Here are ten tips for using your day planner to maximize your productivity. By learning how to use your day planner correctly you can get a handle on time management and have less stress overall.
Make sure to snag the free planner checklist from the box at the bottom of this post!
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Everyone Needs a Day Planner
If you’re interested in staying organized and getting stuff done you’ve got to have a system for keeping track of tasks and appointments. Just get used to the idea that everyone needs to have, and know how to use, a planner. Some people prefer a paper planner while others prefer an electronic one. If your current planning system isn’t working, consider switching to a paper or electronic planner – whatever is opposite of what you’re currently using.
Love Your Planner
Buy and use a planner that you love! Size, shape, paper quality, color – these elements are all important. You want to have a planner that you take pleasure in using, so you know, you’ll actually use it! This is why some people love decorating their planners with planner stickers or using tons of cute planner accessorizes.
Whatever you do, make sure that you have a planner that you enjoy using.
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Put everything into your planner – names, dates, numbers, budgets, goals, appointments. This is your command center. Nothing should escape your planner.
Also make sure you have a good place to jot down notes and ideas. It will be easier to retrieve them if they are already in your planner instead of scattered around on loose post-it notes.
Take it “To-go”
Take your planner with you everywhere. You can get functional carrying cases for your planner or just make sure to carry a purse or backpack large enough to keep it with you. You want to make sure that your planner is always at your fingertips. This is why some people prefer using a digital planner.
One List to Rule Them All
Maintain one master planner. Sometimes it might be necessary to use two or three planners if you have a lot of projects going on. For instance, I use a teachers planner for our homeschool lessons, a horizontal planner for my blog planning, and a vertical planner for my master planner.
My master planner is my go-to guide for daily planning. Everything goes in this planner. The two other planners just hold details that pertain to those projects only.
Make this your daily mantra, “What gets scheduled gets done.”
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Make a Date with Yourself
Your planner has a list of all your appointments. Don’t forget to schedule in time with yourself!
If you don’t schedule time to actually get your work done, you’ll always be running behind. Make sure that each task or appointment has plenty of time to get accomplished. It’s better to schedule too much time than too little for each project.
Designate one area of your planner for your master task list, such as items that don’t have a specific due date, but that you don’t want to forget about.
These can be big projects or events that have a lot of moving pieces.
This should be a working list and be updated at least once a week.
Create a to-do or “task list” each day. This list needs to work around you other commitments and big projects.
Organize this list in order of importance. Try to do tasks that will better your life or your business before other work. This will leave you feeling more accomplished.
Even though our daily to-do list is very important, don’t forget about the bigger picture. Consider the month at-a-glace part of your planner to be the “storyboard” of your month. Make sure that this flows well. If you have a big project or commitment at the end of the month, try to keep your other tasks light during that time. Using the monthly view will give you the “big picture” and help you plan accordingly.
Don’t forget to snag the free day planner checklist below!
Free Planner Worksheet
Tired of leaving important things off your planner? Don't want to use white-out when you mess up? Use this free planner worksheet so that your planner can stay neat and pretty.