When I was in Middle School, I used to grab just regular notebook paper, write down a list of things to do, grab a can of Coke and start working my way down this list. It was an idea I had borrowed from my 8th grade Algebra teacher who always used to be prepared and organized each and every day. Test papers would be graded immediately the day after we took it. Notes would already be written on the board as we walked into class. Plans would already be made for the week. I don’t ever remember a time when he forgot something or when he was behind on anything. And I always thought that magic lied in the fact that he had a drink sitting on his desk.
I started doing the same thing. I started finishing all my homework immediately after I got home. I made sure everything was prepared the day before. I started drinking soda every day (and a couple years’ addiction to carbonated beverages began). It all went great…until I stopped.
It wasn’t for several years in which I started planning again. I would do what many people did…buy a planner. I set out to use a simple planner and began to fill up boxes and trying to literally write 30 things into one tiny box. Soon, I stopped using it and went the rest of the year without any system at all.
The following year, I decided “bigger was better”…I bought a planner that had about three pages of fill-ups per day. I was filling out an exercise diary, a journal, a people list and so much more each night for almost an hour daily. For about 50 dollars, this enormous planner was worth the price, but it wasn’t helping me accomplish much of anything. So what did I do?
I needed to take a hard, long look and figure out how I was going to do this right. How was I going to get organized, work on my goals and following it passionately. I went back to my 8th grade system and decided to simply buy a 5 Subject Notebook. That was about two years ago and I have not failed to go without it each day. I’ve taken 30 minutes each day to fill out a day’s worth of goals and accomplished more than ever before. Here is the system I used:
The 5 Subject notebook allows you to separate one set of goals from another:
Section 1: Yearly Goals
Section 2: The Master List
Section 3: Monthly Goals
Section 4: Weekly Goals
Section 5: Daily Goals
I won’t lie. The notebook is a lot of writing, but I love to write and it has definitely allowed me to work on more things during a day. I carry the notebook almost everywhere – to work, to appointments, to home, etc. I’ve found a system that worked for me and it all goes back to the system that I started when I was young. Who knew?
Planners are great, for people that enjoy to use them, but for people that are on a budget, spending five dollars on a notebook will give you everything you need.
So there you have it. Motivation Factor #1 is buying a notebook. Next week, I will talk about how to start using that notebook to plan a great year.