Heading into the new year, one of the most important things we can do is to create a plan. I am not a natural planner, but I do plan a few things in my life, such as work tasks and intentional family time. When I do take the extra time to plan, my life becomes far less stressful. One way I force myself to plan is to keep a planner. But not just a planner with a calendar. No, a planner should be used less like a calendar and more as a tool. Just like you wouldn’t hire a personal assistant who only kept your schedule, you shouldn’t buy a planner with just a calendar. Certain planners now offer goal setting prompts and priority task lists to help you better manage your time and develop habits that lead to success.
Although a practicing planner, I am not an expert. Because of this, I reached out to expert planner, Kelly Gore with iBloom. Through our interview, you should be able to learn the best and most valuable planning tips to start 2017 off on the right foot as well as get a glimpse into a great planning tool — the iBloom planner.
You won’t want to begin the new year without educating yourself on best planning practices. Start by reading the interview below:
1. Hi Kelly, what do you believe makes you an expert in planning? Tell us about your journey.
“I’ve always been an avid planner. As a life and business coach, I know the perfect planner is key to my success, but also the success of my clients. I’ve tried just about every planner that exists, but could never find that “perfect” one. I needed a planner that would allow me to plan my year, but also give me easy access to that plan so that I could see it and actually follow through. I wanted a planner that would give me weekly and daily “check-ins” so that I could visually see how I was progressing toward my goals. I needed a planner that would help me live my priorities (those things that matter most). Plus, it had to be pretty and inspirational.
2. What advice do you have for the people who feel overwhelmed by the idea of planning their year? What are the “first steps” for them to take?
“Planning out a year can be a daunting task. But, the place to start is with a quick evaluation. As you think about this past year, [reflect on] what went well, what didn’t go well, and what you know needs to change in the upcoming year.
You can use the answers to those questions to then start thinking about what you want 2017 to be like. What are your top 5 priorities? In other words, what are those things that matter most to you? Then, based on those priorities, what are two ways that you can live into each priority?
For instance, if health is a priority, then you might choose to wear your FitBit and get 10,000 steps daily.”
3. What are the 3-4 “planning focus areas” you believe our readers should focus on as they welcome in the new year? How should our readers decide what to prioritize?
“Focus areas are different for each person. There is really no one-size-fits-all. Start by identifying your stressors or areas you want to improve. For instance, if your home environment is out of control, then you might start by developing a plan to get organized. Or, if you know you need to lose ten pounds, then you might develop a healthy living plan. Make your plan customized to your needs.”
4. What is the number one tip for planners and nonplanners alike who want to start their new year on the right foot?
“To start your year on the right foot, make sure you first evaluate the past year. Once you’ve taken an honest look at the past year — what worked and what didn’t work — then spend time dreaming about [how] you want this new year to look. What do you want to do? What do you want to accomplish? Who do you want to be?”
5. Why do you recommend a planner vs. a digital copy?
“I’m a paper-pen girl, especially when it comes to planning. I need to get it out of my brain and physically written down. There’s something about writing down a plan that makes it stick.”
6. Who would you say needs a planner and why?
“Anyone who is juggling multiple roles or responsibilities needs a planner! A planner is the perfect way to free up your brain’s capacity to do more important things because you’ll actually write down all the things that it won’t constantly be trying to remember.”
7. What sets your planner apart?
“The iBloom Planner isn’t your typical calendar or appointment book. Of course, it still has all of those features, plus SO much more. It acts as your personal coach — asking you the right questions to help you prioritize, set goals, and make a realistic plan for achieving them. Plus, it’s beautiful – colorful and inspiring, so you want to open it and use it each day!
We’re proud that our iBloom Planner is made in the USA! We go out of our way to keep jobs local and we love that our planner supports local businesses.”
8. You say the iBloom planner acts as a coach. Can you give us a couple sample coaching questions?
“The iBloom Planner acts as a coach because it guides you through the process of creating your plan for the year, each month, and each week. Like any great coach, the goal of the planner is to keep you laser focused on completing the things that matter most to you. For example, each month, there is space to check in with how things went the previous month, set your goals, create a gratitude list, and identify the key relationships you want to invest in that month. Then, each week, we refer you back to your monthly goals and encourage you to identify the key goals for that particular week. At the end of the week, we encourage you to celebrate your biggest win from the week.”
9. What is your favorite planning resource and why?
“My favorite planning resource is the ‘My 2017 Plan’ of our iBloom Planner. I love that it walks you through the step-by-step process of creating a success plan for the new year.”
10. Tell us more about the “My 2017 Plan.”
“The ‘My 2017 Plan’ is a section in the front of the iBloom Planner that walks you through the process of creating your plan for the year. It starts with a ‘Reality Check’ that allows you to do a quick assessment of what is working well, what isn’t work, and what you want to change. Then, you can identify your priorities and the personal goals to help you live into your priorities. There is space to write down your favorite ‘me time’ activities, date night ideas, books you want to read in 2017, and conferences/events you’d like to attend. There is [also] a place for a vision board. Yes, a vision board in your planner! Then, if you’re in business you can use the business planning pages to create your vision and goals, plan for your income, and map out your projects and goals.”
11. Can you walk us through your personal new year planning process?
“I start by envisioning what success will look like in the new year. What do I want to do? How do I want to feel? What do I want to accomplish? Who do I want to be? How do I want to make a difference?
Then, I use the ‘My 2017 Plan’ section of the iBloom Planner and work through the process step-by-step to ensure that I have the plan to make my vision become a reality.
For the vision board part of the plan, we do that as mother/daughter time. I LOVE creating a vision board with my 5-year-old. I guide her through a visioning exercise similar to what I do. Asking her things like, what do you want to do next year? What do you want to learn? Where do you want to go? We make a list of all of her things and then she digs through magazines with me finding the things that represent her vision.”
12. Anything else we need to know about successfully planning for the new year?
“Planning for a successful new year doesn’t have to be boring or overwhelming. Have fun dreaming and planning as you think about the life you want to live next year.”
Want to test out the iBloom Planner to see if it’s a good fit for you? Be our guest this week. Go here to get a free week of the iBloom Planner, along with a FREE training that will teach you how to use it.
For vision board help, see our post: “How To Create A Vision Board” here.
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