Have you heard the saying “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail?” I feel like my life is spinning out of control. Like many modern women, I wear many hats. I rush around putting out the fires of urgent demands and handling the little but important things that pop up but I don't feel like I am getting anything done. I don’t have time to plan and I end up feeling like a failure. I know I need to plan. I know that planning things out relives stress because it’s fewer “on the spot” decisions I have to make, but planning out priorities and goals in addition to lesson plans and menus? Who has time?
Knowing that I need to make a change in my life, I knew I needed to review The The 7 Minute Life™ Daily Planner from The 7 Minute Life. I knew that would force me to take the time. Force myself to slow down, breath deep and work through the front portion of this planner and then I would be able to use the main daily planner pages called daily progress reports.
Let’s chat a bit about those sections in the front: the planning pages. Grab a cup of pumpkin spice latte, or hot apple cider with cinnamon (or really whatever beverage you like to sip while chatting with friends). There’s a gold mine in the planning pages, but it took some digging for me to find the treasure. I’m lazy and I didn’t want to take the time to think about personal goals, financial goals, work goals or any of that jazz. But I’m glad that I did.
First Things First
The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner is more than just daily planner pages. It begins with a 3 page Preface section that explains the background of the planner. This is followed by an Introduction Section that explains what the planner is, why you need the planner and provides and overview of the planner. I referred to these pages frequently when trying to understand what to do with the different worksheets and the different sections of the daily progress report.
Next come the worksheets. I needed time to complete these. Remember what I said about time? I would think about these pages in the shower. Pray about them. I tackled them in order. First up: “Prioritize” which asks the planner (the person, not the book) to rank your values. What do you find important? Laughter? Arts? Honesty? Relationships? This was not an easy task for me, yet it was not as difficult as I feared. I circled the items important to me and realized that some of those didn’t matter at all to me. Ranking them and choosing the top ten was a little more difficult.
Why is it important to rank and prioritize your values? Because knowing what values are your priorities can help you decide where to focus your time and energies. If “faith” is high ranking value priority for me, I’m going to want to choose activities such as completing my daily Bible reading, instead of flipping through the a magazine about how to get the most out of my next camping trip. (My girls love camping, me? Not so much, so “Nature” isn’t a high priority value for me.)
The hardest worksheet for me to complete, the one that required the most time, thought and prayer, was the “Discovering Your Purpose” page. This page has a place for you list “What I Love” and “Purpose Words” as well as place to write out the answer to this question: “At the age of 85, I will know I have fulfilled my purpose when: . . . “
Two more pre-planning pages follow: You Highest and Best, and Mental Clutter. Next you’ll find the goal pages: 90-Day Personal Goals, 90-Day Work Goals, 90-Day Financial Goals, and Life Goals. I realized that I do do have goals. I just never to the time to explore them or acknowledge them. They were more dreams than goals but writing them out helped me to realize that there are things that I can do to move towards those goals. I have a goal to be fit enough to hike some mountain trails with my daughters. I can use the daily progress report to choose activities that will help me achieve that goal. It’s more of a life goal than a 90-Day Personal Goal.
More Front Section Tools
Having worked through priorities, purpose and goals we get to my favorite section. Unfinished Tasks. There are pages for Unfinished Work Tasks and Unfinished Home Tasks. This are the jobs like “wash comforter” (Unfinished Home Task), or “write Nutrition lesson plans” (Unfinished Work Task). There is a section on the Daily Progress Report for unfinished tasks. On the DPR, I pick from my master lists of unfinished tasks to pick up to ten to tackle on this day. There’s a page for “Home Repairs,” “Mental Clutter,” “Connections,” as well as many calendar planning worksheets.
The Daily Progress Report
“The Daily Progress Report” is a two-page spread to help you plan your day. It includes the question “Did I do what I said I would do today?” with check boxes for Yes or No. An explanation for each section is given in the front matter and on the website there are videos that explain each section. The sections are: “Daily Contacts”, “What Will I do . . . 5 before 11”, “7 Minute Life Connections”, “Unfinished Tasks,” “What I spent,” “Appointments,” “Thank You Notes,” and “Voice Mail” with sections for meals, notes, and even check boxes to track your water intake.
Customizing the Planner for ME!
I do not have employment outside the home but I wear many hats besides mom. I’m a reviewer, a blogger, and a teacher in addition to my home manager status. I do not have a business so I do not need a Contacts section and I do not need a section for voicemails. I do however need a place to jot down things that I need to do today but that either do not need to be part of my 5 before 11 or comes up after I’ve made my 5 before 11. These are things like responding to an email that arrived in the morning or my husband asking me to find something. I turned the Voicemail section into a Things That Come Up section. On days when I feel like I accomplished nothing I can look at the section and see that I did get many things done.
As a blogger, participating in social media is both fun and necessary. One of the requirements for being a part of the Schoolhouse Review crew is to have an active blog. The Contacts section of the daily progress report has become my blogging and social media section. I’m still perfecting how best to make it work for me, but this section is where I can jot down the names of blogs I want to visit, or blog posts I want to pin. I can note which blogs I visited when participating in my favorite link ups.
- The Vender: The 7 Minute Life
- The Product: The 7 Minute Life™ Daily Planner
- The Creator: Allyson Lewis
- Format: Coil Bound: 7.3" by 8.5" physical planner
- Age Range: adults, especially adults who have jobs but is also beneficial for homeschooling and blogging mamas who “stay at home”
- Price: $24.95
- NOTE: Ms. Lewis has many tips, tools and strategies. I highly recommend exploring Time Strategy Tools and the Getting Started video.
You can read my other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews to find more great products.