Choosing a business planner that is right for you.
Let's talk business planners. We've recently hit a new financial year and the stationery section of the store is calling you. What do you look for? What would work well for you? Never fear I am here to help you choose.
Let's face the elephant in the room first. There isn't going to be a perfect planner for you unless you design it yourself. Everyone works differently and everyone has their own style of planning so we are going to have to compromise or buy more than one to fill in the gaps.
Decide its purpose
You need to decide what you need it for? Will you be using it just for business? Or do you want it intergrated into the family, kids and home life too? If you want to keep them separate like I did, you need two. Or you need a big enough one to fit in everything. I find using one for everything can be stressful. When the kids are at school and I am trying to focus on working I don't want to see that one of my daughters has clarinet practice at 11am. If you decide to separate them, you will need to have some way to make sure you can glance at everything in one go as well, it helps booking appointments easier. So you can make your phone your "all in one diary" or use @lifesorted to amalgamate it all.
Find a scheduled planner
For your business planner, it needs to have a way for you to actually time schedule your day. What I find with planners that have just space for tasks is that the day ends before the tasks are done. This is either because you over committed to too many things or you took way to long and possibly procrastinated. I find, with scheduled tasks, it forces you to think about how long each task will take and therefore there is no overcommitting and no stress at the end of the day when everything isn't done.
You know I am all about those goals. You also know that writing goals at the beginning of th year and then never looking at them is a no no. So you need a planner that has both yearly goal section, a monthly update goal section and also a weekly and daily goal section. Revising goals weekly or monthly is so important. The whole point of a planner is to plan those goals and reach those dreams so don't just go for a diary. (unless you physically add those sections in yourself.) If you see those goals weekly you can make sure the tasks you schedule each day are getting you closer to those goals.
I am not a shallow person but I do know that if something looks pretty or nice or special you will treat it better, use it more and take care of it. So my advice to you is to invest in a planner that really appeals to your senses. Make it as sparkly or as fancy as you want. Just make sure it speaks to you. You will be using it daily so it should really suit your style and match your desk. I know it sounds superficial but it works. Now in saying that, it doesnt mean you have to spend thousands of dollars if you don't have it. I have seen some amazing planners from target, typo and online. I have seen ones that you download yourself and print as you want. I have also seen countless youtube and Pinterest segments on how to create your own. Whatever your budget there is a way to make it speak to you and be special.
There are some great planners written and published by business women who have basically shared their secrets to planning. They share their questions they ask themselves each month. They have a section for analysing your budget, your social media numbers, even your networking. These are great, but only if you use them. You really need to commit to sitting down and using a planner at least an hour at the end of each week to analyse your company data and costings if you want to get one like this. These are great prompting tools for thoughts and reflection. If your planner doesn't have a section for this, you can always add it in yourself.
Committing to it
In the end it all comes down to making sure you are going to use it. You know how much time you have. Make sure you are going to use the time to plan. A lot of people who don't have planners do plan anyway. It's just on scrap pieces of paper or a notebook they were using that week. The problem is you lose these plans if they are not kept in the same place. It is also so satisfying at the end of the financial year to go back and see how far you've come.
Make it fun & involve the kids.
I try to sit down once a week with my daughters. We all plan together. I get colourful pens, stickers and highlighters and we all go through what's happening the next week and look at assignments coming up or for me deadlines. It is a great way to spend family time and also teach kids how to do their own goal planning. The colourful pens and stickers make looking at my daily tasks way less boring. I know you might not be a colourful sticker kind of person but I bet including a photo of the family, or a picture of something you are aiming for might just help.
Some of the planners that I have used in the past and love I have listed below