As I posted recently, September is (for me) the ideal time of the year for planning and setting goals. It’s almost my defacto New Years. A perfect season in terms of making the adjustments I need in order to keep moving forward in areas I have heretofore ignored, grown stagnant, or even simply seen my forward progress slow down a little bit.
My number one way of keeping things on track is by using tracking tools. Some are old-fashioned and simplistic but helpful for daily use, others are apps which I have found amazingly useful, and some are just products and services which add value in ways that I appreciate. So here are some of my favorite tips, tools and trackers to help me get where it is I want to be as we move through this time of year.
- Goodreads: This is the best place to find reviews of books I may be interested in, and an excellent way to decide whether I think I want to follow up and read certain books. Goodreads member reviews are far and away better than Amazon book reviews because they’re written by book people, and most importantly, they are less likely to be reviews written by people who haven’t read the book or have some other agenda.
- Whiteboard for daily lists: I have to admit, that for a long time I felt kind of inept as a homemaker when it became increasingly clear to me that without a list of tasks I am far too easily distracted and flight to get stuff done. By list, I mean a big, red reminding me throughout the day, one that I can check off as things get done. It’s not that I won’t do anything without a list. It’s that I won’t finish as many things without a list. There is always something to be done, and it’s very easy for me, in the middle of one task, to get pulled away into beginning another. The ever present list and the innate satisfaction I get from seeing all those checked items, keeps me focused.
- Planner (paper kind): Despite the ease with which I can save appointments on my phone, and I often do it that way, there’s still something nice about whipping out an old-fashioned planner book. Judging by the numbers of shelves they occupy in Barnes and Noble as well as other book and office supply sections this time of year, I’m clearly not alone.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch: This is not only a fitness tracker (although that is my primary use for it).. It is helpful on less busy days to be able to see which hours of the day I can up my activity level if possible. I also like my smartwatch because it makes it easier for me to not have my phone on me as much. When you have a big family, and I realize how postmodern this sounds, not missing texts and calls can be important.
- Lose It food tracker: Love this as a way to keep track of my calories and nutritional macros. Having gone back and forth about this (as it’s another one of those areas where those of us of a certain age are supposed to just *get it*), I’ve come to the conclusion that whatever I need to do to get a thing done is what I need to do to get it done. And keeping a record of what I out in my mouth is useful to me. Is what it is.
- Large, insullated water bottle: Staying hydrated is supposedly one of the foundations of health, along with sleep, nutrition, and movement. So I fill my 40 ounce Camelbak up every morning with the earnest intention of depleting it, and then filling it and depleting it again. Most days, I only get one full bottle down, but between that, my morning decaf, and the glasses of iced green tea (sweetened with stevia), I am much more hydrated than I would be without it. And it’s in my favorite color:
I could go on but you get the point. If I’m going to make any kind of forward progress in my life in areas that matter (including several not outlined here), I need a map. Several it seems, for every goal I’m working towards.
What about you? Are you a naturally disciplined person who takes the bull by the horns and gets things done without training wheels? Or are you more like me, sadly lost and wandering without a handy guidebook to keep you focused?