Life Hack: 3 Great Ways to Use a Planner

I decided to go into 2018 with an actual planner. Yes, an old-school, physical planner. I have to say, my planner is very cute and stylish. Her power pink says “this lady has it together!”.

Did you pick up on the fact that my planner is a “she”?

2018 begins and I have a snazzy planner that makes me feel sophisticated but I struggle to make her useful. I am reliant on my virtual calendar for almost activity that I am committed to so how do I use this planner?

After several planning sessions focused on ways to use my planner, I have three great implementation ideas to make a planner relevant in day to day life.

1. Turning “To Dos” into Scheduled Activities
I have an ever-expanding list of things that I have to do, should do, and would like to do. I use my planner to turn these into action items. Now my to-dos are scheduled and become “to-did”.

The key to scheduling, however, is making sure you don’t try to accomplish everything on your list in one day or even on the same day. Prioritize in order to avoid setting yourself up for failure.

2. Offering small High 5’s
The best thing about having a to-do list is being able to check items off. You feel accomplished. Using my planner to document large and small achievements is motivating.

3. Chunking
We all know that goals are only dreams unless we make them actionable. Even short-term goals need to be chunked out and approached in intervals. I use my planner to establish my goals for the month and schedule activity that contributes to the goal throughout the month.

The most important thing about my planner is that she needs attention. I have to spend time with her. At least once a week, I check in with her to monitor my progress toward what I said I was going to do for the week and what is coming up during the next week.

Whether it is a physical planner or some other method, you have to have a method of logging your goals and holding yourself accountable.

Career Hack: How to Prepare for an Informational Interview

Last week, I was talking with a colleague who is preparing for the GRE. He is excited and very nervous about the test and about what happens after the exam because he is not sure exactly what type of graduate degree he wants to pursue.

We talked a little about his strategy for investigating career options. Currently, he is researching programs and “stalking” people on LinkedIn (his words, not mine).

I asked if he thought about reaching out to people via LinkedIn and actually asking for an informational interview. After recovering from the initial shock of me suggesting he speak to someone in real time, face to face; he agreed that it could be helpful.

Have you ever conducted an informational interview? If not, here are a few tips about “Preparing for an Informational Interview”.

Feel free to contact me if you need help thinking through a strategy for conducting informational interviews.