I got to try a 7 Minute Life Daily Planner for about a month.....because this was for me....an adult.
The idea behind this planner is, basically, that time management is a process of planning - which means you take time to "think" about what you want to do....then you set goals.....the "what" comes before the "when".....as in, you aren't ready to actually put anything on your schedule yet. Now, you need to take the "what" and break it down into action steps....the micro-actions that you can actually accomplish. The point is to keep all of this is on a single piece of paper, so you can see yourself completing the goal.....and not lose track of the goal.
How about the "7 Minute" part of it, you say? Well, that stems from a study that shows the average attention span of an adult....yes, an adult....is 7 minutes. I was discussing this concept with my friend Lydia and she was sort of horrified if that was the case. We were both left a little sad by the idea that we only have a 7 minute attention span. So, the idea is that you spend 7 minutes a day, planning or prioritizing how you will spend your time to accomplish your goals.
One of the other interesting concepts of this Daily Planner is the 5 before 11 list. This means you choose 5 high value activities (that you allow in your life) for each day to accomplish by 11:00 a.m.
This video is a mini-breakdown of the whole system and the mentality behind the system by the creator, herself, Allyson Lewis. It is well worth the time, and will leave you newly motivated to start your own 7 Minute Life.
In case you need a little more assistance getting started, here are a series of little, short videos that will walk you through how to initially tackle The 7 Minute Life.
Let me give you a few key points from the introduction section of the 7 Minute Life Daily Planner. Yes, there is about a 20 page introduction section to the Daily Planner. You can't just jump in and voila!.....you life is organized and productive.
Nope. You have to do a bit of homework before you get started. The first thing Ms. Lewis recommends is slowing down. Yes. Slowing down. She wants you to slow down and think. Think about what is truly important in your life.
The goal with making yourself slow down and truly think, is that it will help you re-connect with things in your life and rediscover your purpose. The goal is to cut through the noise of life and end the insanity by clearly identifying your purpose, values, goals, etc.
Sounds pretty lofty, doesn't it. But, Ms. Lewis does a great job of explaining how you can get there in small, bite sized pieces.
You still have to do the personal work yourself, but she gives you the carrot stick of the possibility of having a different life/day/hour/minute at the end of the work. You know, the old, Dr. Phil-ism....which, I think, Albert Einstein actually said first....."insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result".
So, yes, you will have to make changes...to get different results.
The first step to your new life is prioritizing your top 10 values.
Does this have anything to do with time management and planning? Well, actually, it does....or, more accurately, it should. You should be spending the majority of your time on things that matter to you....things that line up with your values. I had never thought of things in quite this way before, but the way it was explained, made a lot of sense to me.
So, for instance, someone's daily planner whose personal values included values like "achievement", "excitement", and "power", shouldn't be the same as my daily planner, whose value words include "friendship", "joy", and "financial security".
Once you have your values narrowed down, you jump into discovering your purpose. You know, what you do for others, or how your use your gifts and talents to change the world. Little things like that.
There is a sentence prompt at the end of this section that really threw me.
At the age of 85, I will know I have fulfilled my purpose when.......
See what I mean? How do you even begin to answer that one. This Daily Planner takes a lot of thought and......homework.
One of the best parts of this beginning homework section for me was the Your Highest and Best section where you are asked about what is the best use of your time right now, and to describe what you love the most, your strengths, your highest value activities, AND, how you want to be rewarded.
In this day and age where we are asked to fit more and more into our days....whether it is work responsibilities, personal ones.....or church volunteer activities. You cannot do everything. You do have to say no to some things. Thinking of these things in the "highest and best way"....highest value....best use of your time....right now....is awesome. Taking on that project or saying yes to teaching that class at church, may NOT be the highest and best for you....and that is absolutely, positively, 100% okay.
I had a light bulb moment when Allyson talked about the evils of "unfinished tasks" in your life. She quotes from a book by David Allen, where he calls unfinished tasks "open loops" in your brain. I knew exactly what they were talking about. These open loops just continually circle in the back of your mind....popping in to the front of your mind every now and again....making you think you need to get that done....now.....sometimes you smack it back into the recesses of your mind, but it will continue to fester and send out distress signals to your mind....making you miserable..... until you complete whatever that unfinished task is.
I totally, totally, totally got that one. It is so true. I am a list keeper by nature, so I do already keep a list of things that I have "To Do", because it helps empty my mind of some of those "open loops" I have going in my brain. But, I don't keep them in one place....so, I lose my lists....a lot....adding another "open loop" of having to find my latest list....or remembering what is on it!
As much as I agreed with so much of what was said in the introduction of the Daily Planner and after watching Allyson explain things in the video, I was scared to start using it. I was scared to do the homework. I was even scared to actually write in the planner.
I took me awhile to get through the homework. Longer than it should have. And, I will be honest, I didn't finished ALL of it (like setting 90 day goals), but, I did enough to learn quite a bit about myself.....and to get started using the Daily Planner.
I like a lot of things about the Daily Planner. I like that it has everything about your life all on one page. Look again.....
See? It has 5 before 11:00, Unfinished Tasks, What I Spent....and even the bottom section that shows how much water I drank, whether I slept enough, exercised, had reflection/devotion time, or even read. And ends with a simple, but profound question that sometimes depressed me when I had to say "no". The questions was: Did I do what I said I would do today?
I did have to answer "No" quite a bit. But instead of letting myself sink into the depths of despair that I am a total loser that can't get anything done, I just gave myself permission to set smaller goals for myself. Okay, sometimes, I did let myself sink into the "total loser" category....but I didn't stay there long.
There are sections that didn't necessarily apply to where I am in life right now. I do work from home, and I do want to grow my business...some... eventually.....but, I don't necessarily need to have contacts or connections or do networking....everyday. You know? Yes, I need to make dentist and doctor appointments and even an occasional contact with someone I am doing work for, but until I am at the point where I am going to expand my business, those sections didn't need to be quite so large....or even there.
There is section on the next page that is for your actual appointments and voice mails. Right now, the appointments section was too small for me.....because we have a family calendar that we use for all 8 of us. But, I love the idea of "my" stuff being in one place...so I will be tweaking this. The voice mail piece I love, because usually, I am scrambling for a piece of paper and pencil wherever I happen to be when I listen to the message. Again, it keeps things simple.....all in one place....all in one book.
The look of the Daily Planner is awesome. I love the green, however, now that I am in my mid-40's, my eyes don't work as well as they used to....so, in the places when the printing is in the lime green.....I had a hard time reading it and usually had to do the dance in front of my face where I moved in closer, tilted it so the light hit it better and figured out what it said. !!!!
I like that you can start the Daily Planner whenever you want.....you aren't tied into a specific date, month, or year. You just write the date on top and start.
Here is a way to close up some of those "open loops"!
There is a lot of support behind The 7 Minute Daily Planner, like access to free time management strategy tools.
You can get your life under control, with less chaos, or even just do your own homework to find out your purpose in life, by getting your own 7 Minute Daily Planner for $24.95.
See what other TOS moms thought of the 7 Minute Daily Planner.