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There’s an entire year ahead of you. What are your plans?

If you are at all like me, your head is constantly spinning with great ideas on how to build your business and resolutions that will improve your life. My brain is filled and my desk is overflowing with scraps of paper and crazy scribbles all over the place.  This is what my desk used to look like. 

As you can see, something had to give. 

I had so many great ideas, but no way to organize them. I was failing at my own advice to do the important rather than the urgent. I found myself constantly busy, yet not productive. Whenever I sat at my desk, it seemed like the best use of time to try to dig through the papers and the mess. By digging through and cleaning through the mess, I tricked myself into feeling productive. I looked at a cleaner desk at the end of the day and chalked it up to a success!  

But the mess would be back in a day or two, the papers and phone calls never stopped coming, and all of my great ideas kept getting pushed back to “another day”.

I had heard about bullet journaling before, but was too busy clearing papers to look into it.   With the new year approaching and resolutions abound, I decided to simply place my keyboard on top of the heap and start researching planners. I learned that bullet journaling begins with a blank notebook and requires lots of effort and artistic skills, or at least legible handwriting. Since I have neither, and also wanted a simpler solution, I opted for a planner.  

I spent quite a bit of time online and narrowed it down to the Panda planner and the POKETO Project planner. I ended up with the POKETO project planner, in part to its layout, and part to its larger size. I ordered it online in time for my winter vacation. However, it got lost in the mail and I had to call the company for support. They were really helpful and let me know where I could find it locally. I walked over to Totem Brand Women’s Store at  529 South Street. They had them in stock and I picked one up in clay, which is really pink. 

I also treated myself to a pack of colored felt tip pens so I could code different tasks and entries.  Then, I grabbed all my scraps of paper and scattered ideas, threw them in a bag and jumped on a plane to Mexico for my second annual solo get-the-Hell-out-of-Dodge,chill-out-and-get-my-shit-together-for-the-New-Year trip.

In addition to the me time, reading, swimming, and just vegging out on the beach, I was determined to transform all the disjointed scraps of paper into a cohesive, organized, powerhouse of a journal.  I sat on my balcony overlooking the pool and got to work propelling my business and life into 2019.  I modeled after bullet journaling, yet did not adhere to the format exactly. I kind of made my own customized way to peace and successes.

P.S. I was not paid or persuaded by affiliates or anything here.  That’s some next level bloggerness.  I just like this stuff, researched options for me, and thought my readers might benefit from the info.

It has only been 10 days into the journal and already I am noticing a change in my life.  For one, this is now what my desk looks like:

I admit that I still have to bring it back to this state at the end of each day, but it is so much easier and more manageable. When I arrive in the morning, it looks like a clean slate- full of possibilities. I open my planner and instantly see the important tasks for today and am able to jump right in to get them done.  The urgent BS paperwork and crazy maze of life don’t go away, but they stay out of sight so I am not distracted from my big ideas.

So here’s how I do it: 

My calendar

I carry my project planner with me often, but not all of the time; so I still use my phone calendar for my hour by hour appointments. I have been using an electronic calendar since I had a palm pilot back in the 90’s before I moved to my iphone in 2008. I love it because it is on my phone and it is always with me. I also have my calendar stored in the cloud so I can access it from any device where there is wifi. There is no way I am going back to paper for my schedule. I carry my phone with me everywhere I go which enables me to make appointments on the fly. 

Despite the benefits of an electronic calendar, seeing my life on paper is much more effective to help me reach my goals. The planner is for ideas, not for appointments. It is for dreams and goals and all the things that grow my business an me.  I simply schedule an important time on my phone calendar, and use my project planner as a guide for those times.  

My planner set up


There is a 2 page spread on planning my year. It has a small space for every single day. I plan to use these spaces for one daily goal so I can see at a glance what my year looks like.  I am using color coded pens for different categories.I also went through and marked off Holiday office closings for the year, as well as any special events or trips so I can see my year at a glance. I love having this on paper so I can open it up and see my year in total.  


Next up is a section of 2 page spreads per month. Why I love it: This view is for me to dig a little deeper and focus on one month at a time. The spaces are larger so I can add more than one goal or task for each day. I like the consistency of it.  For example, I see that each Thursday my blog post needs to be done in time to be posted on Monday.  I also add weekly repeating tasks here, as well as any special events, so I can get a clear picture of my month. I was able to plan out an entire year of recurring tasks, as well as leave room for new ones as they pop up.


Why I love it. The first section is the box for GOALS.  Writing my goals down is the first step toward achieving them. If I have a destination in mind, I am able to stay on the path toward my goal.

Project Plan 

Why I love it. The project plan page gives me space to dump the chaos of my brain onto an organized page.  Since my head and desk are usually crowded with ideas, it is so easy for me to waste hours shuffling through lists and scraps instead of actually working on my projects.  

I have a section for each plan and room for several tasks underneath each one. I also create a timeline to measure progress in a visual way that makes sense and keeps me organized. Once I timeline the project, I go back to my monthly calendar and add it to the target date so I can see my month at a glance. It is a way of corralling all the projects and tasks into one, easy to read place. 

Notes Section

In the back are a bunch of blank pages that you can use for whatever you want.  This is actually the most valuable section for me because I use this section for segments of my Sphere of Influence.  When I got my planner, I started writing down the names of all of the people in my sphere. I listed past clients, current agents and long lost friends.  Since a pillar of my business and a goal in my personal life is to deepen my connections with people, this list is a gold mine for me. At the end of each day, I simply go through this list and choose five people that I will contact the next day. This is not a replacement for a CRM, it is in addition to that. It organizes into action my desire to connect with people on a human level.

You can look at pretty visuals of all these awesome planning features here

Since I got my planner I have 

  1. Met three dear friends out for drinks who I haven’t seen in over a year. 
  2. Set up weekly coaching meetings with four of my agents (on Fridays so we can have wine:) 
  3. Made progress on our video training series.
  4. Started creating eBooks (you may see a little pop up window offer on this very page.  Feel free to download the book!)
  5. Gotten more consistent with our blog and created a subscription option.

Many years have gone by where my resolutions and goals didn’t make it past President’s day, but this year somehow feels different. The simple act of putting my ideas and goals to paper has already made an impact. 

I hope this post inspires you to explore how to plan your way to a successful 2019 AND I am giving away a POKETO project planner to one lucky reader!!  

All you have to do is subscribe to my blog and share this post on facebook or instagram to be eligible to win. Be sure to tag us at #plansettledownPHL We will announce the winner in January 28’s blog post!