HOW TO USE A PLANNER TO HELP YOU BE MORE PRODUCTIVE
In this article I share some tips on how to use a planner to help you be more productive. I’ll explain my own strategy for organising and managing my time using a simple productivity planner too!
USING A PRODUCTIVITY PLANNER
I used to rely on my brain to tell me what I need to do or remember, or where I needed to be, or what I needed to buy for dinner that night.
The problem was that relying on my brain for all this information wasn’t very efficient. I’d often remember them too late or forget about them completely.
The end result was that I wasted time, gave myself more things to do, lost track of time, forgot about my to-do list or the goals I set. Any good habits I tried to put in place, well… they never happened either.
To turn this around I decided to try to use a planner.
I thought a visual and written record to help me manage, plan and organise my life on a daily, weekly and monthly basis would be the solution.
- No more relying on my muddled brain, filled with the minute details of daily life.
- No more forgetting things and no more losing focus, motivation and direction.
FINDING A PLANNER THAT WORKS FOR YOU
All that sounded great, but finding a planner that suited me wasn’t actually that easy.
They often came with too many pages, or too little.
They were too complicated, or not detailed enough, and often, more about the design than the functionality.
Filling those planners in seemed like a hard task in itself, perhaps even more of an effort than carrying out the tasks and activities I was using the planner to plan!
I bought lots of different planners whilst I tried to find the perfect planner but I just ended up with a pile of planner clutter. I felt a bit of a failure that I couldn’t keep up and stick to planning my life in any way.
It turned out that knowing how to use a planner to help you be more productive wasn’t easy!
THE SIMPLE PRODUCTIVITY PLANNER
So, I decided to create my own Simple Productivity Planner.
It’s nothing fancy and won’t win any design awards but it does answer the question of how to use a planner to help you be more productive. It helps me be productive, the simple and strategic way.
I’ve included the different elements of my life that I like to plan and map out and I’ve put it all together as a Planner that you might like too.
SIMPLIFYING LIFE AND BEING PRODUCTIVE
Simplifying your life comes down to 3 key components:
- Clear your clutter (in all its shapes and forms) so you have less stuff in your home, schedule, heart and mind.
- Get clear on your priorities and what’s most important to you. Keep these in mind every day as you decide what you let into your life and where to invest your time and energy.
- Get organised and find ways to be more effective and efficient so you’re working smarter, not harder. Create more time for what matters.
If you’re looking to simplify your schedule, get organised and keep on top of how and where you spend your time, then the Simple Productivity Planner could be just what you need.
“The more time you spend contemplating what you should have done… you lose valuable time planning what you can and will do.”Lil Wayne
If you’ve ever wondered why you write a To Do list but never follow it, run out of time each day, forget things or lose track of time, maybe you need to get planning!
HOW CAN THE SIMPLE PRODUCTIVITY PLANNER HELP YOU?
Busy life pushes and pulls us in all directions. We have errands to do, people to see, places to go and an endless list of things to remember. No wonder our brains feel overstretched and our bodies have difficulty keeping up.
The result of this busyness is that we often have so little time for things we want to do because we’re too busy trying to do ‘all the things’.
If so, then there are some benefits of using a planner to boost your productivity and time management.
My Simple Productivity Planner can help you…
- Get everything out of your mind: Use the planner instead of your brain so you can see what you have to do and when you have to do it by, in an organised and structured way. We’re often more productive when we have a clear, visual list.
- Identify what you need to do and when: What’s important, your priorities, tasks that are most urgent, set meaningful goals, track your habits, time-block your day and keep on top of daily tasks such as meal-planning, celebrations, shopping and chores.
- Stay motivated: Stop putting things off, come up with an action plan instead of procrastinating and use the planner to keep you on track and focused.
This planner will help you get more of the right things done, the smart and simple way.
And, importantly, stop you wasting time on things that aren’t important and just clutter your brain, To Do list and schedule. You’ll also be able to reflect on your progress and avoid the distractions of busy, everyday life.
Use the Simple Productivity Planner to clear your head and get everything down on paper for you to see exactly WHAT you need to do and WHEN… and break it down into manageable steps.
WHAT IS THE SIMPLE PRODUCTIVITY PLANNER?
Here are some key features of my Simple Productivity Planner which I hope could be helpful to you:
- 60+ page printable workbook and planner
- Available in A4 or US Letter Size
- Undated so you can use the planner year after year
- Designed to use minimal ink when printing
- You can laminate the pages and use a dry wipe marker to write on them
- Frame the pages and keep them displayed in your home command centre or kitchen where you can view and keep them updated
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE SIMPLE PRODUCTIVITY PLANNER?
Inside you’ll find printable templates to help you plan, schedule and organise different areas of your life.
This is what the planner includes:
1. Frame your day
- Morning routine planner – Your mornings set the tone for the rest of the day. Plan and prepare your body and mind so you’re ready for your day.
- Evening routine planner – Plan your evenings so can prepare for tomorrow and find time to calm and wind down for a good night’s sleep.
2. Plan your time
- Day planner
- Week planner
- Month planner
- Year planner
Use these planners to map out what you need to do, what you’d like to do and so you have a visual reminder of what you need to achieve and can monitor your progress as you go.
3. Identify your To Dos
- To Do list template
- Daily schedule
Stop using your brain as a mental To Do list. Get clear on your priorities, your most important tasks and plan how you’ll fit them into your day.
4. Structure your time
- Time-blocking template
- Weekend planner
Time flows away like water. Create a framework for your busy days and how to make the most of your weekends.
5. Set goals and stay accountable
- Goal planner
- Daily goal planner
- Weekly goal planner
- Monthly goal planner
- Quarterly goal planner
- Yearly goal planner
Goals help us achieve things in life but they work best when they’re meaningful and relevant. Use these goal planners to review and assess your goals regularly.
6. Organise your regular tasks
- Week meal planner
- Shopping list template
- Chore planner
- Weekly chore planner
- Monthly task list
These regular tasks used to drain my energy and stress me out until I found a way to get them running on auto-pilot. Use these template planners to make meals, grocery shopping and chores much more manageable!
7. Plan ahead
- January – December month-by-month planners
- Project planner – year in advance
- Individual project planner
Handy templates to help you plan out your time and special projects.
8. Remember key events and dates
- Celebration planner
- Important dates calendar
Avoid forgetting important dates and wasting time and money on finding last-minute gifts. Plan and prepare to save you time and effort.
9. Time for you
- Self-care week planner
- Self-care month planner
- Work-out week planner
- Work-out month planner
- Habit tracker
Looking after ourselves gets left at the bottom of the priority pile, squeezed out by everything else that feels more important or urgent. Find ways to make self-care a regular part of your routine with these handy self-care and habit trackers.
HOW TO USE THE SIMPLE PRODUCTIVITY PLANNER
If you’re ready to simplify your schedule, get organised and manage your time, the smart and strategic way, then I hope the Simple Productivity Planner can help you do all of that!
I think the key to using a planner to help you be more productive is to find time regularly to sit down and update the relevant pages so that it becomes a habit that you look forward to.
- I use Sundays to check my schedule and set goals for the week, plan my meals and write a grocery shopping list.
- I use the end of the month to set goals and plan for the coming month.
Make it fun, designate some peace and quiet time to really set your intentions for the day, week, month or year ahead.
Be intentional about how and where you spend your time, stay accountable and monitor your progress and productivity. Find out what works and what doesn’t, why and how to make changes that are right for you and your life.
DON’T MISS OUT!
I’m Antonia and on this blog I share practical inspiration to simplify your home, time and life. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest! You can also subscribe to Balance Through Simplicity and receive regular simplicity tips straight to your inbox for free. Make sure you never miss an article plus you’ll get a copy of my free Declutter Starter Kit as a welcome gift!