How I Plan In Analog Vs. Digitally
It’s that time of year again! While I don’t like to wait for a new year to get up and running on a new routine, I do appreciate the energy it brings. So today I am sharing both ways that I plan, organize, and track my goals.
I enjoy the process of writing things out, color coding, and scratching tasks off of my checklists. I also enjoy the ability streamline and schedule digitally. Goal planning in a digital format allows me space to brainstorm, the convenience of automation and reminders, and the obvious ease that comes from using word documents and note-taking apps. So, I do both.
I start off plotting out my goals digitally (after collecting all of my scratched sticky notes) and then once I have locked in a plan, I write them down by hand.
It may seem as though I jump back and forth between my digital planner, bullet journal, and Notion as you are reading this. I do use all three to stay on track because it’s what works for me. I am in a place where I need reminders all over the place right now. But I wanted to share all the ways I goal plan in one place in case it helps inspire some new techniques for you. Let’s dive in.
how i plan my goals digitally
I have only recently started using a digital planner and GoodNotes, but I felt it was still worth mentioning. I do not actually plan my goals out in my digital planner but I do schedule tasks there and list reminders for current goals. For the most part, my goals are just tracked in GoodNotes right now. I use it to display and add any notes and updates as I process through my goals.
I take task items and and plotting out of goal prep from my bullet journal and plug it in in Notion. I have a full page dedicated to goal tracking, planning, and notes. This homepage holds a page for each quarter of the year. Each quarter has a goal. Each month within the quarter has a goal or task that will hopefully help me reach the quarter’s goal.
Under each goal page I dive into: why I want to reach the goal, when and what time limit I am giving myself, and how I plan on reaching this goal.
Each of my goals are setup to be linked to their corresponding month in my content planner (in Notion) and my master to do list. When I add a new goal to my plans I assign each a priority and a deadline. This helps me setup automated reminders on all of my devices and helps me to get visual feedback as time goes on. I also write monthly reflections on each goal’s page.
There is a more in depth post on how I digitally goal plan in Notion coming very soon, stay tuned for that. (it will be linked here once published.)
I used to plan my goals by month but found that to be a little limiting. Not all goals only take a month to reach. It started to get a bit jumbled, so this is how I track everything now.
how i plan my goals in my bullet journal
In a past blog post I talked about my personal goals and how I like to have them right up at the front of my journal. I do this because I am one who likes to look at past pages and spreads on my way to a fresh new page. Having my goals towards the front means I will constantly see this page and be reminded of what I want for future-me.
In my bullet journal, my goals are broken up by quarters of the year. They are further organized by whether each is a personal goal, a goal for LBH, or for my family.
At the start of every month I pull from this spread to re-evaluate the goal and break up the necessary tasks for the month. This way I can assign weekly items to work on. (I don’t usually break things into daily checklists because my days are so fluid right now. I have found that if I put down something to do during the week, it gives me the mental flexibility to break off little chunks whenever I find a free moment.)
Currently, I use my bullet journal in relation to goal planning as a place to hold my thought process and write out what my goal is. I write out how I arrived at the goal and find that this helps with my recall later on. I am one who needs to dissect the why behind things before I can really commit. Full disclosure, more often than not, this why is copied over into Notion, too.
After I reach my goal’s deadline (whether i have reached the goal or not) I take the time to reflect on it. This is sometimes done in my bullet journal, generally if I think I will want to come back and read my notes in the future. I will write out what I think worked, what could use some tweaks, and what my next steps will be.
how i display my goals
Personally, a bullet journal isn’t “enough” anymore. I do have bouts of time when I do not get to my journal for a few days or weeks. I found that in those times I would completely forget about some of the goals I had in mind, simply because my journal was not cracked open.
Now, I make sure my goals are in front of my face constantly. Here’s where you’ll find little reminders of what I’m working towards:
- my white board: I have a magnetic dry erase board just above my desk in the studio. I use it to write out the goals for the quarter, and each month’s “assignment” to reach that goal. I also use magnets to stick on any other little notes or inspiration I might need.
- my iPhone: I use widgets on my Home Screen to display my goals, tasks lists, and motivation. This way I see these things when I’m most likely to get distracted by all the other alerts in my phone.
- my bullet journal: Every weekly spread will usually list whatever goal I am working on. I don’t often create daily pages anymore but my goals often spill out when I list my mental backlog.
- my content planner: My business goals are sometimes listed at the top of certain pages in Notion to keep me on task. For example, if I want to reach a certain number of YouTube subscribers, I’ll pop that at the top of my video planner as a reminder.
insider tips for any type of goal planning
Always set a deadline, and then check in on that date. Having a scheduled timeline for reaching your goal changes everything about your approach to it. One of the better explanations is in S.M.A.R.T. Goal Planning.
If your goal is more about continuous growth than a one-time achievement, try PACT Goal Planning instead. I also have found that starting with the end in mind can be incredibly useful when you aren’t quite sure where to start. Figure out what your goal is, and then think about what step would come directly before achieving it. And what step would be just before that? Continue all the way “backwards” to where you are now.
Your goals are deeply personal and should be handled with care and attention. Reflection should also be a big part of the process and will help you work through your progress, don’t skip it.