Tag Archive for: planning

The Big Planner Shake-Up

By Debra Sennefelder
What happened at the beginning of January was an
unprecedented shake-up in how I plan my life. And it all started in the latter
part of 2019.
There was a post on Facebook. A fellow author was
looking for suggestions for planners. Like us all, she was looking to get a
head start on organizing 2020. I commented that I’d been using an Erin Condren
Life Planner for two years, but I intended to go back to my six-ring A5
After careful consideration, I decided to go back to
the A5 because I wanted the flexibility of being able to organize the planner
how I wanted it. And I wanted more space to write my to-do tasks for each day.
With the decision made, I ordered
new inserts for the A5. As soon as the inserts arrived I began noting all my
deadlines, birthdays, appointments, etc. Everything was good.
So, I thought.
Something started not to feel right with the A5. My
first thought was maybe it was due to the texture of the binder. For some it
may not be a big deal, but since I handle my planner multiple times during the
day, how it feels in my hands is essential to me. I then thought maybe I was
over the black cover. Perhaps a pop of color would be nicer and more visually
appealing. The temptation to buy a new A5 was strong, but I held strong. The DayRunner was good enough.
So, I thought.
In early January, I signed up for a free online
workshop on how to go paperless. During the class, I learned some tricks on how
to go partially paperless (some papers just can’t be scanned and shredded). One
of the recommendations was a to-do list app. This was new to me and I decided
to give it a try.
With the app downloaded to my phone, I began using it.
After a week, I realized the app wouldn’t work for me because once a task was
completed, it was deleted from the list. I’m one of those people who need to
cross off tasks from a list and be able to see what I’ve accomplished at the
end of the day. While the app didn’t work for me, it did introduce me to using
my phone as a part of my planning process. Which led me to my Google calendar.
Yet again.
I’d tried using the Google calendar before, and it
never clicked. Until now.
I planned out the whole month of January. Color-coding
the tasks was a nice perk. And I got
into the habit of opening up the calendar in the morning right after my morning
pages were completed. What I’d been craving in my “planner” was the ability to
look at the monthly spread without having to page back and forth all the time
in the A5 or EC. Sure, I could have a wall calendar, but then I have to take it
down and write in the task, then put it back up, and for me, it becomes visual
clutter on the wall. The Google calendar was working for me. Finally.
But there was still a piece of the puzzle missing.
While the Google calendar gave me a view of the month, I was missing the daily
planning. All the things I need to do from laundry to outlining to walking
Connie. Yes, I know there’s a daily view feature in the Google calendar, but I
prefer to write these lists down so I can cross of all the completed tasks.
I gave some thought, and I ordered a new planner from
Amazon. It’s bigger than a personal size Filofax but smaller than an A5, and it
has a page for every day. This gives me plenty of space to write my lists, group my to-do
actions into categories if I want to, jot down ideas that pop into my head.
Since I don’t use the monthly spread for planning, I use it to track my
workouts. It’s awesome.
Finally, between the Google calendar and my new daily
planner, I have the perfect planning system for 2020. I know this because I
feel calmer when it comes to my to-do’s, and I’m getting things done without
feeling scattered or overwhelmed.
Most of the time, a shake-up can be a negative experience, but
this time it was a gift. I trusted myself enough to let go of what I’ve clung
to for years, and it’s been one of the best things I’ve done so far in 2020.
I’m curious. Do you use a physical planner? A digital
planner? Or, a hybrid like me?
Debra Sennefelder is the
author of the Food Blogger Mystery series and the Resale Boutique Mystery series.
She lives and writes in Connecticut. When she’s not writing, she enjoys baking,
exercising and taking long walks with her Shih-Tzu, Connie. You can keep in touch
with Debra through her website, on Facebook and Instagram.

Saying Goodbye and Planning for the Future

Hi Gang,
I’m turning in my Stiletto heels with this post. The amount of writing and promo and releasing and of course, the day job, has caused me to cry uncle.

If you don’t know, I have two series – The Tourist Trap and the new Cat Latimer Mystery series that releases to book stores in September 2016. I have the lovely cover, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy until my publisher does a cover reveal. So watch for that coming up.

I hate not doing things well, and I’m struggling to get everything on my list completed. So I’ve been contemplating what I can juggle. I’ll be focusing my blogging on my website – www.lynncahoon.com
Stop by soon. There’s a gooey butter cake recipe that was the hit of the Thanksgiving table this year.

Anyway, I wanted to leave you with my favorite time management techniques since it’s almost time to set new goals (or resolutions) for 2016.

#5 – List out what you HAVE to do. Set these deadlines in ink on your 2016 planner. What? You don’t have a planner? Get one. Digital or paper (I still love my paper), a planner is an easy way to set reachable goals each month and adjust when emergencies happen.

#4 – Set annual goals – Want to save money? Set a yearly goal, then work at it each month. You’ll be surprised how fast those dollars add up if your consistent. Same with word count. You don’t write a 100K novel in a week. (Or at least I don’t, but I hear rumors it’s been done.) You write it by getting your daily word count done every day. 500 words a day equals  176,000 words in a year. Or a novel plus two weeks of vacation time.

#3 – Divide your goals into month’s targets. It takes me just about two months to write a cozy. A little less to write a contemporary series size romance.  I know what I’m writing all of 2016 and had to move some of my want-to-write projects to 2017. A successful author early in my career told me they had a spreadsheet for the next five years on what they were writing. Now that I’m contracted, I understand the necessity of her process.

#2 – Make a weekly to do list – I have a list I write in my planner each week, filling in the days with appointments or book related activities. This week, I’m attending my critique group, so my word count for that day will be slim to none, but I can adjust to other days. Planning to reach goals during the week gives you the flexibility and accountability.

#1 – Do one thing today before 11 am that moves you toward your goal. Just one thing. Rinse and repeat tomorrow.

I hope that helps you take your dreams and turn them into reality.  I’ve enjoyed my time here with the Stiletto Gang and I’m sure I’ll see many of you out there on the web. Thank you for being part of my virtual family.