Friday, September 12, 2014

Schoolhouse Review: The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner

I think we are all familiar with daily planners but I bet you are wondering what 7 minutes has to do with it. Well, let me tell you about it. The 7 Minute Life is a time management and productivity company which offers tools to help moms organize their lives. They have a unique approach that I am sure many people will find helpful. One of the tools they offer to do this is The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner which I received for the purpose of my review.

The point of The 7 Minute Life time management system is to take at least 7 minutes to organize and plan your activities for the day. It sounds simple enough and yet so often we aren't willing or simply don't think about taking the time to do it. It is, however, a little more complex than that.

At the beginning of The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner is a very detailed guide about The 7 Minute Life time management system. It explains how it works, how to implement it, how to use the planner each day, and how it will benefit you. While the goal is to utilize your 7 minutes on a daily basis, the beginning takes a lot more time than that. Of course anything useful will take some time and study. While the information in the book was very thorough they also have some videos offered on their website that are extremely helpful as well. I really suggest utilizing all the tools before you begin.

After you read how to utilize the system you still have some prep work to do before you are ready to begin. This was my favorite part of the planner. There are several areas in the front of the book where you work on prioritizing your life and discovering what your purpose is. They define purpose as what you do for others and how you use your gifts and talents to change the world. Love then is the foundation of your purpose. Next you write down what you think your purpose in life is. I found that tough at first. I have never before sat down and thought about what my purpose was, other than to bring glory to God of course. But to expand on how I would do that was very challenging.

Once you have it written down you step back and look more closely at it focusing on words that stand out to you. These become your purpose words. Some of mine were "every day, honoring, service, compassion, and love." The things I loved were "God, family, church, the Bible, writing, teaching and learning." They also have a neat check list to help you learn what your priorities really are. These are not simply what you think they should be, but what truly is important to you. Where you focus your time and energy are good clues!

There are several more areas to explore before you begin such as Your Highest and Best which look at the best use of your time and your Mental Clutter. Then you work out some 90 day goals for your personal time, work, finances, and life. Beyond all that they have some other handy tools like a master grocery list, home repair contact list, a place to list all of your connections for home or work, annual projects tasks, and so much more.

While this is a daily planner there are also yearly, 90 day, and monthly calendars included. The daily section is divided into individual days with several areas of focus laid out for you. They call this your daily progress report and planning that out the day ahead is where your 7 minutes comes in. Of course that is an average of the time it will take to do that. Some days may take more, others less, but that is the idea. Here is what the first page of the daily section looks like.

The other page has a place for appointments, thank you notes, a place to jot down your voice mail and an open section for notes. My favorite part about the daily progress report was the place to keep up with my exercise, daily bible study (reflection), reading, and nutrition. These are tools I use to watch my health anyway, so having that there was great. The rest of it, well, I really had a hard time adapting to it as my life is not as busy and connected as a working mom, or even a mom who lives in a big city. Our rural life is kind of settled. Others might find it dull and boring, but I find it fulfilling although pretty routine oriented.

The 5 before 11 is a place to write down 5 things you want to get done before 11:00 a.m. As a homeschool mom, I pretty much do the same things every day before 11. Outside of school work all I had time for was my bible study and exercise which I generally do anyway.

The huge list of Daily Contacts was way too large for me, so I instead used it to list people I prayed for. I did try to utilize the 7 minute life contacts to remind me to take time for friends each day. I did things I always wanted to do but never seemed to get around to. I sent out a few cards, made a couple of phone calls just to say hi, and even made time to invite a friend out to dinner. That section really did make a difference for me.

The Unfinished Tasks and the check box at the bottom that read, "Did I do what I said I would do today?" were more discouraging to me than helpful. Maybe I didn't do what I said, but what I did do was important too. It all goes back to the priorities I guess, but in my case I was trying to utilize aspects on the page that didn't necessarily match my list, but felt was necessary simply because it was on the page.

I also had trouble focusing on the day to day. I am always thinking ahead and never really adjusted at only looking at what I do today. This day, and this day only. As I mentioned before, my days are already pretty much routine so besides reminding me of chores and regularly scheduled activities it sort of felt pointless. I also didn't use many of the other calendar sections because they were so small. They were too small to put everything on one page and the daily things were too large that it made it seem wasteful. I guess I need something more in between. I did at least learn a lot from the program itself, but the book just doesn't help me implement my personal goals. Of course working mom's, those who have a home business, or even homeschool mothers with more kids at home than I have might find this way more beneficial than I did.

The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner sells for $24.95. You can learn more about it and even watch some of their videos by visiting their website. You might also want to see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought it by clicking on the banner below.

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