You may not think a Day Planner has much to do with Training Elephants, but…
You have to learn how to train elephants with kindness and understanding before you can use this Day Planner.
First of all, I have to give credit for this idea where it’s due. I first heard of this metaphor (you know how much I dig a good metaphor!) from April from Blacksburg Belle. I took a course from her and Mayi from the Life is Messy world and this metaphor popped up when we started talking about creating morning rituals to make our days work better.
It didn’t begin with April and Mayi though. This metaphor has been floating around the world of theoretical psychology for quite some time – and has been explored in great depth by people like Jonathan Haidt in books like The Happiness Hypothesis.
Cool..so what is it?
Right! Sorry. I got sidetracked. So the metaphor explains how our minds are divided into two driving forces: The Elephant and The Rider.
The Rider represents our conscious thoughts – our thought-out decisions.
The Rider is often called the Planner or the rational side of our mind. She makes the choices about direction, strategy and longterm plans.
She loves to make ToDo lists and plan out projects and goals. She dreams BIG and she knows what she needs to do to get there…but she can’t force the Elephant to do anything.
The Elephant is big and strong – and ultimately decides which direction the duo are going. The Rider’s job, then, is to make it verrrry clear and enticing for the Elephant to go in the direction needed.
The Elephant represents our automatic systems – our self-activating actions.
The Elephant is referred to as the Doer or the emotional side of our mind. She moves forward without planning the details out or worrying about the longterm.
She enjoys frolicking in the daisies and eating donuts…lots of donuts. She also likes watching Netflix all night long, even if she has to get up early in the morning – or reading every single thing she sees on Facebook instead of working on her latest project…
She’s that part of you.
Her creative, powerful nature is amazing, and when she is pointed in the right direction, she makes MOVES…but she gets distracted and loses track of focus because it’s not in her nature to work toward the longterm goals the Rider has decided to work toward.
Daisies and donuts are just more fun, so that is what she is drawn to.
So how do we get them to work together?
I’m so glad you asked!
That is what today’s printable is here to help you do. It is a part of the VIP Brand Plan Planner set you get with the Very Important Marketing Plan day with me, but I want you to be able to try it out today.
The key to getting your Rider and your Elephant to get where they need to be is to help the Rider to make all of her decisions clear and enticing to the Elephant – so that all that Rider has to do is point, and the Elephant will ride along toward the goal.
Another way to make this team work well together is to help your Rider to pick her battles. Create habits and routines for tasks that happen every day, and add new tasks to established habits as they come in, so that your Elephant gets less chances to stray.
SO if your Elephant automatically has a cup of coffee every morning, you can plan for her to grab her ToDo Planner at the same time and make a list for the day while she sips at her coffee. After a few weeks of this new routine, that ToDo list becomes just as automatic as the coffee, and the Rider has one less decision to fight for.
The two best ways to get your Rider and Elephant to happily work together are:
- While you are planning, make sure to drop donut crumbs and plant daisies along the way for your Elephant to make it feel good to continue along that road.
- Create routines and rituals around recurring tasks so that your Rider and Elephant don’t have to argue about every single thing – all day long.
I made my Day Planner with the idea of routines at the forefront of my mind – because it’s how I make sure that I get things done every day.
How do we use this fancy little diamond to make our dreams come true?
First, you have to download the printable Daily Routines Day Planner, and then I want you to start using it each day. This is the best way to get the most out of your Rider and your Elephant…and your fancy new Day Planner!
- Start with a focus for the day. Make sure that your Rider knows where she’s steering your Elephant. If she isn’t sure where she’s going, she won’t be able to entice that lovely Elephant along the road toward it.
- Try out a few different routines in the morning, after lunch and even in the evening. Once you find a comfortable and energizing routine, write down those routines on the left hand side of the Planner.
- Make space in those routines for some tasks. Attach them to something you enjoy (I like to make a fresh cup of coffee or a smoothie right before I sit down to the biggest task of my day).
- Each day, write your Focus at the top of the page, and list the key Tasks you need to tackle in the Tasks column along the right.
- When you get to a space in your day for Tasks, your Elephant can grab the first Task on the list and go for it.
- Congratulate yourself!! You guys are rocking your new teamwork. DONUTS FOR EVERYBODY!!!
Try it out this week!
But first, let me know in the comments what kinds of routines you have that help you get your work done. Conversely, what does your Elephant LOVE to be distracted by?
My Elephant gets distracted by visitors or messages coming into social media, so I have to hide it all while I’m working on tasks.
If you love the idea of planning for your projects, and you want to use cute planners like this one to make your year feel amazing, go check out my new one-on-one program!
I had an amazing time with one of my new VIP clients today, and we used ALL of the planners in the pack. FUN!
Thanks as always for reading! Come back again next week for more goodies and tips, or sign up for Tuesday Tips in your mailbox (that green box above my face in the sidebar) and never miss a freebie.