This article is about „what works for me”. It’s subjective. It might not work for you. To find something that works, you need to experiment and explore more options and give them time. So, beyond the story below, my message is: Find whatever works for you!
I have always loved planning. In the past 20 years I tried many tools and I think I found what works for me. When I say what works, I really mean that. There was a time when planning took more of my life than doing. My plan didn’t work for me, I worked for the plan. I dreamed more about the future than living in the present. So, I changed the tools I use and I am opened to try out new tricks, apps and methods, because whatever works now, might not work next year. I could write a whole book about the planning experiments I did in the past.
This year I use 5 tools: Google Calendar, my DareDo Planner, Samsung health app, Google Keep and Pintrest.
1. Google calendar – the overview place. At the end of the day I record here what I spent my time on and make a sketch of the next day. For me, it’s the best way to calculate how many hours I invested in a project during the last 3 months for example. Or I could calculate how many hours I worked, in total in 2017, for a specific account. I could also check how many hours I slept in the last 6 months. I keep this calendar completely private, so am 100% comfortable to write in it any quirky thing. When I need to share the google calendar with someone, I share the one from work. I will save meetings in both, because the personal one is by “big blueprint”.
2. The DareDo planner – designed by me for daily use in printed format. I use it for monthly, weekly and daily planning. I love handwriting, plus, I can’t avoid a physical planner sitting on my desk as easy as I can close an app. I use color codes for the tasks I do, for those I don’t do, for those I move/delay/postpone. I use a special color for “huge rocks” (the tasks that get postponed so many times) to see clearly how much I procrastinate. If I move them 3-5 times, it’s clear I need to delegate them or just to renounce, but anyway, after 5 “moves”, I close the loop. The DareDo Planner is my minion – I make it work for me to free my time. I track habits here, too: water (because otherwise I wouldn’t drink any), reading & writing and sports. A big satisfaction from the DareDo Planner comes from the fact that I have a clear monthly overview on 2 x A5 (which in google calendar is difficult to get). Plus, writing by hand gives me a unique feeling of centering. It’s like mindfulness in colored pens. The stuff that got done from the DareDo Planner, and only it, gets written in the google calendar.
3. Samsung health app – I use it to track how many hours of sleep I get each night (plus time-frames). It gets recorded automatically. I keep my mobile with me to track my steps. I have a target of number of steps I try to reach at least 4/7 days a week. I also add my weight there every morning. I am not obsessed about it, but to stick to a +/- 1kg interval, I need to be aware of it because my body stores everything it catches.
4. Google keep– I use it to jot down ideas, shopping lists, links to books or articles that I want to keep for later. Whenever an idea comes into my life, I write it there and let it sit. If I come back to it and add more details, it’s "virus idea" and it means I should take it seriously. Then, periodically, I open Google Keep on my laptop and copy all those virus-like ideas into a different tool and take things from a “sketch” level to the next level.
5. Pinterest– I use it for “visual boards”. I collect pinned images on a certain topic to have things more visual. This is where many dots appear like stars on the sky and then I connect them on a board or into a workshop, article, drawing.
If you want to read more about planning, you can checkout my previous article, too 🙂