When you first start using a planner, you might wonder which one is right for you. There are many different planners available, each with their own set of pros and cons.
Ultimately, to make the right choice, you need to consider your reasons for using a planner. What are you going to use the planner for? Are you focusing on small-scale daily tasks, or tackling those long-term goals?
However, there may be a third option that you haven’t considered: having your daily planner cake, and eating it, too. Each type of planner works differently, and to use them effectively, a daily and weekly planner should be used together.
Daily Planner: Setting Goals in a Daily Planner Leads to Success
A daily planner focuses on short term goals that will eventually build up to your main goal. What can you get done today?
Daily planners work on the idea that if goals are not specific and manageable, they will never be completed. If you don't know exactly what you're aiming towards, and what steps you need to take, you will be more likely to abandon a goal before you reach it.
Split your main goals into micro-goals. Choose two or three smaller goals that can be completed within the day. Be clear on what you need to do, make sure you have the equipment to complete it, and make an early start.
Through writing your goals in a daily planner, you give yourself an incentive to complete your short term goals. The more you progress, the more you will push yourself to continue.
Weekly Planner: Plan and Budget for the Week Ahead
A weekly planner presents a wider overview of your plans, but it’s just as vital as a daily planner. Weekly planners help you to see how the micro-goals you sketched out in your daily planner are making an impact across the week. How closer are you to those long-term goals?
A weekly planner helps you to plan in advance. Any tasks that you’re not ready to complete today, you can plot in for later in the week. You can also budget for the week ahead. What are your expenses this week? What days do your bills go out?
Review your week to examine how well you achieved your goals, and spot any improvements that could be made. Did you stick to your goals on Monday, but struggle on Wednesday?
So, for the best effect, a daily planner needs to be used in conjunction with a weekly planner.
Monthly Planner: How to Stay Motivated for Long-Term Goals
Outside the question of daily planner vs weekly planner, there are also monthly planners to consider. A monthly planner gives you a bird’s eye view of your goals and tasks for the month. Monthly planners structure your planning on a whole other level, particularly if you have deadlines or are trying to budget.
For example, if you are using a monthly planner to budget for the month, you can see clearly in advance when certain bills are leaving your account, and when payment from your employer is due.
You can then cross-reference that information back to your daily and weekly plans. If you check your monthly planner, and find out that an expense leaves your account on a certain date, that could influence your daily plans. You might also choose to make an important purchase on a later date in the week, or make a micro-goal of setting aside a certain amount of money as part of your daily goals.
A monthly planner also provides plenty of opportunities for review. How well have your daily and weekly goals built up towards your long term goals? Which weeks were more successful, and why? Are there any particular trends? Through using the different types of planner in conjunction with each other, your analysis of your achievements will be more accurate.
When choosing a planner, you should think carefully about your needs. Are you looking to plot in goals for the day ahead, or for a more in-depth month-to-month overview?
An all-inclusive daily, weekly and monthly planner is the best solution for most people, because it enables you to see your short-term goals in context of your long-term goals.
Whatever you choose, using a planner can help you to structure your goal setting into your everyday life.