Planning takes intention, patience, and practice. There’s always some place we need to be, things we have to accomplish, and endless tasks to tick off the list. Is it overwhelming? It absolutely can be from time to time, but when you’ve got big goals and desires, some organization is essential.
This doesn’t mean you have to become a planning wiz, but what you can do is make the most of the resources available to you, and what’s best, it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Using a daily planner is an excellent way to start you off on your journey to having an enjoyable life while getting things done.
How Having a Daily Planner Can Help You
Even if you dislike the idea of a routine, having it in some parts of your life is incredibly helpful. Your mental health will benefit from it because having your day planned out will help you feel less stressed and scattered.
You can use your daily planner as a to-do list, fitness and food diary, as well as a place to jot down important meetings and birthdays.
When you use a planner to sort out your obligations, you don’t have to go around obsessing about whether you forgot something or what’s the next thing you need to do. Write it all down, and whenever in doubt, refer back to the planner.
That way, you can fully focus on the task at hand, instead of thinking of what’s coming next. You’ll feel more centered and calm, and that gnawing feeling of rushing around, as if your productivity is chasing you, will melt away.
Tips for Using Your Daily Planner Effectively
The purpose of a planner is in its name, so how hard can it be to use it? While this is true, there are things you can do to optimize your planning process. Here are some tips on how to make your planning effective.
Plan Your Day in Advance
To start off your day right, you need a strong foundation. The best way to establish it is to organize your planner first thing in the morning. Make it a part of your morning rituals, along with drinking coffee and doing yoga.
Set aside 10–15 minutes to map out your day and do it all the time, without fail. Even if you don’t have a lot planned, still jot down a couple of things you want to do, be it for work or for fun.
Alternatively, you can do it the night before, as you’re winding down. The evening practice is a good fit for people who go into overdrive when they go to bed thinking about everything that needs to be done tomorrow.
Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
It might be hard to accept it, but sometimes, we just can’t do it all. There’s no shame in it! That’s why the best thing you can do when you’re planning your day is to prioritize. Decide on 2–3 tasks that absolutely need to be done, and focus on them first.
After that, set several smaller tasks that should be done, but if they’re not, the world won’t implode. Prioritizing what’s truly important to you is key to a fulfilled life, and you can accomplish it by planning out your days.
Think about Your Weekly Schedule
Before the alarms go off, we’re not talking about planning out every single day of the week in one go. Rather, think about tasks, meetings, and events that happen every week at the same time. If you’re using a weekly planner, this type of block scheduling can be very useful.
Once you get in all the weekly appointments, your plans will start to shape up around them, kind of like a connect-the-dots game. It will make things easier for the “future you” as well, because every morning you sit down to plan your day, you’ll already have a starting point.
Count on Delays
This can’t be overstated! Organizing your daily planner with back-to-back time slots can be nerve-wracking because you’re not leaving any leeway for delays.
Even if you were the most accomplished organizer on the planet, plans get postponed or prolonged, life gets in the way, and one small glitch can turn your beautifully crafted plan into a hot mess.
Not counting on delays means you’re setting yourself up for disaster. Make things easier and factor in 15-minute breaks, and allot every task slightly more time than you really need. That way, even if things turn south, your plans won’t.
Your Well-Being Always Comes First
We create plans to make our lives better, but very often, we forget to factor in ourselves, even though we’re the most important component.
It’s no secret that stress affects productivity, and every day is different, especially when it comes to our emotional and mental health.
Acknowledge this, make it a part of your daily planning, and allow yourself not to be 100% all the time. That’s natural, so have the same dedication to resting and recharging as you do to getting things done. You will be healthier and happier for it.
Having a daily planner is a beneficial practice, no matter your walk of life. Your time is valuable and you should use it in the best possible way, as long as you remember to enjoy it too, because, at the end of every day, that’s what it’s all about.