We’ve compiled a list of some useful pointers to help you get the most out of your Unbound Planner.
This book is meant to be loved and used. Personally, when we start our new planner for the year, we like to really open the spine so the book lays nice and flat.
This is the first step in our process and an important one. It’s made to really get you thinking about your priorities and if you’re spending your time in a way that aligns with your values. We find that those who invest in this process create richer and more meaningful goals for the year. Check out this blog post for more.
Actually, it’s more than okay. Whenever you begin your planner, you can be sure of one thing - your life will change over the next 12 months and with it your goals. Maybe a lot, maybe a little. Point is, don’t let the feeling that you need to get everything 100% right prevent you from starting.
This step is the key to making goals you can actually achieve. Why? Because if your goals aren’t specific and measurable you have no way to track them and therefore, no easy way to measure your progress. Many of you have probably heard of SMART goals (specific-measurable-attainable-relevant-time bound). Basically, it’s a set of criteria proven to help you make goals that you can actually achieve. But don’t feel overwhelmed! We’ve done the work for you. Simply follow the easy step-by-step process we outline in beginning of our planner. And the best part is, whatever goals you come up with our organizational system can easily track them. Want examples? Check out this post .
This distinction is important to recognize as these two types of goals need to be tracked differently (and as we know, easy & effective tracking is the key to being able to work towards your goals - big and small).
What do we mean by repeat regularly vs. not? It’s simple. You’ll have some goals that repeat monthly, weekly or daily. For example: drink 8 glasses of water a day, exercise 3 times a week, no social media once a week, go on a date once month. And you’ll have other goals that are one-time or maybe repeat just a couple times a year. For example: travel to a new country, plant a garden, go camping twice this summer, complete annual training for work etc. For both types of goals, the Unbound Planner has a simple, integrated design that allow you track them throughout the year. We give some more details in Tip #8.
Unbound is the only planner we’ve seen with something like our timeline page. It’s unique in that it neatly organizes all your goals for the year in one place. This is important because it gives you one place to easily refer back to throughout the year, so that you integrate the goals you made at the beginning of the year in your day-to-day life.
At the beginning of the year (or whenever you do your planning), you’re likely going to have some big goals and projects that require lots of sub-tasks (e.g. renovating the bathroom, planning for a big trip, making a business plan, etc.). And if you’re not planning to do them until later in the year, you likely won’t know all the specific steps they require. In these cases, we recommend simply listing your goal(s) on your timeline page and selecting the month you want to start them. Then, when the time comes to plan them out, use one of your thirteen project planning pages to create all the specific steps. As shown below, you have two templates to choose from.
We recommend building in regular planning sessions at the beginning of every month, week and day. How long these take will vary greatly from person to person. We do about an hour each month, 20 minutes each week and 10 minutes each day. Yes, this takes time, but it’s time well worth the effort. And you just might find that regular planning actually ends up saving you time!
Our stance is that investing a little time in planning makes the difference between whether you spend your days proactively or reactively. Whether you’re intentional with your time or not. It doesn’t mean there won’t be days or weeks when life is too crazy to get much done outside the necessary. But it does mean staying as organized, focused and mindful.
We did this because it visually separates the things that will take more time/energy vs. the things that are fast/simple - hopefully making it easier to evaluate and sort through what needs to be done in a quick glance. For example, let’s say you only have five minutes to get something done, you can quickly look at your list and see the to-dos that qualify. Or maybe you don’t have a lot of energy but still want to accomplish something, same thing. If this distinction doesn’t make sense for you, there are other great options like personal vs. work, priority vs. not, to-do vs. to-buy or even just ignore the separation and use it as one big list.
Every week we give you a full blank page - half lined, half dot grid. It’s there to give you extra space for whatever your need but we think it’s especially perfect to detail out any sub-tasks you have for the bigger projects or to-dos you’re working on that week. Other ways to use it: journaling, grocery lists, drawings, shopping lists, extra planning space, doodling etc.
Each week we give you space to outline your morning routine. Not only is it crucial for setting the tone for your day, it’s also been been proven to increase productivity. What time you wake up and how long your routine is will vary greatly from person to person. Just remember, morning is when your willpower is highest, so you’ll want to start your day on the right foot and tackle your most important tasks as soon as possible. That momentum will carry throughout the day.
These things are just as important as organizing your life and working towards your goals. You might already have some of these built into your own personal goals - that’s great! We’re hoping that having them integrated into your planner will make it easier for you to remember to do them. Individually, each of these has plenty of physical and emotional benefits. Keep up with them all to experience increased happiness, better sleep, stronger immune system, less stress, more focused, more productive … and the list goes on and on. Don’t worry about making huge gestures - even the small things have an impact.
We purposely built our planner (and in particular our weekly schedule page) to be clean, open and flexible so that it can adapt to lots of different planning styles.
This planner is a tool that can truly change how you spend your time and therefore, how you feel about the direction your life is going. By using Unbound you will feel less overwhelmed, more balanced, more focused and more fulfilled. It’s all about becoming your happiest, healthiest and most productive self. But it will only work if you use it! So learn to incorporate it into your daily life. Make it a habit. We promise you won’t regret it.