Productivity Tools That Work: A different kind of “Panda”

When it comes to establishing a more disciplined, organized schedule there’s a host of tools that claim to be the end all be all in getting you to where you want to be. I haven’t tried them all but I have definitely tried quite a few. Every now and then I come across something that actually works for me. The Panda Planner is one of them. There are many ways to plan your time and tasks. There are computer based calendars, productivity apps, simple inexpensive planners, plain old notebooks and everything in between. At the start of the new year I was looking for something different something that could maybe show me something new as far as planners are concerned. When it came to the fundamentals of what I expected from a good planner the Panda Planner had everything I expected, but there were some crucial elements to this planner that set it apart from any of the other planners I had ever seen. This planner has surely helped me to get a lot more done and it has an excellent way of serving as both a tool for time and task management along with overall life management. The Panda Planner is broken down into 3 sections: Monthly, Weekly, and Daily.

Monthly

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The monthly calendar allows you to look at your monthly schedule at a glance.This section is about as close as the Panda Planner gets to being typical. At first glance it looks like the monthly calendar in any other planner, but upon a closer look you’ll see the small yet important parts that make this planner different. At the top of the page there’s space to list your primary focus for the month and habit you would like to develop (or break for that matter).Theres an area for both Planning and reviewing the current month. Under the plan subsection, You’re able to note your top 3 goals, the reasons why, and the top three distractions to avoid. In the area designated for review of the month there’s space to note: the top 3 wins, top 3 insights gained, and the top three ways you will improve in the month ahead. There’s also a column for notes that’s very useful in for this section. If, you’re not seeing anything of value yet, definitely read further because this is just the beginning of why this planner has become such an important tool in my day to day living.

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The “Weekly” section of the Panda Planner is what I have come to value most. The setup has a way of helping to keep you focused and productive by providing space for you to keep accomplishments and areas for improvement in constant sight. The weekly page begins with a review of the previous week. You start by noting your top 5 “Big Wins from the previous week, but you finish the section noting the top 3 ways you plan to improve. The remainder of the weekly section is all about the week ahead. Starting with a list of things I will do to make this week great. There’s a box for five separate focus areas: Personal, Work, Family/Friends, and Relationship. Next there’s a place to note the top 3 things you are looking forward to. Which is coupled with a space to note 3 habits you will focus on developing in the upcoming week. There is learn something new box that I really find cool as well. Although I am not always able to get this one accomplished, it has definitely helped me get much farther ahead with goals in this area than I was this time last year. There is just something about putting it on paper that makes a huge difference for me, when it comes to getting things done. The “Planning the Upcoming Week” section of the weekly page ends with a small section to note how you want to move forward with your “Passion Project”. For this one I picked what has been my wildest and most farfetched dream. I have started to work on this passion project on a daily basis and hope to accomplish a lot more before the year is out. I won’t go into the details just yet, but hopefully at some point in the near future we’ll be able to see and talk more about my Passion project and where it’s going. If you don’t have a passion project of your own, really consider getting one. Maybe it’s a hobby you love that always seems to get put on the backburner. Maybe it’s  a service you love to give and you just haven’t had the motivation to make it happen on a regular basis. Whatever it is, find a “Passion Project” I promise your life will be better for it. The bottom half of the weekly page has 4 project boxes to be filled in or out as you please with notes for what you have going on in the upcoming week. And last but not least, there’s space to note your top 5 goals for the week.

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The Final Section of the Panda Planner is dedicated to “Daily” plans. What drew me to the Panda Planner is the fact that it basically supercharged my daily planning routine by placing what I was using both a planner and a Journal to do and put it all in one place. While at the same time adding some elements of mindfulness that I wasn’t  using on a daily basis. The daily page begins with the morning review. Here, there’s space to note 3 things you’re grateful for, 3 things you’re excited about, and your focus for the day. There’s also a box to write your plans for exercise. My favorite is the space provided for daily affirmations. I like to load that box with as many affirmations as I can fit in it and around it every single day. I’ve gotten to the point where if I haven’t written and thought about my affirmations for the day things just don’t feel quite right. In the “Today’s Priorities” section on the left side of the page there’s 5 boxes with adequate space to write plans and notes for whatever your top priorities for that day may be. There’s a task section complete with checkboxes and on the right side of the page there’s a column to fill in your schedule by time. The daily page closes with the “End of the Day” Review, which has space to note your top 3 wins for the day along with the top 3 ways you will improve the day ahead. And for good measure, there’s a small box for notes.

All in all, the Panda Planner is a great tool. I have improved both my thinking and productivity while using this planner. As I’ve stated before there’s a lot of ways to plan but I just wanted to take the time to share one way that works for me. I have found that no matter how much I plan mentally, until it’s on paper no action really ever takes place. When trying to manage a job, family and life in general many things end up not going according to plan more often than not especially when it comes to time but I believe it’s always best to have a blueprint. So if you’ve been looking for a new planner or if you’re not currently using some type of planner this is one that I would definitely recommend. If you’ve made it this far, Thanks for checking out this post and feel free to follow. Til next time……. DaddyBe

 

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