10 Tips for Using a Day Planner for Maximum Productivity

Maximize productivity with your day planner

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.

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Make sure to snag the free planner checklist from the box at the bottom of this post!

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.

Some paper options: EC Life Planner, the Productivity Planner, Happy Planner

Some electronic options: Cozi Family Planner, Trello, Evernote

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.

Related Post: The Best Planner Accessories for Every Planner Addict

Information Central

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.

Own It

Make this your daily mantra, “What gets scheduled gets done.”

Related Post: Set Goals for Happiness

The hourly layout for the Erin Condren Life Planner. Here's why I recommend it. Click throug to read more or pin now and read later.

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.

Task Master

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.

Big Picture

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!

Ten tips for using a day planner to maximize your productivity and control time management. If you are struggeling with getting stuff done, try some of these planner tips. Daily planner, life planner, the happy planner, a5 planner, bullet journal, planner addict

14 thoughts on “10 Tips for Using a Day Planner for Maximum Productivity

  1. These are such great tips. I honestly don’t know what I would do without my planner. It’s my life saver. Mommy brain has no been kind.

  2. I needed this post! I’ve been wanting to be more organized, but I’ve lost track because I hate my planner! Which planner do you recommend? I’ve been looking at the Day Planner (but they’re so expensive!)

    1. Hi Jasmine. My favorite planner is the Erin Condren Life Planner. I wrote a post about it.
      Target always has a pretty good selection of planners too. Maybe take a day to go there and really look through each style. The Happy Planner is also a good option. You can find it at Michael’s or on Amazon. Hope that helps!

  3. Great tips! I love the idea of a master planner, and one for each specialty. I tried out a large life planner this year, which I loved, but could not travel with it. I found myself using it less and less and going back to my phone more often when it wasn’t available. I will definitely be returning to a smaller version I can bring with me next year!

  4. such great ideas,I CANNOT use my phone, I need to write, see and feel it all. I love the stickers and colors. Have you tried many?

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