I recently had the opportunity to review The 7 Minute Life™ Daily Planner from The 7 Minute Life. I know I could definitely use a better organized life… so happy to be able to say I have had the chance to use this. Now I have had, and tried, many planners in my life, but there is something so different, truly transforming with The 7 Minute Life™ Daily Planner.
So what is The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner? Simply put it is a 7.3″ by 8.5″ physical spiral planner that allows you to set your priorities (and stick to them). It also helps you learn how to avoid those interruptions and distractions, how to master those unfinished tasks, and to declutter your life and your mind (both of mine have cobwebs I think!). Now as have said before, I have always known I am totally unorganized and I acknowledge my scatterbrainedness too. But I had no idea how much so until I received this daily planner! Much room for improvement indeed. This turned out to be more of an adventure than simply a way to organize my activities. I began by watching this 12 minute video which explained The 7 Minute Life and how it can really help you to manage your time more effectively: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k87NVdklKrI
I loved the colors; lime green! And I began to read and highlight and take notes from the preface on, as to what they might mean to for my life and my family and how these could be applied to my day to day activities. I quickly realized this was going to be more than organizing a to-do list. There were so many things I read that really hit home for me, like when Allyson Lewis said, “People who feel insanely busy are in that place because their life is crammed full of low priority tasks that don’t bring them great meaning and productivity.” I am learning to slow down but I do still tend to feel if I could just “get everything done” life would really be so much better. Of course we know that isn’t really true. There is always more to do right? So what it comes down to is that we must honestly look at our life, realizing what’s really important, and as that realization settles, we are then able to prioritize what to spend our time on. In turn, we organize our goals and complete tasks which are meaningful, fulfilling, thus simplifying your life and goals. After all, wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Right? She says with this planner you will be the architect and the contractor, building the best version of yourself. So it makes sense when, as you begin, there are questions to answer, deep thought provoking questions….you have to go deeper. Scratching the surface just will not do.
To begin with as with anything, you must do some foundational work, think priorities,setting goals, before you can really begin to fill in any of these daily planner pages. The first page is titled “Prioritize.” Here you find three columns of values and check off the ones that are of the most importance to you; rank them from 1-10 and jot them down. I really liked being able to name them, to identify those things that matter most, like faith, and family, home education, worship and service in my life. And my family’s life too. Saying them and writing them down, its like a more concrete thing, a greater commitment and determination is born.
After you complete this one, there are other exercises you must go through: your strengths, your work loves, and your high value activities. Once you’ve done this, you are ready to write out your life purpose and (take about thought provoking) how you know at the end of your life that you have fulfilled this purpose. Talk about heavy stuff! And I have to say this came at a perfect time in my life; when there is too much to do and not enough of me. When I am realizing how important it is to be flexible, to be cautious in my commitments and more determined in what I choose to do with my time. It took me so long to really write out a purpose statement and ultimately all I could say was that my family, they are my legacy. My purpose is to live and love and grow with them. Planting those seeds, a little here and a little there. Enjoying the roses we pass by. To be strong and sure in all that we do, with Jesus at the center of all that we do. Every moment of life, its precious. we are not promised tomorrow, we must embrace the day and the opportunities for learning and service and ministry wherever we are. I want most of all to know that my children are raised with a heart for the Lord, and for those that He loves. For love is the beginning of all things.
There are lots of other forms in this planner as well:
- Mental Clutter–its so true this really can drag you down. being aware is the first step, choose to overcome! (I have lots of this so this is wonderful; already feel a bit more weightless)
- 90 Day goals–there are several pages for this so that you can differentiate work, personal, financial and life goals. There’s also space underneath each goal for breaking it into smaller tasks of action in the direction of the goal
- Unfinished work/home tasks where you can put those “to-dos” so now they are on the list to be taken care of. I also used this one for “school” tasks we needed to get to; materials needing review, etc.
- Grocery List
- Connections (basically people you need to keep in touch with!)
- Annual Calendar at a glance
- Annual Projects and Tasks–Great place to list birthdays, anniversaries, etc
- 90-Day Calendar Worksheets
- Monthly Calendar at a Glance
The main part of this planner is the “Daily Progress Report.” One of the videos I watched from their website says, you can pretty much make this the only thing you put on your desk telling you what you need to do each day. The pages are very straightforward. The first page includes:
- Daily contacts–I do not have many that I need to be in contact with each day; this worked well for my prayer list and appointments we had when they came up.
- What I will do…5 Before 11 –The five most important goals for the day.
- “7 Minute Connections are those people we just need to keep in touch with; again mostly this was friends, a secret sister; my son’s penpals….prayer needs
- the “to-do” list you can add to as you go along.
- What I spent – a handy method for keeping track when we do spend money, keeping to the budget (my husbands favorite part)
At the bottom of the page there is a place for you to monitor your water intake, write down meals and snacks, log your sleep, exercise, reading time and reflection time. This is very handy for keeping track of all those not so little things that iK now I tend to lose track of many days.
At the bottom of the page there is one question: “Did I do what I said I would do today?” Basically, did you complete your five before 11?
Talk about accountability.
Its awesome that there are monthly progress reports you can use at the end of each month as a wrap-up. A way to evaluate where you are and make changes if need be, to set some goals, have those deadlines down and make a few tasks for action for every month.Its also handy for adjusting current goals and as for me, I need that reminder. It stunk in the beginning when I really was not successful at all; as I have used this though I have seen more and more progress in our home, and family too.
I really do love this planner, that there is a place to track water, diet, etc. with the to-do’s and even a place to keep me on track with our family’s budget too. Since I tend to be a bit forgetful (Many irons in this fire) its so handy to have “an assistant”. Time management, as they say, is a process of planning. We must step back and think about how to accomplish something; we need a roadmap. A game plan. This organizer is so very helpful in helping to clearly define those goals and creating the tasks and goals we need so we can successfully get there.