Being more productive is the key to finishing tasks, meeting your deadlines, and completing goals. Unfortunately, productivity is usually the first thing to go out the window when life gets crazy. If you want to learn How to be More Productive with Your Planner, then keep reading below!
Customize Your Planner with Printable Pages
Starting with a basic planner is great, but for maximum productivity, you need to personalize it a little bit. Make it a customized planner with printables that work exactly for what you need them for. (For more on WHY printable planners are a great idea, check out this post here.) This might mean vacation pages when planning for an upcoming trip, time management pages when working on a project, or just additional blank pages when you need to jot down notes or use it as a journal.
Take the Time to Set it Up Properly
You will hear a lot about how to set up your planner, and the reason is because this is an integral step to using it effectively. Take the time to see all the pages that are in your planner, write down birthdays, events, and appointments, and decide how you are going to use each of the pages it includes. Find other printable pages to add when needed, and keep adding to your planner when things in your life change. This is how you can make the most of it.
Use the Planner for Clear and Concise Goals
Instead of just writing a short list of goals, make them clear and concise. Be detailed and explain what each goal is, what is expected, and when you will complete the different tasks required. Use the S.M.A.R.T. method of setting goals, as this really encourages you to think about realistic, achievable goals that will allow you to keep moving forward in your personal and professional life.
Don’t Just Set it and Forget it
A big part of using a planner is using it! It is not meant to simply be a calendar that you write in once, then don’t check back in again. You should be using it on a daily basis, even if you are just double-checking the next appointment, or adding a few tasks to your to-do list. Take full advantage of the planner and all it can offer you. If it helps, get a smaller planner that fits in your purse or laptop case so that you can carry it with you.
Set and Stick to Your Goals with a Planner
Among the many different benefits of having and using a planner, consider using it for setting goals. You can have pages dedicated to listing all your short and long-term goals, tasks to complete those goals, and even a schedule of what to do when. Keep reading to learn how you can use your planner for this purpose.
Decide What Planner to Set Goals in
This is a big decision to make, and is often dictated by the types of goals you have. If you are keeping your goals fairly simple, they can definitely fit in your ordinary planner. However, some people like to be more complex and actually want a journal-style planner for setting and detailing their goals and the tasks involved.
Use the S.M.A.R.T. Goals Method
SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time specific. These goals are not just some big, elaborate dream, but something that is achievable. You want a goal to be realistic and something where you can measure the level of success. It is also good to set a time for completing the goal, which encourages you to keep up with the tasks and have a clear set path.
Be Specific with Tasks and Deadlines
Here is where people often go wrong- they set a goal, but it is open-ended, and doesn’t really include instructions on how to complete it. When you set a goal, you should also have a broad look at tasks required to complete that goal, then each of those tasks might have more details about how to complete them. You might want to start an online business, so tasks often include setting a budget, creating a website, and stocking inventory. For the website, there are even more tasks required, like choosing a domain name, hosting, and web design.
Schedule All Tasks
Another important part of setting goals in your planner is to schedule the tasks. This is one of the benefits of using your planner for your different goals. Each time you list a task to be completed for that goal or project, set a deadline. After the deadline is set, add it your calendar pages, including the monthly and weekly calendar areas.
This is going to keep you on track, reducing stress, and offering more organization and structure in your life. Each day when you check in with your planner, you know what is expected of you on that day.
Ideas for What to Track in the Planner
Want to start a planner, but still a little confused about what should be included? A good place to start is by looking at the typical things people like to track, then go from there. This list might give you some ideas.
Schedules and Appointments
The first thing to track is all important dates, but think about more than just birthdays and events. Try to think of your schedule on a weekly and monthly basis, and about all those things that tend to come up. Maybe you want to plan on spring cleaning in March, or you want to get a head start on a work project for the fall. Really take the time to go month by month, write down important dates, then backtrack and have more detailed to-do lists leading up to the event so you are always prepared.
Some things that might go in your calendar or schedule include:
Kids’ sports events
Vacation or days off
Doctor and dentist appointments
Goals and Tasks Lists
Another great thing to track in your planner is any goals you have. Choose both short-term and long-term goals related to work and your personal life. After you select the main goals, start fleshing them out to where you have tasks that need to be completed for those goals, then schedule in each of these tasks. This allows you to complete your goals by the deadline, and stay on track without becoming overwhelmed.
Daily Affirmations or Journal Entries
Many planners or planner pages also allow for writing down anything you want. This might be blank sections with enough room for a few sentences, or full blank pages. Take advantage of these for gratitude, journaling, and taking notes. Maybe you want to write down an affirmation every day to keep you in a positive mindset, or you have areas for daily or weekly journal entries.
Additional Page Ideas
There are so many different things you can track based on the type of planner you want to get, and what it is being used for. Home and family planners might have pages for your budget and savings or cleaning lists, while a daily life planner often includes work to-do lists, places you want to visit, or making plans with friends. Think outside the box and include pages to track anything and everything that often gets passed up.
Using a Planner in Your Bullet Journal
When you start a planner, you have a few options. You can purchase a store-bought planner where the pages are already in there, you can print out planner pages and put it together yourself in a binder, or you can use your bullet journal. Here are some things to consider when using a bullet journal.
Utilize the Monthly Calendar
The first part of a bullet journal that can also double as your planner is with the monthly calendar and list of events. As you know, this is a big part of a bullet journal. For each month, you create a new monthly calendar, where you write any important events or appointments for that month. You should also have room on that page or right next to it where you list the events and other things happening that month. This monthly calendar is then used to set up the weekly and daily schedules.
Add Details to Weekly and Daily Calendar Pages
Once you have filled out the monthly calendar, you can then move on to the weekly and daily calendar pages. Weekly calendars provide more space for writing, so that you can think of what is due by the end of the week, and spread it out between each day of the week. This allows you to get specific with tasks to be completed on certain days.
Some bullet journals also have more space for daily calendar pages, but these are usually only if you have a lot going on for a particular day. The monthly and weekly calendar pages are the most important.
Write Detailed To-Do and Task Lists
The bullet journal also provides more space for your task and to-do lists. Think about your goals and what tasks need to be done to complete those goals. You might have a short-term goal for the end of this month, then you have 5 or 6 tasks that need to be done by that date. Use your bullet journal to work out when you will complete these tasks. To-do lists are another amazing resource for staying more organized.
The advantage you get with a bullet journal as opposed to a regular planner is that every page is blank until you fill it up. So, you can have as many pages for these lists as you need, without worrying about running out of space.
Have Extra Tracking Pages
With all those extra pages, you can then track other things that are important to you. This might be keeping track of what to complete for your business, listing classes you need to take before getting your degree, or tracking things like your anxiety triggers or what you’re eating each day. There are so many different parts of your life you can keep track of by combining a bullet journal and planner.
How to Use a Planner for Projects
Daily planners are more than just your schedule of events, to-do lists, and goals to complete. You can also use it for work projects and other types of projects you want to complete. Here are some things to think about when using a planner for your project.
The first type of project you might use your planner for is a home or personal project. This can include anything from a home maintenance or repair to redecorating or rearranging furniture. Here are some different ideas:
Cleaning and organizing the garage.
Turning an empty room into an office or craft room.
Making a list of items to declutter from your home.
Having a to-do list for spring cleaning.
Making a schedule for what to buy for the nursery.
As you can see, there are many different home projects that a planner could be used for. These are also great when you are using a bullet journal as your planner, since there are even more opportunities for keeping it all organized.
You can also use the planner for various school projects, whether that is for your kids’ school, saving money for your kid who is going to college soon, or for your own college education. Maybe you want to work on a budget or savings account for school, or you have some big projects coming up in one of your classes, and need to schedule when to do each part of that assignment.
Remember that a planner can be whatever you want it to be, and you have full control over what you cover, what you list, and what you track. Think of it like a more organized journal.
Lastly, there might be work projects that the planner could be used for. Any type of job has projects that are more easily tracked or managed with a planner or journal. Here are some ideas:
Start writing down a list for your new business plan.
Make a to-do list for setting up an online store for your business.
Use the planner for project management you have at work.
Create pro’s and con’s lists when they apply.
Managing projects is about more than just the basic steps. You need to keep in mind the end goal, the tasks needed to get there, and create a schedule for getting those tasks done efficiently and on time.