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4 questions to ask when planning for 2018 | stationery by subscription

There’s just over a month until 2018 starts which for me means it’s time to start thinking about 2018 and what my plans will be. Plus it’s a handy distraction from dealing with Christmas preparation and worry about what to gifts to buy for the 3 secret Santa schemes I am involved in (the answer is obviously stationery).

There are heaps of planning tools and tutorials out there for setting goals, making resolutions and organising your life for the year ahead. So you probably find a pre-made package perfect for you.

However, planning isn’t like following a diet or exercise plan. Pick the bits of systems that work for you and ditch the bits that don’t.  As I pull together my approach to 2018 I’m asking myself these questions about the tools I’m planning on using.

How far in advance do I want to plan?

One year I made a list of all the things I wanted to do. Then I assigned 3 tasks to each month ranging from the tiny (make crumpets) to the project sized (plan a trip, set up a new website). I also set a word of the month, an intention of the month and words to inspire me when I felt like giving up. And despite spending a chunk of time doing this I failed to follow through. Why? Because I’d assumed that my wants and priorities would be the same a few months down the road. I’d thought that I’d stay the same person all year. These days I’m more about planning week by week with an eye on the 5 areas of activity I’m interested in developing further (yes Ink Drops is one of these 5).

What tools have been really useful in the last year and do I want to keep using them?

Wunderlist is still a vital cornerstone for keeping track of reoccurring tasks. I rarely add short term to-do tasks to it unless they need to be completed on a specific date in the future.

Trello has become a new tool for me this year. I find it shines most when I’m doing collaborative work rather than projects I’m working on alone. So Carla and I use it to log ideas and keep track of where everything is. It was also really useful for planning food for a big family get together.

I store stuff on Evernote, Google Drive and Dropbox. Sometimes this means looking in 3 places for something so room for improvement here.

My Moleskine is looking very battered but has been great for doing a minimal style bujo layout each day. However, I still like to transfer jobs onto a card which includes the tasks from my Moleskine and anything else I need to do (often domestic tasks like washing up!). I need to embrace this more. Make a bit of a ritual of compiling my list for the day over a cup of tea.

Sticky notes are vital for noting new tasks. I stick these in the front of the Moleskine and add items from them into my week plan during my Sunday planning hour.

Are the tools actually useful or do you just like the idea of them?

If I’m using them regularly then they are useful. In the category are my planner, Wunderlist, Trello and sticky notes.

I’d love a wall planner. I’ve been looking at the Veronica Dearly ones and wondering if I could scratch the itch by buying for someone else. I don’t think I’d actually find a wall planner that much use. Since I lack a suitable wall for one to go one anyway I figure this rules that out for me. I do like to have a calendar and write activities on it. But it’s more that I like having one to decorate the wall than it’s actually useful. I use the calendar on my phone if I need to check my availability.

Do I want to use all of the tool?

I’ve used the New Year Revolution (from Do What You Love – no longer available) for a number of years. For the first few years, I did everything in it. Last year I felt that I couldn’t use it because I didn’t want to plan for the whole year.  Now I plan to just use the first and last bits to review my year and get some kind of idea of what I want in the year ahead.

I rarely use anything other than the date day pages in the Moleskine planner so I need to look at the printable templates that Moleskin offer. I can stick these in and get more out of my planner.

How are you planning for 2018? Anyone got any cool organisational tools to share?

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash