It’s August, and I don’t know about you, but I feel like Fall is officially the start of the busy season. While we get lots of opportunities to slow down this time of year and spend time with family, we kind of compensate for that the rest of the time. With my kids back in school, sports and activities starting up, and preparing for my business busy season, managing my time is more important than ever. I love daily planners because they give you the opportunity to expand on what you want to accomplish, focus on your goals, and any plans or obligations you have. I find that a daily planner helps tremendously when it comes to sticking to my routines that I’m establishing or trying to maintain, and I can have one solid picture of my day and what I want to get done.
A daily planner is so helpful at managing your time and tasks wisely because you have the time breakdown and to-do lists, or in this case, must-do. I like to stick with 3-5 must-do tasks each day. I pick the most important things and plug them in there so that I know I’m getting my top things done. Improving your productivity this way can even lead to less stress for you. One of my biggest productivity killers is simply not knowing what I want to accomplish for the day. This way, you can plan ahead and know exactly what needs to be done so that you can get started. I like to take 10 minutes the night before, and fill out my plan for the next day. I find that planning too far in advance on a daily level can be difficult, just because things change so much, and I often have tasks from the previous day that weren’t done, that I want to add to my new list.
Here are a few ways to incorporate a daily planner and have it be successful-
Use one planner
I know this is the opposite of what I’m always talking about. I do use multiple planners for a few reasons, but if you are really focusing on your productivity and getting things done, it can be helpful to have everything in one place. I recommend having a monthly, weekly, and daily section, with some notes pages included, as well. I am also a big fan of having a section full of notes pages just for my goals. I take so many notes when I’m working and I don’t want to misplace my notes and forget what I was thinking or planning. Your monthly section will give you a great overview of the month and any important dates. Your weekly view is going to give you the week at a glance so you can see any appointments, important events, etc… in your work life and personal life, and you can keep up with important routines you are working on and what you are doing that week to reach your goals. Then, use your daily planner so that you can make the most of every single day. When I don’t plan my days, it is too easy for a whole day to slip by without having accomplished much, and then that day turns into a couple of days, and then a week where I look back and think- what did I really get done?
Use it every day
Speaking of new habits and routines, get into the habit of using your planner every day. Like I mentioned I like to sit down the night before and take 10 minutes to plan out the next day. That way, instead of waking up, moseying around with my coffee, scratching my head, and trying to figure out what’s important for me to work on that day, I can jump right in and get started. I feel like the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies even when it comes to planning- because taking just a little time to plan ahead can save you so much time that you’d normally waste simply figuring out what to do. I know I can’t be the only person who gets decision paralysis in that situation.
Save yourself time spent tracking down all of the random notes you’ve jotted down by including them in your planner. When you really start to feel bogged down by information or idea overload, take out a piece of paper and do a brain dump. By writing down all of your thoughts, ideas, and plans, you free up mental energy for things like creativity and being present in your day. You’d be surprised how much mental baggage you are hanging onto. Get it out of your head and onto paper, then keep it in your planner so you don’t lose those thoughts! This is one reason why I just love the binder system of planning, you can add things, toss things out, move things around, etc… You can’t beat the flexibility.
If you are like me, ahem, busy, and feel like there is no way you can include your personal life and work or business life in the same planner, consider splitting them into different segments within your planner. Again, this goes back to that flexibility. I like to have one monthly view with everything included, but then break down my personal and work life into two different weekly planner sections. Then, they can come together again in my daily planner.
Fall can be such a busy time of year. Gone are the flexible and sometimes lazy days of Summer, school is in, and there are practices, school events, fundraisers, etc… not to mention what you have going on at work or in your business. Make sure you are getting everything done by using a daily planner.
You can get these daily planner inserts, along with monthly, weekly, household inserts, and more, over in my Etsy shop. If you want to learn more about setting up an A5 size binder, such as where to get supplies, and what you’ll need, check out this post here on how to set one up.
I hope you found these tips helpful, and if you have any nuggets of wisdom on making each day your most productive, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!