…“My schedule is so messy. I got a planner but still can’t figure out how to use it.”…
…”It honestly isn’t as hard as it looks to be.”…
…”Let me help you out.”…
That up, there is a conversation I had literally a few weeks ago. We throw around “just get a planner,” then we do, but then what? No one really is there to advise on how actually to use one. Well, here I am to save the day. Today, we dive into how to use the said planner.
All the do’s (there are literally no don’ts because remember, this is your planner), and all the little tips and tricks on keeping it going.
I’m so excited to get started, but first, let us do a small recap. What exactly is a planner? It’s just a book where you can put down all that goes through your head, important dates and appointments or even track how your life is going.
Planners are literal lifesavers. Why?
So, you have your new planner, and you’re trying to figure out what direction you want to go into: Here are a few examples of planners:
1. Daily Planners
These planners are more general. It means that absolutely anything goes in it.
Be it: planning for work, family, and even your personal time. It all goes in here.
For a more specific approach where you dive into planning a particular area of your life:
2. Family/Friends/Home Life Planners
This type of planning is more specific to those around you and how you manage your time with them. It may also include planning your living space. If you choose this type of planner, here goes appointment dates, anniversary dates, meal recipes, cleaning schedules, etc.
3. Finance Planning
It is almost always difficult to figure out where your money went by the end of the month. With financial planning, you can:
- Keep track and stay within your budget.
- Document your bill payments and when they are due.
- Log in how much you saved within the week/month.
- Document your cashflow.
All this keeps you 100% accountable to yourself when it comes to your money. At the end of the week or even month, you can see how much got in, how much went out, and eventually, how much stayed in.
4. Work Planning
Having a planner for work is essential. Many times, deadlines seem to pass us by. Having a planner helps us keep track of those important meetings, projects underway, and even gives us space to write those notes down.
5. Fitness & Health Planner
Ever feel like you are always “just about to begin keeping fit”? Well, me too. Either you lose motivation along the way, or you can’t keep track. A fitness and health planner may make it more fun of a journey. Space where you can highlight your diet plans, workout routines, and even track the small changes you feel in your body physically, mentally, and even emotionally.
This type of planner does not only restrict one to workouts. You may also use it to plan around the times when you meditate and pray, jotting down your key verses and even motivational quotes because hey! Mental health is key.
How to use a planner for maximum productivity
Having gone through that, I’m sure you have figured out your preferred planner type.
Now, let’s dive into what we came here for how to use it:
#1. Think ahead of time
First and foremost, when beginning a planner, think ahead and narrow it down till the present day.
Create those yearly, monthly, and daily spreads we talked about and begin i.e.
Your best friend’s birthday is definitely coming up within the year.
- Write it down on the yearly spread.
- It gives you all those dates at a glance. You don’t need to search for the date because it is right there aggressively. It also helps you easily carry the dates forward to the next year.
- Put it down on the monthly spread.
- Put it down on the weekly spread.
- Here, more detail comes in. The location and even the time of the party.
- Put it down on the daily spread.
- All the details about the party come in here. All the little tasks you need to do before and after come in here, from picking up the presents to wrap them up.
- Here is also where time blocking comes in.
#2 Use time blocking
You may be wondering what this is. It is a system where you have to divide your days into sections of time. Each section is set aside to complete one specific task and no other. If you time block for your friend’s party, you can’t work during that time block.
- This system essentially forces you to make official commitments you can’t back out of.
- It helps you with realistic planning, thus, avoiding burnouts.
- Strategizes your priorities.
#3 Cancel out successful tasks
As soon as you complete a task, cancel it out. If a task set out to be completed is not done, push it forward to the next day. It helps with accountability as it has to get done.
#4 Consistency! Consistency!
I cannot stress it enough. Consistency is key when it comes to forming a habit of planning. Choose how to use your planner daily.
I recommend using the 21/90 rule: It takes 21 full days to create a habit and 90 full days to create a lifestyle. Make planning your lifestyle.
#5 Save it
Do these over and over throughout the year. When the year is complete, and you head out to get a new planner, don’t throw the old one away. Keep it safe. The satisfaction of looking back at the progress you’ve been making is top tier.
- Remember to block out sacred time for you. It is easy to get immersed so much, so you forget yourself. Block out time just to breathe.
- Don’t be too harsh on yourself. If you don’t manage to complete a task, don’t beat yourself down about it.
- Most importantly, have fun with your planner. Don’t be afraid to get your planner messy. Include colors and even stickers. Just make it completely yours.
I can gladly say that my friend got the hang of it after this explanation. I hope you did too.