, blood pressure, blood sugar levels or other health tracking; and anything else you are keeping track of.

I use my monthly Goals pages to track household cleaning schedules, irregular or unexpected expenses (regular monthly expenses are in a list in the booklet in the back pocket), household maintenance like changing smoke alarm batteries, and anything else I need to keep track of. In this post I showed examples of how I use my monthly Goals pages and gave more ideas on how to use them.

You can also use the pages between the monthly calendars as an index for each month like how Patty uses her Franklin Covey index pages, which you can see in her post about it here.

But as with all the Plannerisms pages, there's no prescribed way to use the monthly Goals pages and you can suit them to your individual needs, even using them differently each month if you want.

There are so many ways to use the weekly pages. In my post on how to use the weekly pages, I focused on using it as your planner and incorporating your goals into your daily schedule. But you could easily use these pages to track daily goals and keep your schedule someplace else (electronically, in your Filofax, etc.).

Below is the photo I showed in my weekly pages post for filling in exercise, meds, vitamins and stretching. You could definitely use the Plannerisms planner as a fitness log for recording your exercise, how it felt, tracking your progress etc.

There are endless uses for the daily columns and the Goals column before Monday. You could write in your daily routines (like FlyLady's Morning, Afternoon and Evening routines) and check them off each day as you go. If you need to make sure you are drinking at least 8 glasses of water or eating your 5 fruit and veg per day, you can write that in the column and put a check for each glass of water or fruit/ veg to see your actual intake.

You could also use the column before Monday to list your daily Resolutions for those of you who are working on a Happiness Project like Gretchen Rubin's book The Happiness Project (which I have read and am not affiliated with).  Whether your Resolutions are to make your bed every day, journal daily, have more positive interactions or appreciate your surroundings, you can track how well you're sticking to your resolutions by marking them off each day. Gretchen strongly recommends tracking your resolutions, and this would be an easy way to do it.

You can divide the daily columns so you can easily track goals in different categories for a quick-glance indicator of if you are sticking to your plan.

In the space below the daily columns you can write your Weekly Review. This is a good place to evaluate your week, what went well, what you accomplished and what you still need to work on. Evaluating each week can be intense, and some people feel that a mid-month or even just monthly review is enough. What ever works best for you is great, but make sure you do evaluate on a regular basis so you know if things are working or if you need to adjust your strategy.

At the end of the book is a two-page spread for your Annual Review. 

At the end of the year, look back through your Goals from the beginning of the year, your Monthly and Weekly reviews. Evaluate your accomplishments and celebrate your successes!

Look at goals that you didn't manage to accomplish and figure out why not. Did something come up that prevented you from reaching that goal? Did it require more time or effort than you expected? Think of ways to adjust your efforts so you can accomplish these goals.

You may find that some goals became irrelevant over the course of the year, or that your attention was spent elsewhere. Some goals may be eliminated, or put on a lower priority than others.

After tracking your goals all year you'll have a complete record of your accomplishments, so you can replicate them!

As you can see, there's tons of ways to use the Plannerisms planner to track and evaluate your goals on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis. And yet, there's no pressure. If you want to use the monthly pages for something and the weekly pages for something else, go for it!


  1. Really useful post, Laurie - can't wait to start using my planner!

    1. Thanks Morag! Let me know how you like it when you get it! :)

      I realized later this post might seem intense, but I just wanted to show everyone different ideas on how to use it. You definitely don't have to use it all these ways at once! Pick what you like or what's useful. And, you can adapt your usage over time.

  2. My calendar came today and I am looking forward to some goal setting. Forget Christmas - this time of year is all about January 1st and the potential of a new year!


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