Growth Planners help us plan and track our personal growth and productivity.
We often find ourselves not growing much despite we have been reading a lot about personal growth and productivity.
This is because we lack planning. Or if we have plans, we lack tracking.
Planning allows us to envisage how we will grow, while tracking allows us to realize how and how much we have grown over a period of time.
If our memory is not excellent, we will need some external aids to walk us through the planning and tracking process. This is where growth planners kicks in to help.
In this article, we will discuss:
- Personal growth and planning
- Using growth planners to help planning
- How to make a plan that works
- How to choose between digital planners or paper planners
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Personal growth and planning
Personal growth is a generic term describing the process of self-improvement, talent development and human capital building for life.
It refers to growth in totality as a person.
To break it down, it covers a wide spectrum of personal developments from the more tangible ones, such as academic, career and health, to some soft skills, such as interpersonal relationships, communications and leadership.
Over the years, people are studying the traits pertained to personal growth and success, and are adding on to a long list of factors, such as appearance, charisma, education, knowledge, etc.
A research carried out by psychologists shows that, among other traits, conscientiousness has been the major contributor to personal growth, and people of conscientiousness would opt for more planning.
There are many types of planning.
Generally, random and unrealistic plans do not help you in any way at all. Instead, it will just drag you and your growth rate down because of missing the planned schedules and goals.
We will share our tips on how to make good plans below.
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Using growth planners to help planning
Many of you will have at least some plans on their schedule and projects. However, many of you eventually do not go by the plans. There can be many reasons for this and the style and the quality of details of your plan are amongst.
Weekly planners and daily planners
We recommend using both weekly planners and daily planners to get your tasks and events in the day and the week planned, organized and prioritized. This is especially for students and readers with much freedom and time flexibility.
Studies show that students with a habit of planning can improve their efficiency in studying.
Here are some key benefits for weekly planner and daily planner users.
1. Time management
Weekly planners and daily planners can get you to estimate the time required for each event and task. They can also make you think about what you will need to finish for the day and the week.
This minimizes the chances of having a substantial amount of last-minute work and over-running an event.
Also, planners can remind you of what you need to do and avoid missing any important events.
2. Increased productivity
Anticipating the work and events you need to attend increases productivity.
With weekly planners and daily planners, you can now clearly see the time-sensitivity of each assignment as you can see their deadlines. You can now plan and decide which tasks you will need to complete first.
For some big projects, you can also break it down into phases by setting milestone dates for each phase. (You should use a project planner to guide you! An introduction on project planners follows this section)
Planners motivate you to work.
By scheduling your day and week, you are effectively setting up goals for yourself. People like chasing for a sense of achievement. Setting targeted times to chase will give you this. Therefore, people using planners tend to finish the scheduled tasks quicker than those who do not.
Getting optimized rest is essential for productivity. a planner can help you allocate time efficiently with scheduled breaks and avoid burning mid-night oil.
3. Healthier life
Weekly planners and daily planners are more than just study or work. They go to the center of your physical and mental health.
Regular routines are conducive to good both physical and mental health.
The planners help you plan and keep track of your eating habits, workout schedules and sleeping patterns. (You should use a habit tracker to motivate you! An introduction to habit trackers follows this section.)
Most importantly, you can allocate for and spend time with your family regularly.
They can also remind you when you will need to attend a medical appointment, which is crucial for readers with regular medicinal needs.
Aside from planning ahead of your routines, planners can also let you review on how your lifestyle is like over a period of time. If you continuously suffer from mood swings or stress, they may be able to shed some light on why.
4. Best tool for self-reflection
It gives a sense of accomplishment when, after a day or week, you go review the planners and see how much you have done over the day or week. Pat yourself on the back!
These planners provide you with the best tool for self-reflection.
You can go back and see which task you completed ahead of schedule and which fallen behind. Reflect on the underlying reasons – whether it is because of distraction or its inherent difficulty. Then, jot them down and make adjustments to your planners for similar activities in the future.
5. Many more!
Once you started using weekly planners and daily planners, you will realize there are many more benefits than you can imagine. Share with us your experience!!!
Project planners and habit trackers
Project planners and habit trackers are to be used along with weekly planners and daily planners to have better personal growth.
As you may tell from their names, they are used in project execution and habit development.
They are important tools.
A. Project Planners
To help you plan and prioritize your day and week, a project planner guide you through the thought process of how to rank your tasks within a project by defining the urgency and importance of the tasks of a project.
Very often, when you brainstorm or the project has been running for some time, it is common that some interesting thoughts derail you from achieving the purpose of the project. Setting out the project’s objectives in the project planner can ensure you go in the right direction.
Project planners encourage you to set up time blocks for each task.
Not only are you dividing up the project into tasks of different urgency and importance, you are essentially further subdividing each task by time.
For example, if you set 40-minute time blocks, this means you will just focus on doing that specific task in the designated 40 minutes.
Of course, you can define a time block that works best with you. This can avoid you fall trap into the famous Parkinson’s Law, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.
Ultimately, a project planner aims to boost work efficiency.
B. Habit Trackers
A habit tracker helps you set out why you would want to develop a habit and how to achieve it.
It reminds you to act.
The tracker allows you to see how much progress you have made over the week in relation to that habit.
By checking out the boxes in the tracker, it motivates you to act more.
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How to make a plan that works
It is far from enough for realizing personal growth to just have the planners.
You must use them wisely.
1. Spend the time on the planners
It is worthwhile to spend time on planning. But, it must not be disproportionate. Our advice is to spend 45 minutes a day at most on working on the planners.
Weekly Planner: Before you start a new week, you should spend some time to think about your week generally. Write out what you need to do on each day of the coming week. Separately, put down the tasks that you need to complete and your goals for the coming week.
The purpose is to let you have an overview of the week ahead.
Daily Planner: You should work on your daily planner no later than the night before the day which the planner relates. This is to avoid any last-minute surprise.
On the next day, while you are taking a sip of your coffee in the morning, you should review the planner, check it against the weekly planner and see if anything is missing.
2. One planner for one purpose only
There should be only one weekly planner for each week, one daily planner for each day, one project planner for each project, one habit tracker for each habit……
Your weekly planner and daily planner should be the only places that contain all the events and tasks that you need to attend. Otherwise, you will be confusing yourself and messing up around.
Tips: It is common to temporarily mark your schedule on your phone. If you have some events marked in your phone schedule, you should take them out and put them in the planners when you are preparing the weekly planner.
3. Your plans must be specific
You should write understandably and meaningfully on your planners. Your entry should have the necessary details.
For example, if you are having lunch with a college friend, instead of “lunch”, you should put down “lunch with Peter at Dan Ryans”.
4. Your plans must be realistic
Your plans must be realistic. You must be honest to yourself when assessing how much time is needed for a certain task.
For example, you knew your project conference call will last for about two hours based on your experience. Instead of having unrealistic expectations and sparing 15 minutes for the call this time, you should be setting aside similarly two hours for the coming call.
If you anticipate a long task in a project, make good use of the project planner and break it down and fit them into various time blocks. This would make the task look more manageable.
5. Plan your breaks well
Be sure you plan short breaks between each task. This can refresh your mind and get a new start for another task.
6. Interact with your planner
Things might not go on as planned during the day. A call from your friend can throw you off your plan.
Try your best not to get distracted from your plan. If necessary, readjust your plan and try to stick with the rest of the plan as much as you can. This can minimize further disruptions and derailing ahead.
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How to choose between digital planners or paper planners
The debate on whether digitalized materials are more preferable than tangible paper materials never ends. The question of whether digital planners or paper planners are more conducive to personal growth is a matter of personal preference depending on your habits.
The ME Growth Planners are digital, fillable and printable. You can decide whether you wish to type or write on them.
We prefer writing on the planners
We prefer writing out on the planners – on iPad or paper – other than typing, as we believe in the science of writing and it is more brain-engaging.
1. Better memory
Studies show that we memorize words better if we write them out.
2. Better accountability
Psychology research shows that people who wrote down their goals, shared them with others, and maintained accountability for their goals were 33% more likely to achieve them, versus those who just formulated goals.
Also, writing stimulates your reticular activating system which would in effect urge you to achieve the goal. It is understood that typing does not have this influence.
3. Stress relief
It is suggested that writing the goals, plans and ideas out can reduce stress. Not only that, but it also stimulates further thoughts about the problems and the possible solutions.
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If you wish to boost productivity and achieve more with some handy planners, we are here to help!
We are sharing with you the planners that we created for ourselves (at a little charge). To date, we are all using them daily and we find ourselves much more organized and efficient.
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- How to Better Manage Stress
- How to Avoid Sleep Problems and Sleep Better
- Systematic Goal Setting to Achieve Your Goals Effectively
- The Personal Growth Model: What Is It and How to Use It
- Use Personal PDCA to Achieve Your Goals
- Change Your Life by Developing a Growth Mindset
By signing up, you will receive the ME Growth Planner Starter Kit, which includes an undated planner pack with a monthly planner and weekly planner inserts.