Setting Up a Planner for 2020


When you read this post, there will be just a few days left in the year. For most of us, this is a time of completing the last bits of professional commitments and we are already thrown into the retail, food and family frenzy called the holidays. For some of us, this is also a stressful time. The burden of expectations of making the holidays look like a Hallmark movie can fell the best of us!

Here is a simple and powerful antidote.  Come let’s setup your planner for 2020. You need 3 things to prepare for this activity:

  • A block of 2-3 hours of quiet time
  • A space where you can be seated comfortably and have a table or clear surface to write
  • A hot beverage of your choice

PS – I recommend you read my first post of this month before you begin so that you understand the context behind planning!

To set up your planner, you will need the following:

  • Your updated value-vision-purpose statements
  • One goal for the year in the following areas of your life – finance, wellbeing, career, relating, learning, hobbies & passions, community, spiritual (You can shift these categories, add, delete as suits your life design)
  • A diary or planner (I recommend a notebook that is hard bound rather than spiral because they tend to be more sturdy. Also, the use of a paper planner has higher benefits in terms to hand-eye coordination and transforming stress over using a digital planner. You are however free to use what suits your life. I also recommend a notebook that has pre-printed calendars for the year, month and week for the ease of use.  Here are my top 3 planner recommendations: Scribbles That Matter Bullet Planner, Lemome 2020 Planner and what I will personally use this year, the Live Your Dream Planner 2020)
  • A pen that writes well and easily
  • Craft supplies like markers, stickers, washi tape, glitter (optional)

Here are the 5 easy steps to be fully prepared for 2020 and hit the ground running:

  1. Use the blank pages in the front of the planner (or the pages marked for that use) to fill in the following into your planner:
    • Value and Vision 2020
    • Word of the Year, Theme of the Year (optional for those of you who use this powerful process to set an intention for your year)
    • Top Goal in each focus area (as per your choice) 
    • A photograph of yourself as a reminder of how you began the year
  2. Fill in your key milestones for 2020 that are already known to you
    • Important dates like birthdays, graduation, anniversaries
    • Start and completion dates of courses, programs or other learning activities
    • Planned holidays
    • All major financial reminders – premium payments, tax payments and submissions, bills, investment markers
  3. Populate your Wellness Calendar for the first 6 weeks of the year as follows:
    • When and how often will you move your body? Where? (example – Tu-Fri 7-8 am Yoga at Om Studio, M-W-Th 4-6 pm Walk at Race Course)
    • When and how often will you commit to a stillness practice? (example – 15 minutes daily before I eat breakfast)
    • When will you buy and make food for you and your loved ones?
    • What will be my sleep and wake time? 
  4. Identify space in your planner to reflect, express gratitude and capture learnings
  5. Make a space for a habit tracker for each month.  Also, set up your habit tracker for January. A habit tracker is a way to keep yourself accountable for those things that you want to do daily.  (Example – exercise, drinking 1 litre water, eating no refined sugar, reading 25 pages, sleeping at a fixed time, waking up at a fixed time)  I recommend that you identify 3-5 habits to track each month to keep from being overwhelmed.

Congratulations!  Your planner is now set up for 2020 as are you…

PS- This puts you in readiness to live your best life starting now.  Planning is a structure that actually gives you freedom, freedom to live to your fullest potential.

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