My love of planners and planning is no secret. Some people might think it’s crazy that I use a few different planning and tracking systems, but it seems to work really well for me… probably because writing things down is literally the only way I can ever hope to remember anything.
February and March weird weird months. Although I was still getting things done (at work especially, I was insanely productive), I didn’t seem to be making any progress on any of my more personal goals, and my mood was… off. I was feeling somehow both stressed and stagnant (I guess because I was really busy, but not with things that felt super fulfilling?), and my anxiety was a little higher than usual leading up to the anniversary of the incident that caused me to develop PTSD.
The timing was perfect, then, for me to see my friend Amanda’s Instagram post about her new planner that focused on mood and goals. I first saw the planner in one of her Instagram stories and made a mental note to ask her about it the next day (first mistake: not writing it down). I forgot, but luckily she posted about the planner after a number of people had asked for more info.
After chatting with Amanda, I promptly a copy of the Desire Map Planner on Amazon. In another instance of perfect timing, the rest of the day ended up being particularly challenging, so being able to dive into the planner the following afternoon (thanks to Prime shipping!) was an enormous help.
The first few pages of the planner explain what desire mapping is and why you might want to try it (basically to achieve the goals that will help you feel the way you want to), followed by space to write your goals and intentions for the year.
Then, for each month, you have a standard month-at-a-glance calendar where you can fill in things like birthdays and appointments. There are also words along the left margin… I’m not sure what they’re for, but I’ve been circling one or two each month that best represent what I’d like to get from the month:
There are two two-page spreads for each week. The first is where I do my day-to-day planning:
You set three main things you need to get done at the top of the page. To get a better work-life balance, I’ve been choosing one personal goal and two work goals (whereas previously all three would have been work-related). Speaking of work-vs-personal, I also colour-code what I put in the planner: blue is for work, pink is for personal. In addition to keeping things clear, this is also really helpful to see which weeks are too work-heavy and might need a bit of balancing.
In the blank space under each day, I write in the meetings and appointments I have, including appointments with my self for things like working out or going grocery shopping. Keeping with the standard bullet journal legend, each task has an “O” bullet next to it, which I then X out when it’s complete. Under the To-Do heading, I write the tasks I need to get done that day using dot bullets. (Because Saturday and Sunday only have blank space and no To-Do section, I combine tasks and appointments into a single list for those days.)
The next two-page spread provides writing prompts that encourage you to dig a little deeper:
I fill out these pages every Sunday afternoon by looking back on the week and figuring out what worked and what I’d like to change. This quick, simple activity has really helped get me on track with the things I’d like to accomplish.
I think this week, I might also add in looking back at my overall 2018 goals to see if there’s anything more I need to do there. There’s, uh, some room for improvement for sure. For example, one of my goals was to read more, and, uh, yeah… I’m so far behind that Goodreads actually sent me this epic burn of an email the other day:
“Yeah, you’re a total failure, but look at how awesome your friend is!” IN MY DEFENSE, one of those two books was a massive Stephen King novel, which I really think should count as at least two books.
Anyway, this planner has been really beneficial. Plus, I showed it to my therapist the other day, and she said that there’s a lot of excellent research about how helpful this type of planner can be (which really gave me the validation I was seeking by showing it to her).
What planning methods do you use? As you can tell, I’m always up for trying something new, so tell me about it in the comments!