Moving into your Planner: Part One (Beginning with Reflection)

Moving into your Planner: Part One (Beginning with Reflection)

Welcome! My hope with this mini-blog series is to help you move into your new planner and find ways to maximize its value to you. Whether it’s your fifth year with Unbound or your first, I sincerely hope your planner will be a faithful guide over the next year with whatever life brings you.

A quick caveat before beginning: the ideas and suggestions here are just that - suggestions. There is no right or wrong way to use your planner. While I hope to excite and encourage you with a few new possibilities and ideas, my ultimate goal is for you to make it your own.

Throughout this mini series, I am going to walk you through the whys and hows of our thoughtfully-crafted planning process - a system designed to gently guide you in designing and building an intentional, fulfilling life centered on your deepest values. In our process, each step builds on the previous one:

  1. Self reflection
  2. Goal creation
  3. Goal organization
  4. Yearly planning (and extras)
  5. Monthly planning
  6. Weekly planning

Today we will focus on self reflection, but a little backstory first…

Years ago, as a new mom juggling many hats and dreams and goals and to-do lists, I realized more deeply than ever how precious time is and how quickly it passes. Even more importantly, I realized that without a plan, time easily fills with whatever catches our fleeting attention or the moment demands, but not necessarily with what’s most important. I had a deep desire to address this.

After many hours of dreaming and scheming and drawing, I crafted the first draft of Unbound. My goal? To create a tool that helped me live with purpose and peace, and to eventually help others do the same. I wanted my actions and time spent to be driven by my values, not by the ever-changing, incessant demands of the world around me or the happenstance of the day. I quickly realized that while creating daily to-do lists and goal-setting are important to intentional living, neither are the first step. Instead, I needed to pause and reflect on where I was in life, what I valued, and identify any gaps in who I was and who I wanted to be. 

This leads us to the first (and very important) step in your planner - your self reflection. The purpose of this step is to offer you an opportunity to thoroughly examine your life, ask thoughtful, introspective questions, and ultimately, provide clarity about how to build your most fulfilling life. If you’re anything like me, this sounds a bit overwhelming, but don’t worry! This reflection is more about processing and discerning than it is about figuring everything out. And the best part? Our planner makes it super easy with our guided questions and simple instructions.

To help guide you in this process, here are a few gentle recommendations:

  • Take your time. Please don’t feel like you have to start and finish your reflection in one sitting. Thoughtwork often requires time. One possible approach is to read a few questions in the morning, mull them over throughout the day, and revisit them later that evening. For me personally, I think best when I’m moving, so I love to take walks to process big ideas and thoughts. 
  • Be honest. Nobody else will know either way, but being truly honest with yourself is the only way to find peace in your planning and carve out a life plan that is truly meaningful to you.
  • Don’t limit your answers. Our planner is purposefully compact, but you may feel pressed for space on some of the questions. In that case, continue on a spare sheet of paper or maybe on the notes pages in the back of the book. Conversely, if a question feels irrelevant to you, skip it!
  • Feel free to type up your thoughts. Some people are able to process their thoughts better while typing. If this is you, go for it. The responses certainly don’t have to be in your book, although you could also print and tape them in if you wanted to.
  • Revisit as necessary. We are always changing and growing - as are the people we love and the world around us. Therefore, dreams and needs and values can also shift. Feel free to revisit these questions as needed. 

  • I hope you find this message encouraging and helpful as you begin your year, whenever that may be!

    Up next: Goal Creation and Organization