Getting to Thinking and Doing… Quickly
Imagine waking up each morning and knowing that the small steps laid out in front of you led into a bigger plan that builds the type of meaningful life you want to live. All you have to do is show up, work your list, and follow the prompts.
That’s exactly what the Momentum Planners are designed to help you do. They’re designed to help you think and plan at the right perspective and level of detail.
If this is your first foray into the world of the Productive Flourishing planners, then I want to start by saying “Welcome!” and then let you know up front that you may be a bit disoriented at first. If planners are your thing, you’ve been using planners designed for people who work differently than you do, and I’ve designed these from the ground up based on the actual work habits of creative people.
That said, play with the ideas for a bit. Over the years, I’ve received a lot of great feedback saying that these planners have dramatically changed people’s work habits ‐‐ and for creative people, changing your work habits can quite literally change your life.
The Three (Free) Momentum Planners
The three Momentum Planners that are free to use are the Monthly Momentum Planner, the Weekly Momentum Planner, and the Daily Momentum Planner. We share the upcoming month’s (dated) versions near the end of every month on Free Planners and Productivity Worksheets.
Each of these planners have walk-throughs with videos available, too. Click the following links to get a mini-tutorial for each:
We recommend starting with the Monthly Momentum Planner since it gives the monthly view is just big enough to give your weeks and days coherence, but not so big that it’s in the fog of the future.
If you like the free Momentum Planners, you’ll love the (for-purchase) Momentum Planners Bundle. It includes the full year’s worth of Monthly, Weekly, and Daily Momentum Planners, as well as an Annual Momentum Planner and a Quarterly Momentum Planner. These latter two help you really get your momentum going and master momentum over quarters, which is where the real magic happens. Learn more about the Momentum Planners Bundle here.
Constraints: Maddening at First, Helpful Later
Many people get overwhelmed by the fact that they can have only five objectives or projects in the Momentum Planners. There’s no way they can get everything they need to get done with so few spots.
When’s the last time you accomplished more than five meaningful projects in one day? When’s the last time you accomplished more than five Big Goals in a month? (If you have, can I have some of whatever you’ve got?)
Effective people consistently manage to do between three and five meaningful projects or objectives at a time.
Let me flip this on you: imagine that you were able to accomplish three meaningful projects every weekday. (I’m giving you the weekend off ‐‐ aren’t I nice?) That’s 15 projects per week, or 60 projects per month.
Let’s contextualize this a bit. Imagine:
- Writing 15 really good posts or articles or marketing plans
- Coding 15 critical functions in your program
- Designing 15 websites, banners, or layouts
- Landing 15 clients
- Painting or drawing 15 pieces
- Completing 15 requests from clients
Now imagine that you were able to do this week in and week out, and that you were tying these accomplishments into a broader plan. That’s some serious momentum, no?
The constraints on these planners are just a reflection of reality. We are finite beings, bound in space and time. We’re both blessed and cursed that our ability to imagine possibilities is unlimited; we’re blessed because that’s what makes life so rich, but cursed because we all too often forget that our ability to act on all of our ideas doesn’t match our ability to generate them.
You can rebel against the world and its constraints, or you can do the best with what you’ve got. If these planners help you do the later, my work here is done.
Learning to Shift Perspectives: Go Up for Context, Down for Clarity
Most of our planning woes arise because we’re thinking at the wrong level of detail and perspective. Throughout the Momentum Planners, I’ve used a few key ideas to represent different levels of detail and perspective. Examples are helpful here, so let’s dive right in.
Objectives are high‐level goals or ideas; the Big Things you’re aiming to do this quarter or month.
Projects are middle‐level goals that include tasks necessary to complete them. (Keep in mind that you don’t have to know or list every single task ‐‐ in fact, the more capable and confident you are, the less you’ll need to think about each step.) Projects are best thought about at the weekly level of perspective and are more detailed than objectives..
Tasks are what actually require action; they’re the one‐action activities (i.e., calling a friend, sending a quick email). Tasks happen at discrete points in time throughout the day ‐‐ they’re what we tie together to complete projects.
What’s NOT important at the higher levels of planning is fleshing out objectives, projects, and tasks into further detail; honestly, very little is likely to be gained by doing so. Also, you aren’t required to call them the same thing I do.
What IS important is that we all intuitively understand the difference between the three levels of perspective and detail within objectives, projects, and tasks.
Here are the general ideas to keep in mind:
- When you’re thinking about how you want your year to look, it’s best to think about objectives. Try not to focus too much on the details of a project or a week.
- When you’re thinking about the quarter, you’re still thinking about those objectives, but you’re starting to bridge the gap between the goal and projects by including milestones (mini‐checkpoints you can use to gauge your progress). Quarterly milestones help you visualize what accomplishing those objectives will look like.
- When you’re thinking about the month, you’re trying to determine how you’re going to accomplish those milestones. You’re translating those milestones into projects.
- The weekly level is where you’re trying to figure out when you’re doing those projects and how you’re going to structure your days.
- The daily level of perspective is all about action with your tasks.