So you have your brand spanking new planner and you set it up just how you want but you don’t really know where to go from here. Or maybe you started using your planner but have since abandoned it not really finding it to aid in your productivity. Does this sound like you?
I was once in that boat. I am a planner and notebook addict and oftentimes found myself purchasing a planner that had a cute cover, but was not functional for me on the inside. And so I didn’t use it. Let’s make sure that isn’t you. The first step is making sure you have a planner that is right for you and that it’s a well-organized planner.
Choose a Planner
Seems simple enough right? Wrong do you know how many different types of planners are out there? It can be quite overwhelming. You can find a simple no frills planner at the Dollar Tree (which I don’t recommend unless it absolutely speaks to you) or you can spend up to and maybe even over $60. Price aside, planners come in many shapes, sizes and layouts. Choosing the right layout for you is key. Because if you don’t love it, you won’t use it. I always say choose a planner that fits your personality. And I am a lists kind of girl. I need to brain dump everything I want and need to do, then physically cross them off as they are completed. So a planner with a decent sized to-do list section is a must
Two planner options that I love:
- Erin Condren Life Planner – A weekly layout that offers three formats, hourly, horizontal and vertical.
- Day Designer – A daily layout that comes in two sizes and offers an hourly section, a to-do list, and other daily essentials to keep you on track.
How I Use My Planner to Increase Productivity
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OK, so now let’s talk about how I make my planner work for me and increase my weekly productivity.
No joke put everything you can think of. Every birthday, anniversary, holiday, family trip. You name it – get it down in that calendar. Trust me you will thank me later when you see your niece’s birthday is coming up. Hashtag you’re welcome!
I do this as soon as my planner arrives that way all the major milestones are covered and then my focus shifts to adding in appointments, goals, finances, family activities etc. as time goes on.
Set Aside Time To Plan Weekly
Each week, on Sunday evening, I set aside time to just plan. I put down everything going on for the week ensuring I do not miss a beat. I often review my week on Wednesday just to make sure I am still on track and to add anything new for the remainder of the week.
If you really want to set yourself up for success my post Sunday Activities for a Productive Week is packed with great tips.
Track To-Do Lists
Remember when I said I am a lists girl? I love to list all of my tasks. I always have a big three for the day, which are three tasks I must complete that day. Then I use the to-do list to break those three tasks into smaller tasks that make it easier to complete.
Look at the Big Picture
While I currently use a daily planner, the monthly view still gets a lot of love. Just like with my weeks, I record important dates. This way I can refer back to the monthly view and see everything going on that month. You don’t want to forget those birthdays!
Take it with you
I almost never leave my house without my planner. Seriously! And this fact played a factor in which planner I was to purchase. It had to be small enough that it could easily fit in a bag or be carried.
Always having your planner on hand allows you to refer back to it often. This way you are actually using it and staying on track. If I didn’t take my planner with me nothing would get done. Trust me I have experienced this first hand.
This is somewhat of a new concept for me. But I am finding that when I block out chunks of time to complete certain tasks, I am able to accomplish them faster and get less distracted in the process. The idea here is that instead of bouncing around tasks you are focused on one task at a time. When you focus on one thing at a time you are more likely to effectively complete that task. And as you continue to use this method you will learn when you best for continual tasks. For example, you may find answering emails work best for you from 7am-9am. For me, time blocking is great because I can plan around my kid’s day and I can mentally prepare for the next thing.
Ultimately you have to do what works best for you. Actually using your planner is your first step to increasing productivity. Then it is all about tweaking it to work for you. Hope this gave you tips and inspired you to start using that planner this year!
If you are interested in upping your productivity and time management game I highly encourage you to check out The Ultimate Productivity Bundle. When I started my blogging journey I took a course from Laura from I Heart Planners. She helped me lay a foundation for organizing my business while providing tips and tricks for increasing productivity in your business. Something I desperately needed.
Laura’s I Heart Productivity Pack is one of more than 45 resources in this year’s Ultimate Productivity Bundle.
The Ultimate Productivity Bundle has an incredible list of resources that help you stay on track and increase your productivity. And it’s only available until Monday, February 25th. So don’t wait, grab your Ultimate Productivity Bundle TODAY!
What are some of your tips and tricks for making your planner work for you and increasing your daily or weekly productivity? I would love to read yours in the comments!