For me, that means writing those ideas down and planning out how I want my life to look in the coming quarter while putting the final touches on the quarter I’m in.
If you’d like to see a glimpse into my planning process and the tools I use, keep reading. If you’d like to know more about my planning process, leave a question or comment below the post.
I’m a planner. I’m a goal-setter. I make lists. I make lists of lists. I like routines and habits. I keep a detailed calendar of these plans, goals, lists, routines, and habits.
Some would call this tedious. I find planning to be necessary for productivity and for being present in all aspects of my life.
With the new year quickly approaching, I thought I would tell you about a few of the tools I’m currently using as I prepare for 2020. I’ve been using some of these items and techniques for years, and I’ve implemented a few new ones in 2019 that I plan to continue into the new year.
(Some of the links below are affiliate links where I get a small commission at no cost increase to you. Some of the links are not affiliate links. ALL of the links are products I swear by and wouldn’t tell you about unless I HIGHLY recommend them.)
#1 in Planning Recommendations: The Bullet Journal
I’ve talked about bullet journaling before in THIS POST, and I’m currently reading and loving The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll. I’ve added a few items to my planning routine in 2019 that I’m keeping for 2020, but the Bullet Journal is the one item that has stayed consistent. If you look up bullet journaling on YouTube or Instagram, you will find a ton of creative people who create these magnificent spreads of calendars and habit trackers that are beautiful and artistic.
That’s not me.
I’m usually extremely functional and minimal with my bullet journaling. I have tried to be creative and artistic in the past, but that’s usually when I’m procrastinating and needing a little color in my life. Typically, I’m happy with the actual bullet journal, a pen, a couple of highlighters, and lately, a pad of post-it notes for grocery lists or errands that I can take out on the go.
Currently in my bullet journal, I’m tracking all publishing projects, daily to-do lists, and any note taking on books I’m reading, podcasts I’m listening to, or blog posts I’d like to write.
If you’d like to know more about how I bullet journal, feel free to leave me a comment, and I’ll work that into a future post or video.
#2 in Planning Recommendations: The 6-Ring Binder in A5 Size
Okay… I added a 6-Ring Binder to my planning madness in 2019, and I’m still making tweaks to how I actually use my binder. Basically, I wanted a system for future planning, tracking information in my publishing business that doesn’t change year to year, and anything else that I didn’t feel like putting in my bullet journal.
Using the 6-ring binder did change how I bullet journal, and my day-to-day use of both constantly evolves, but I’m still using both as I plan for 2020.
Examples of things I keep in my 6-ring binder:
- A promotions schedule for each of my series.
- Reference pages such as the color IDs used across my websites, book covers, etc so that I can keep branding somewhat consistent.
- Future planning (I have a full goal-setting section that I visit quarterly and add to as needed) (I use printable inserts from Sessa Vee for this section.)
- Publication schedule for the next 1 to 2 years
- Monthly calendar and sometimes weekly calendar when the publishing and writing schedule is thick with things to do (I use printable inserts from Sessa Vee for this section.)
- My David Allen Getting Things Done lists
- Notes about each of the websites I manage
#3 in Planning Recommendations: an A5 Stalogy 018 Editor’s Series 1/2 Year Notebook
I’ve added a 1/2-year, A5-sized Stalogy to my planning routine for 2020, which I’ve already started to use.
There are a number of reasons for this notebook.
First, I’m using this notebook to track a new income stream that I’ve added to my life that needed to be separated (I think) from my writing and publishing life. Some long-time bullet journalers would argue that this is not necessary, but all planners know that everyone must discover what works best for them in each situation. And for me to be productive, I needed some separation between my publishing life and this new “project.”
Second, I chose the A5, 1/2-year Stalogy because it fits nicely tucked into the back of my A5, 6-ring binder for days when I feel the need to take both out of the house with me. That is the one downside to the Leuchtturm 1917 bullet journal. It has a hard cover and doesn’t fit inside the 6-ring binder, and unless I’m going to the coffee shop to brainstorm, work, or plan projects, I don’t typically need the bullet journal with me when I leave the house. The magic I create and track with my bullet journal is mainly used at home.
However, I will be leaving the house for this new endeavor, and I needed to be able to take my planning binder AND the Stalogy, so I wanted them to fit nicely together.
Like I said, this is new, so we’ll see how it goes. I could very well get rid of the use of multiple books by the end of 2020 and go back into one, nicely-contained bullet journal in the future.
#4 in Planning Recommendations: the Electronic Calendar
It doesn’t matter if it’s Google Calendar, Outlook, Apple Calendar, I feel like we all need an electronic calendar. I use Google Calendar synced with all of my Apple devices to track all appointments away from my home/office.
Yes, this does cause some duplication, but that’s actually a good thing.
“If something is not worth the few seconds it takes to rewrite it, then chances are it’s really not that important.” Ryder Carroll, The Bullet Journal Method (Ryder is mainly talking about migrating tasks from one day to the next or one month to the next, but I find writing goals, tasks, and affirmations in multiple places helps me stay present in the everyday. If it’s not worth repeating, then it needs to be removed.)
“I Think Heather Might Be Crazy!”
If you’re reading this post and thinking: Oh my goodness, I think Heather might have a problem. You could be right. However, this system works for me and my productivity level. I run a small business all by myself, and I keep track of a lot of information and wear a great many hats in the publishing business. Plus I’m adding an entirely new endeavor and income stream in 2020 while also continuing to write books. This system helps me keep track of everything, plan future projects, and analyze how my business is doing on a regular basis. Basically, my planning system is my personal assistant.
Thoughts? Are you resonating with my planning system, or did I overwhelm you? What type of planning system do you use to plan your days, weeks, months, quarters, year? I would love to hear.