Maybe you think I’ve lost my mind by even thinking about replacing a planner with (only!) a habit tracker.
I get it, we all love planners.
And it’s no wonder – there are so many things to love about them!
A planner can help you get organized, remember the key dates and tasks ahead, it can be some kind of a diary, you can decorate it to become a mini work of art…
Plus, they come in so many different sizes, layouts, and options, or you can have one fully customized to your needs.
But finding and choosing the right planner (and getting used to its layout) could take a lot of your time, especially if you’re making a bullet journal by yourself.
(believe me, I know!)
So if you’re already too busy and always on the go, you probably don’t want to spend any more of your time on some additional tasks.
There’s also a possibility you’re not a planner person, or you might have a hard time developing or maintaining a schedule.
However, having some sort of organizing tool can really help you boost your productivity and use your days to their full.
So, what to do? Is there an alternative to using a planner?
I think there is, and here’s one!
Let’s face it.
You mostly repeat the same activities on a daily basis.
Yes, there are variations from time to time, but generally, you spend a good portion of your days on activities which you perform in an almost habitual manner.
Overall, quite often life looks something like this.
You wake up, do your morning routine, eat breakfast, then you do the work, before you know it it’s lunchtime, again some work followed by some free time, then it’s dinner time, an evening routine, and after it, you’re ready to go to bed.
(am I right, or am I right?) 😉
Is it really necessary to write down in your planner the same activities over and over again?
Why not try to use a habit tracker instead?
(believe me, there are some amazing benefits of using it!)
Here’s how you can make this work for you in 5 simple steps.
#1 – Determine your recurring tasks
Start by writing down your recurring tasks.
I’d focus on those which happen on a daily or weekly basis.
Oh, and a small side note.
Not every item has to be a task by itself.
If there’s anything you want to add to your life or make sure it doesn’t slip away, write it down as a “task”.
For example, I have a “hugs & kisses” category placed in my daily habit tracker.
This might sound silly to you, but as you know, life can easily get crowded with tasks and various errands.
My “hugs & kisses” category reminds me to slow down in each day and spend some quality time with my kids, which is maybe even more meaningful in life than accomplishing some other “grand work tasks” in a day.
This doesn’t have to take too much of my time. Sometimes it’s only 10 to 15 minutes, sometimes half an hour, or an hour and more.
But taking any time in a day to strengthen the bond with my kids is an activity well worth of its time and effort.
#2 – Decide what you want to track
There are so many things you can track in your habit tracker.
However, is there really a need to write down “get dressed” and track that activity each day?
I guess not. (unless you’re a toddler and you need to be reminded of it 😀 )
Therefore, there’s absolutely no need to write down every single little thing in your day in your habit tracker.
Ten daily and ten weekly tasks should be quite enough for this type of planning system.
Choose those tasks which are meaningful, impactful or those who tend to “slip away” from you, but which you’d like to complete and work on. (and also some new ones if you’re starting a new habit)
Here’s an example of how to state your habit the right way.
For instance, eating a meal is not an activity which by itself is something worth tracking on a daily basis.
I mean, we all have to eat, right? So when stated as such, it is pointless to track this activity.
However, if you want to focus on a certain type of diet (keto, vegetarian, raw-food… whatever), and you want to make sure you’re moving in the right direction (or staying on the right track), then stating it as “eat X type of meal” is a thing to place in this planning system.
#3 – Determine the frequency of your habit
This one’s simple.
You already know how often you perform (or should perform) a specific task.
Therefore, note it as a daily or weekly one, so you’ll know which type of habit tracker a certain activity will belong to.
And that’s all for this part.
#4 – Choose and create (or find) a format that works for you
Now it’s time to choose the right habit tracker format.
For daily tasks, a simple chart-style tracker is quite sufficient to do the work, while for weekly tasks I’d recommend using a calendar-style habit tracker (the one with one habit per month).
That way you get a clear overview of the tasks you should do (and which are already done) in a period of one month.
Next, you should create your own habit tracker which, of course, does take some of your time.
But even if you feel your days are already booked out or don’t consider yourself as an artistic type of person (or any other reason you might have which makes you uncomfortable or unwilling to create your habit trackers on a monthly basis), that doesn’t mean you should give up on this planning system just yet.
Alternatively, you can consider finding some printable files (bonus if they’re also editable) which you can easily use over and over again. You can find a lot of different habit trackers online which you can use instantly.
(for an example, I have a set of 4 bullet-journal-styled habit trackers you can use or get the inspiration from)
Once you set your tasks in place and save the file, you can easily print it off at a
(or first print it off and write down your tasks if the file’s not editable)
Overall, having a printable habit tracker at your hand makes this process faster and simpler.
#5 – Start tracking!
Well, what do you know, you’re done!
All you have to do now is to start tracking.
Of course, like any planning system, this one is no one-size-fits-all or an absolute winner.
However, (I’ll repeat it again), our lives mostly consist of repeating the same activities over and over.
Therefore, choosing, focusing, and accomplishing the right recurring tasks will surely make a positive impact on your life and increase its quality.
Why not use this benefit to your advantage?