Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt guilty about blank pages in your planner.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Just like with goals and habits, it’s normal to fall behind on your planners from time to time. This can happen when life gets really busy and overwhelming--we feel like we don’t have enough time to manage our days. Or this can also be the case when life seems slow and quiet, and we don’t have many deadlines to prioritize.
Rather than feeling guilty about unused planner pages, you might want to give undated planners a try.
Undated planners have all the features and tools of a dated planner, but they offer you more flexibility and customization. This is good news for people with unconventional schedules or people who work on multiple projects.
You might want to opt for an undated planner if you belong to any of the below categories:
Students: You work on an academic schedule and need a planner to keep track of assignments, study sessions, exams, and for mapping out your academic goals.
Project Coordinators and Managers: You work on multiple projects that have their own timelines and tasks. You need a planner to help you gain coherence on all your different deadlines, responsibilities, and status updates.
Habit Trackers: You want to implement your new year’s resolutions or find a way to manage your positive/negative habits. You need a planner that can help you track your habits on a short term basis.
Benefits of an undated planner
Here are some of the benefits to using an undated planner:
Fans of undated planners love the ability to plan and organize their weeks and months, at their own pace.
While a dated planner is helpful in that it charts out the days and weeks of a calendar year, it’s not always practical if you have an unconventional schedule, like a freelancer or events planner or student. Sometimes we have hectic weeks and other times we have long stretches of time with nothing to do. An undated planner is great for people whose schedules aren’t the same, day to day. You can plan and organize your busy weeks, without feeling guilty that you’ll have empty planner pages during those quiet times.
Another reason to love undated planners: you can set new year’s goals...after January.
Not everyone is ready to set their goals and intentions when the clock strikes midnight on January 1st. Some people like to have more time to reflect on their goals and figure out their strategies for the upcoming year. If this is the case, having a dated planner that starts on January 1st isn’t conducive to goal setting.
That’s why undated planners are a great solution-- you gain all the productivity benefits of a dated planner, while still having the option to customize it according to your schedule.
Short term goals
Undated planners are also optimal for managing short term goals.
If you’ve been setting your goals on a year-long track, you might want to give short term goals a try.
With year-long goals, it’s easy to abandon them when we don’t see results right away. Plus, the length of one year can seem so abstract and far away. It’s easy to keep delaying your goal, telling yourself you’ll do it next week or next month, but then, before you know it, a whole year has passed.
That’s why short term goals are so effective. They sharpen your focus and help you keep your eye on the ball.
Plus, short term goals give us the motivation we need to see our goal through until the end. Once you start to see daily and weekly wins from your short term goals, your enthusiasm and energy will grow, which will give you the momentum to keep pursuing your goal.
Another advantage to having short term goals is that you’re in a better position to assess your goals and pivot if necessary. For instance, if you set a 3-month goal to write your novel everyday, but you still haven’t started after the first month, you can then reassess and form a new strategy.
So instead of waiting an entire year to see if a goal isn’t working or not , you can take active steps to adjust your process. To return to the novel example, maybe you can modify the goal so that it’s something you’re genuinely excited about. Would you rather be writing personal essays? Or short stories? Or do you want to try writing a different genre? Try experimenting for a month and see which process sticks.
That’s the great thing about a short term goal--you can experiment and adjust as necessary, while still moving forward.
Does your current planner feel overwhelmed with all the different work, personal, and creative projects?
If you’re having trouble keeping track of the different threads of your life, you might want to consider having a separate planner for your side projects.
As this writer attests, a separate planner gives you the space you need to focus on your project. This way, you’re not overwhelming your current planner and you can keep your professional and personal projects separate.
Side projects can include: launching a new business or starting a creative pursuit or taking classes or monitoring your fitness goals.
And with an undated planner, you can tailor the timeline to your project’s needs. Add dates that are important to you or customize a calendar according to your freelance deadlines.
You can also use washi tape or color coding to help you track your progress and give you a visual way to categorize your tasks.
How to use an undated planner
Here’s how you can use our Ink+Volt 3-month and 6-month planner to manage your goals and work.
You can use our 3-month planner to manage your specific projects or to use as a quarterly planning tool.
Important dates and events: We have a section where you can record your most important deadlines, work events, birthdays, anniversaries, and more.
Plan of Action: In this section, you map out your plan of action over the next 90 days. By charting out the specific steps you need to take, you’ll know exactly what you’ll need to do every month.
For example, let’s say your 3 month goal is to run five miles by the end of the quarter. Here’s a sample plan of action:
In the next 30 days:
I will run for ten minutes, three days a week
In the next 60 days:
I will run 3 miles, fives days a week
In the next 90 days:
I will run 5 miles by the end of the 90 days.
Our 6-month planner combines the effective planning systems of our Ink+Volt dated planner plus all the benefits of a notebook.
Here are the key layouts:
Monthly calendar: You have an overview of the month and a visual tool to track your progress.
Monthly goal page: Record your top goals and priorities for the month. By writing it down, you’ll hold yourself accountable and keep yourself focused on this month’s goal.
Weekly goal page: Break down your monthly goals and identity tasks to accomplish you each week. By breaking your goal down into small pieces, you’ll have an easier time achieving them.
Our 6-month undated planner also includes pages for note-taking, brainstorming, and journaling. You can take this with you or business meetings, travel, or keep by your side at your home office.