Welcome 2017!! Have you picked out your word? I hope so since we're a few days in. I just learned about the "word of the year" thing a few months ago when a friend of my asked if I had chosen mine yet. Needless to say, narrowing an entire year down to one word was a nearly impossible task for me. I finally figured it out at exactly 10:19 PM on New Year's Eve with exactly one hour and 41 minutes left before we officially started the new year. What's my word? Action. Ideas and creativity and dreams are something I'm great at coming up with and thinking about. Executing them is a whole different story. There are so many things I've wanted to do personally and professionally but my lack of motivation or fear of pursuing them has held me back. I've decided that in 2017, I'm going to continue to dream but more importantly I'm going to put action behind those dreams. That's why I felt it appropriate to share an actionable item for our first post of the year, The Daily Action Planner.
*Lattes, Life & Luggage received products included in this post complimentary for an honest review. No additional compensation was received.
The Daily Action Planner, created by Angela Jia Kim, has created a movement of people who “plant seeds”, “pull weeds” and organize their “gorgeous chaos.” The organizational and goal-setting success tool has helped thousands of people reach goals, be 10x more productive and have more fun. It’s perfect for the busy entrepreneur, on-the-go mom, managers, and other creatives who need a system to “remember it all” for prioritizing the day. The 30-Day Action Planner is made of two components that work together: Weekly Pilot Plans and Daily Action Plans. Each planner includes an intro by creator Angela Jia Kim, instructions to guide you, 4 weeks of Weekly Pilot Plan Tabs, 31 days of Daily Action Plan Pages and extra pages for notes.
How many of you are crazy about lists? How many of you have list upon lists that never seem to end? Don’t be embarrassed, I am guilty of this myself. Now, how many of those lists actually get accomplished in full. Yeah, I thought so. Lists are great but sometimes they’re counterproductive to finding success. The Daily Action Planner was designed to change that. The introduction is seven pages long and it’s well worth the read. It begins by discussing the history behind the planner and why Kim designed it. She wanted the same thing we all want - to be able to accomplish more in less time so that she could enjoy her life outside of work. She wanted to get rid of distractions and become more intentional. She says, “Don’t wake up in five years asking yourself where the time went. Spend it deliberately, consciously and savor every moment!” I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t agree more.
The planner is basically split into two parts: the Weekly Pilot Plan and Daily Action Plan. The Weekly Pilot Plan acts as a road map for the week ahead so that everything you need to accomplish is written in one place. It consists of four sections: Brain Dump, Delegate, Top 3 Things To Do and Savor. Write down all of the tasks you need to get done that week (Brain Dump), identify who you can assign any of those tasks to in order to get it off your plate if you have that option (Delegate), identify three things that are crucial to complete (Top 3 Things To Do) and finally, write down something to look forward to during the week in order to celebrate your accomplishments (Savor). The Weekly Pilot Plan also includes a “chart” for you to map out important meetings throughout the week at a glance and assign goals or themes to each day. Kim recommends sitting down on Sunday or early Monday morning and taking a few minutes to fill out the Weekly Pilot Plan. It can help get your thoughts organized and identify your tasks for the week which I believe would immensely help in reducing stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed.
The Daily Action Plan, like the Weekly Plan, is a road map for your day. It consists of five parts: Brain Dump, 3 Weeds, 3 Seeds, Water Cup and Savor the Success. It also includes a page for notes and small section to write down what you’re grateful for that day. Kim discusses in the intro a “3-Minute Ritual.” The idea is to take three minutes each morning before you start your day to fill out your Daily Action Plan for a day spent with intention and conscious action. It starts with the Brain Dump, getting everything you need to handle written out in one space. Identify three tasks that absolutely have to get done that are most likely the more difficult tasks on your list and time consuming (3 Weeds). After getting that unpleasant list written down identify three tasks, large or small, that you can work at on a daily basis that lead to a larger accomplishment like building a new product or landing a new client (3 seeds). They can be as simple as sending something a thank you email or as large as finalizing a product design.
Next, schedule your day. “If you don’t put a cap on a task, that task will actually drag on for much longer than it should. If you don't put it in the schedule, it either won’t get done or it will take you all afternoon.” How many of you are guilty of spending hours on a project when it probably would have only taken 30 minutes or an hour? Me too. Organize your day by time. Whether you write yourself an hourly schedule to stay on task or create time blocks based on how long tasks and projects will take you, is your decision. The point is to create a realistic schedule for your day to stay on task and get things accomplished (Water Cup). Finally, Savor the Success! Dedicate something to an accomplishment you made. For example, congratulate yourself on finishing that month-long project before you drink a glass of wine. Celebrating the accomplishments are what make all the work worth it and by celebrating something daily, you’re building yourself up to find even more success.
I personally plan to use the Daily Action Planner for the entire first quarter of 2017. It takes 30 days to build a habit but it takes longer to reach your goals. With “ACTION” being my word for 2017, I want to be able to make each day count towards larger goals. There’s no use dreaming if you’re not willing to do anything about those dreams. I’ve read the introduction, I’ve begun to use the pages and I truly believe that if I stick to the Daily Action Planner as much as I can, I will find my path to success in this new year. In a few months, I’ll write about the experience from a new perspective to share whether or not the planner helped me, if I ended up using it consistently like I had planned and what I learned through the entire process.
In the meantime, tell me what your word is for 2017 and what tools you’re using to find your own success in the comments below!
**NOTE: The 30-Day Action Planner currently has 3 colors available. Also available for purchase is the 90-Day Action Planner. Instead of working on a monthly basis, the 90-day works quarterly but with the same tools, pages and content as the 30-Day.