Using a planner to organize your day is the key to success. You’d be amazed at how many extra hours are in the day if you make a plan and stick to it. I used to feel like there was never enough time to do what needed to be done during the day. I could never figure out how everyone else managed to do so much when I was struggling with basic day-to-day life things. Enter into my life:
Try as I might, setting reminders on my phone wasn’t working for me. I tried so many online ways to organize my time and none of them ever helped me get any further ahead. I really needed the whole package deal that comes with a physical planner. Opening it up, smelling fresh paper, writing on crisp pages with new pens…okay, okay. So I’m a bit of a nerd about this stuff.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t need a thousand planner stickers to make it creative and colourful. You just need a calendar, day planner and something to write with.
Choose your planner
Before all else, make sure you have a planner that you are actually going to use. There are different options. You can buy daily planners or weekly planners. There are vertical layouts and horizontal layouts. Choose what works for you. There is nothing that is going to become more un-used than a planner that doesn’t actually work for your life.
Do you want to schedule your day hour by hour? Go with a daily planner. More casual about your time? A weekly is probably for you.
Like breaking your days into chunks or categories? I would stick with a vertical planner. If you’re okay with writing a to-do list but are flexible with your time, I suggest a horizontal.
I have used weekly planners and they have helped me ease into being more productive. I started out with Me and My BIG Ideas Hello Life Planner.I loved this planner dearly and it was really what sold me on using a planner. It is so colourful and provides tons of space to plan every aspect of your day.
I’ve felt the need this year to move into a daily planner for ultimate control over my day. This year I’ve been using the Day Designer. I love this one because it really breaks down your whole day, including your goals, meals and your top tasks for the day. It also comes in gorgeous prints to fit your mood or vibe for the year. I have used several different planners over the past few years but I feel like I have settled here and will continue to use this planner next year as well.
Some people go all out with this. There is actually a planning “culture” as it turns out. One quick search on Youtube for “Plan with me” videos or a quick look up of #planning on Instagram will show you how in depth some of this is. While I love decorated planners, I find it best to just stick to a few different colour pens. I started decorating my planner and then I found that I spent more time trying to make it look nice than actually planning anything. This is totally up to you. Go wild! Just make sure you really get planning done.
Plan Your Life
The first thing I do when I sit down with my planner is have a glance at my monthly calendar. Any important appointments or events are then filled into my daily calendar.
Next, I write in things I consider to be non-negotiable. These are things that I have decided I need to do every day no matter what. For me this is make time for my blog, a power hour of cleaning, and exercise.
Prioritize your tasks for the day. Fit them in when you are most productive. If you function better in the morning, put more of your brain strain earlier in the day. If you’re a night owl, put your easier work in the morning as you sip your coffee.
I like to use different colours for different life categories in my planner. Pick colours you like and assign them for work, personal, family, friends, etc.
What To Include:
Include your morning routine, right from the moment you wake up. Even go so far as writing “wake up/breakfast/shower” in there. It’s easier to get through a list of things to do when you start off by one that you’ve already completed.
After this, fill in your most important things first and then work backwards to the least important things. If you have deadlines for projects, make sure you are including those. If you have a meeting, clearly that is going to be written in at the beginning.
Make sure you schedule self-care into your day. Most people find time to fit this in during the evening. Self care looks different for everyone. Maybe it’s an evening run, maybe it’s meditation or journaling, maybe it is binge watching Netflix for hours. It is totally unique to each individual.
Having a solid evening routine also needs to be planned. If not, it is easy for hours to slip away from you between work and bed time. Ensure that you are doing things to help you wind down.
Pick an early bed time and try to stick to it! It will help set you up for a wonderful, productive morning!
I’m interested – which planner do you use and how do you make it work for you?