About 10 seconds before I started writing this, I saw a meme that, in summary, said “2021 has been handed the easiest job…to be better than 2020.” And I resonate. With whatever that might look like.
2021 does not have to be this amazing, out-of-this-world perfect year. It doesn’t have to be the best year yet. I would just love for it to be a little less draining than 2020. Ya with me?
As we begin to dig into my roundup of the best tips for organizing your planner for 2021, this is the mindset I’m holding onto. Not just for the whole of 2021, but having a planner and learning to organize as a whole.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be completely filled in all the time. Not every t needs to be crossed, every box checked. I’m an avid planner and carry mine everywhere, but even my 2020 planner had plentyyy of blank pages, empty boxes, etc. And that’s okay. It’s a sign of my human-ness, life, and of 2020’s chaos.
So keep that in mind friend. Whether you’re an avid planner or just starting out, it doesn’t have to be done perfectly or look perfect. Creating a rhythm to using your planner and organizing one takes time to develop, it won’t magically happen when a new year rolls around (sadly), or even just because we want it to. It’ll take some work, discipline, time, and commitment, and grace. Over at Kindred & Co., we might just call all that “intentionality.”
Ready? Oh one more important thing:
I’m going to reference ideas like “being on track” and your “vision” throughout. But please know that this doesn’t always just mean quantifiable goals. It might mean something like “creating healthier boundaries” or “being kinder to my family.” Not the same as “eating healthier,” but just as valid and needed (if not more) in your overall wellbeing as a person. Remember, at the end of the day, and this life, it’s not about what you accomplished that matters to the person you are, but the who you are. The “be” of your human being.
Now, let’s talk planner organization for 2021.
Start with where you’re coming from. Ask yourself: “How am I doing leaving 2020 and entering 2021? What am I taking with me (emotionally, mentally, etc.) and what am I leaving behind?” We can’t take a step forward towards something if we don’t know from where we’re starting. More on this on our blog post about transitioning from 2020 to 2021.
You might need to carve out some time for this and probably write these thoughts down. I personally like to write mine in the first pages of my Kindred Planner so I can remember the places from which I started when the year comes to an end. It helps give me a fuller picture of the year.
Think about the big picture for 2021. Ask yourself: “What do I want this year to be about? What do I want to be true of this year when it is over?”
Similar to the first step, it’s going to be a lot easier to plan and organize your year, figuring out what priorities you’ll want in place throughout the year, if you have an overall idea of where you are headed. I can come up with a CVS receipt long list of things I want to get done in my year and probably call them all my priorities. But if I look at the overall vision of what I want my year to be about, then I might see that some of those priorities are not as urgent as I have envisioned them to be.
Again, this might mean carving out some reflection time with yourself to accurately think about your year and writing them down. I like to put my thoughts in the “be prepared, be inspired, be bold, be motivated” beginning pages of my Kindred Planner so I can go back and remember what I dreamt my year to be about throughout the year. Especially helpful for those spring and fall days when I’m feeling a little all over the place.
Now here come more of the detail-y bits. And all the Type A’s should “hurray!”
Fill in your year with the big things. What big events are happening this year that you can put into your calendar now? For example: weddings, graduations, babies, birthdays (those are just as important), holidays, etc. Put these in first because it’ll help you prioritize your time and energy throughout the year as you see them approach. Write them on the monthly calendar spread, in the “Celebrate” sections of the Kindred Planner (annual and month sections),
Since I am using my Simple Kindred Planner (blank calendar pages) this year, I’ll only be filling in a month at a time. This is mostly because I have a feeling baby girl is going to make sticking to a calendar a littleee more challenging and I want to maximize the use of my planner. However, I’m still writing out all of January and anything big and important in it (aka her due date).
Think about each month… relative to the year. What priorities do I need to set, habits I want to develop, rhythms I want to keep/change in order to keep myself moving towards the overall vision of 2021? See how setting the vision of 2021 has become important to do first?
Asking yourself these questions might seem silly. You might be thinking “Why can’t I just go for the year and hope for the best?” You can! But I can almost assure you that if you don’t think about each month relative to the overall vision, it’ll be harder to see your 2021 vision and dreams/goals fulfilled. Think of each month as a stepping stone to the 2021 vision; for January, what is in that first stepping stone?
If you’re a Kindred Planner user, or using our new Tracker Pages (digital or notepad version), you can track these habits on the “be intentional” pages! They were designed to help you track these habits/rhythms as you take steps towards your end goal.
This is also why at the end of each month, the Kindred Planner has check-in questions for you. I want to hold you accountable to the vision you set out for and make sure you’re on track. Plus, it’s important to check in with yourself throughout the year. Remind yourself that you are more than whatever boxes you’re checking off or lists you’re accomplishing / not accomplishing.
Commit to writing monthly and weekly priorities. Who are the people I want to spend time connecting to this month (the “be with” section of the Kindred Planner)? What goals do I have for this month? What are my weekly priorities (the “focus” section of the weekly layout)? Maybe even, what are my daily priorities?
Setting priorities at the start of each month/week/day helps ensure the most important things are getting done (albeit maybe not perfectly) and everything else is bonus. It’s a rough day for me when I get a bunch of things done, but still feel like I missed the big pieces. It’s usually a sign that I had the wrong priorities set for that day/week.
And you might have guessed it, but try to only pick a top three list and also, pick ones that actually pertain to what’s the reality of either your overall vision or of life. Try not to be tempted to pick things for what you wish were going to happen (as I’m so often tempted to do).
To be honest, I could probably write a heck of a lot more. But I think this is plenty sufficient as is. If you have additional questions or comments, please feel free to drop a comment below or send us a message!
But ultimately, I want you to take away this:
Happy planning and organizing friends!
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