How to Set Up Your Planner

How to Set Up Your Planner for Maximum Productivity

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“An Hour Of Planning Can Save You 10 Hours Of Doing”

-Dale Carnegie-

If you’re like me, your mind is almost always all over the place, running at ten miles per hour. Almost always faster than your mouth, your mind tends to forget something as soon as you’ve thought about it. It does not necessarily mean you’re forgetful, a million other things just came to mind, and somehow your brain decided to push it away as if it were irrelevant. 

NEWS FLASH BRAIN: IT’S REALLY NOT!!

This is where I introduce you to your new personal hero. Nothing big, nothing fancy. Just a simple planner.

A planner is a book, very similar to your calendar. It is more intricate, where information about all sorts of things you need to get done gets put down.

Before to get started, I have a few questions for you:

  1. Do you find yourself wondering what tasks you needed to get done and when they needed to get done by?
  2. Is it easy for you to get consumed by one specific task and find yourself neglecting other important things?
  3. Do you have lists littered around your space or even in your phone to remind you about your upcoming events?
  4. Do you find yourself with so much to do for the day, yet you feel like there is nothing really to do?
  5. Do you need a little motivation when it comes to handling your tasks/time?

If your answer was yes to any, if not all, of these, then you definitely need to get started on a planner. 

….”Okay, but how will a planner help?”…

  • Time management is key when it comes to maximizing productivity. The primary benefit of a planner is to help manage your time efficiently. Instead of taking 5 minutes to remember what you needed to do, you only need one to refer to your planner.
  • It creates a healthy balance between all aspects of your life. It is easy to get consumed by work and forget to eat. When done right, planners help you create space and time for your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
  • Organization!Organization! As the Chinese say it, the faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory. Writing things down cements it into your brain. As soon as it gets out of your head and onto an organized space, it becomes physical and keeps you and your space clutter-free.
  • When it is clearly written down when, where, what time, and how you need to get your work done for the day, your day feels purpose-filled.
  • Having saved the best for last, the satisfaction that comes with merely crossing off a completed task from a list is entirely unmatched. Just that simple act may increase your motivation to carry along with the day.

…”Okay, then how do I get started?”…

FIRST THINGS FIRST: CHOOSE A PLANNER

The first thing you have to do is choose the right planner for you. 

They come in all sorts of different shapes, sizes, and even formats, but for the first try, I would recommend one that is plain and simple, just till you get the hang of it.

GETTING STARTED: 

1. CREATE MONTHLY AND DAILY SPREADS

Section the first few pages of your planner by creating monthly and daily spreads. 

A monthly spread is where you draw, write out the months of the year and fill in the important things that go in each month.

They may include events, birthdays, and anniversaries etc. It creates a bird’s eyes view for you, making it easy to know at a glance what is coming up. Going a step further to connect your planner to your Google calendar may make it even easier.

The daily spread is vaster and more intricate. 

You may choose to divide it between basic daily tasks like cleaning the garage and your work tasks i.e., writing an important email. 

To make this more efficient, you should add the time when the task needs to get done and by when it should be concluded. This necessarily helps keep you accountable for your time.

2. ADD PROJECTS SPREAD

Here goes projects and plans that may be currently underway.

Documentation of the ongoing progress keeps you up to date with your work.

3. ADD ANY OTHER CATEGORIES

Feel free to add any other spreads; besides, the planner is meant for you. You may include your spending logs to keep track of your finances; you may include your daily/monthly goals to keep growing as a person. You may even include a brain dump spread; a space where all your thoughts and ideas can come down.

PRO TIPS: PLANNER TIPS AND TRICKS

  • As soon as you get a planner and get started with it, keep it somewhere visible where it is easy to reach and see. You can also get free printable planners.
  • Set a standard time for your planning; be it in the morning, night, or during the day.
  • As soon as you’re planning for the next day, review the previous day’s progress to know what needs to get re-done, what was not done, and what was successfully completed.
  • Check off completed tasks as you keep doing.
  • Keep your planner simple. Yes, you may be tempted to go all out with stickers and coloring, but simple is always better for the first try. 
  • As you’re planning for the day, prioritize your tasks. What you need to do first should come first in the task list.
  • Use one planner. Keeping several planners may cause you to neglect one in favor of another.

Do these steps over and over, creating new monthly spreads as needed.

USING A PLANNER TO STAY ORGANIZED

Finally, when you are done planning, review your tasks, take note of how clear your mind now is and get started on your new productive day!

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