The Polymath System
The Polymath system is something I created in college to ensure that I would be able to hit all my personal and professional goals, all while being satisfied and fulfilled. This system is intended to be used as a guide while using the Polymath Planner. If you have any questions, please reach out to me directly!
The monthly goals section gives you the space to clearly define what you would like to pursue personally and professionally. Ideally the goals you pick are things that you can accomplish in 4 to 5 weeks. We want to make sure that these goals are well defined so we can break them down into weekly actionable items. Once the goals are defined, do not feel constricted if you get new information that then requires you to adjust your goals. These goals develop as you progress.
It is so important to ask the question: what do these goals actually do for me? In this section, we need to refine the purpose of our monthly goals. What we are going for is something like this:
This goal will help me get towards milestone A because it will get me in contact with person B giving me the flexibility to do C.
This section gives you the opportunity to address what could have gone better last month and what you would like to improve on. Please keep in mind that you want to address things that you are uncomfortable talking about. Be honest with yourself and refer to this section while scheduling your week and then again in the weekly reflection.
Each time period gives us the ability to learn and experience. If we neglect important occurrences and fail to learn from them we will repeat our mistakes. Take the time and space to dive into which challenges you faced and how you overcame them.
This section is arguably our favorite. This section takes the most skill, in order to set really good weekly goals, we need to learn how to break down our monthly goals into manageable chunks.
There are a few things to keep in mind if you don’t accomplish a weekly goal that just means we need to practice our goal setting and dial back. (That is okay, remember we still need to schedule time for yourself)
Each section has a purpose aspect to it because we want to make sure all of the effort we put into something is well deserved. We don’t want to spend energy on anything that doesn’t do anything for us because that is wasteful of our limited daily energy. In this section, ensure that these weekly goals actually work themselves into your monthly targets.
If you find that you are adding goals that have no correlation to your monthly targets, it might be a good sign you are either off course or in need of an adjustment to your monthly goals.
Habits to Build
Keep track of the habits you want to build into your life. This section helps you stay accountable to yourself and your weekly intention. These habits can be something as simple as reading a book or going for a walk after lunch.
As Polymaths, we are always trying to get better - the name of the game is self-improvement. There should always be time left to get better, that’s how we grow. Write a quick intention for the week in this space and the Polymath Planner will guide you to its fruition.
In the schedule section, there is space to write out the aspects of your week that are personal to you. This section is not intended for you to schedule in meetings with others, but as a personal mandate to yourself as to what you wish to accomplish each day. This serves as the first iteration of your daily goals which we will tackle in the next section.
The time log helps you quantify your day hour by hour. This section ensures that you have time for all the tasks you wish to do. There is limited time each day and a set number of productive hours that you can take advantage of - so take advantage of it.
Schedule out everything you have to do and when it has to happen. This gives context to the entire day, it gives perspective on what your personal capacity is per day. Once we understand this, it is as simple as optimizing your personal capacity.
Ensure you leave time to recharge it is imperative for efficiency the next day. Burnout is the enemy of a productive and fulfilling day.
The Daily Goals address the steps you need to take to complete your weekly goals. The best way to come up with Daily Goals is to ask yourself what do you need to do today, in order to get to where you want to be tomorrow. Based on this question, you can be allocated the top 3 most important things to keep the ball rolling.
The To Do section is simple, these items should appear somewhere in your Time Log to ensure that these items get done. Use this section to assign priority to your to-do list items to make sure to you are getting the most important time-sensitive tasks done first.
Write and think freely on the topic provided, and soon you may find that this turns into a stream of consciousness. Continue writing until everything you worry, ponder, or otherwise think about is on paper and not in your mind. If you need more space, flip to the blank dotted paper at the back of the planner.
Right before you go to sleep or right when you wake up, take some time to reflect on what you are grateful for - the small and less obvious the better. Showing appreciation gives us a sense of happiness for the process. There isn’t a destination, there is only a process in which we can find fulfillment and joy.