In the last while, I have started really enjoying using a planner to organize my days. It keeps me focused on the things I need to get done, and I seem to get them done without the need for worry. There is something about writing things down on paper, since it gets those things out of our head so you need not rely on your memory. In his book, ‘Getting Things Done’, David Allen says, “Your mind is for having ideas, not for holding them”. So, get all your ideas down on paper so they survive long enough to act upon the important ones. Mr. Allen also says, “Never have a thought more than once, unless you like having that thought”.
I have also heard it said that highly successful people have far fewer thoughts, probably for the reason that they are not relying on their mind to keep track of everything. This allows them to have thoughts of greater quality, thoughts that focus on major, rather than minor things. If you study people who are succeeding, you will find they do things to reduce the time spent on unimportant things, such as choosing what clothes to wear. They might simply rotate through the shirts in their closet over a period of time, to eliminate the need to waste time and energy on this.
I have started using my planner, by writing out each weekend, my plan for each day during the upcoming week. What goes on each day are the things I must do on that day. A calendar works well for this too, as the days are already separated for you. You’ll find that you start to remember what’s written in your planner, almost without needing to read it, after some practice with this. Robin Sharma says, “Things that get scheduled, get done”. I would say it this way, “Things you don’t schedule, don’t get done”.
Next to each item in your planner, it also really helps to be specific about the timing of when you will do it. An example from my planner for this week looks like this:
- Plan Grade 11, Lesson 30 [12 pm to 12:45 pm]
Without the specific timing, you are just hoping to get it done at some point during the day. Being definite with when you will do it makes it much more likely that you will actually do it.
Mr. Jim Rohn, a great speaker on success, said that he put all the things on his list, no matter how small the task was, because of the joy of checking things off. I must agree, it is powerful to see yourself getting things done, and it gives you momentum to keep going. Perhaps it helps you to develop the habit of taking action, since you give yourself more opportunities to do so.
Have you used a planner before now? What is your plan for starting out with this? Remember to stick with it long enough to ingrain the habit, and you will get way more done that ever before!