In a world full of technology and online advancements, I still use an old school planner. As a spatial (visual) and kinesthetic (physical) learner, I’ve always enjoyed seeing exactly what I need to do and how I can achieve it.
Utilizing a planner keeps me on my A-game and has transformed my level of productivity from moderate to full speed ahead.
Here’s how using a planner can help improve your life.
- I typically start by writing in what days I work and the hours of duration. Visualizing how much time you spend at work will show you when you actually have free time. Be honest with yourself. Include your driving to and from work to know exactly how much time you are investing. Where can you squeeze in breaks? Can you make calls on those breaks? Write it all down.
- Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to spend more of your free time, freely. When you’re able to visualize how much time you need to work , you can then block time for your chores and appointments. Once you see how everything flows, your free time won’t be filled with miscellaneous tasks.
- When you see that you have days with lighter work loads, you can plan your workouts accordingly. Physical health typically affects mental health. To make sure you are at your best, be prioritizing some sort of physical activity often. My personal rule is that working out rigorously should happen 3-4 times per week. On the days I don’t work out, I will walk or spend time outside moving around. When I stick with this , my body releases more endorphins which improves my mental state. Planning time for physical betterment will help the rest of your life flow.
- I try to coordinate meetings and appointments in a cohesive manner so I can remain punctual. This one is really important. Punctuality is important in the professional world. There aren’t many applaudable excuses to miss a meeting, or to be late. An excuse is still an excuse. If it takes you a certain amount of time to get ready and transport somewhere, include all of that in your planner. Schedule it out so you can arrive or engage in a timely manner. Allow yourself more time than you expect in case you go over the regular duration of your meetings so you aren’t scrambling to get somewhere after.
- Health related appointments will become a priority when you begin to use a planner. Scheduling doctors/dentist appointments in advance saves you the hassle of wondering when you even went to the doctors last. Schedule appointments a couple of months – even 6 months in advance – and write them in your planner immediately. That way when you look at your week ahead, there are no surprises. If you need to reschedule when the time comes, you can. But at least it will already be a priority in motion.
- Once you’ve begun to fill out your planner, you will find that you have more time than you think. Now you can ponder, where are you wasting your time? How often are you mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or Instagram?
To solve this problem, allow yourself a designated amount of time daily to utilize social media and stick to it. You don’t always have to pencil it in daily when you want to spend time on social media. However, if you are able to apply this rule, you will find that you often have an extra hour or two daily to utilize in other ways.
- You will be able to visualize goals and put them on a tangible timeline. I personally love to think about my goals for the week on Sundays or Mondays. Am I prioritizing something in my professional life? Or have I been working really hard, and need to prioritize my personal life? Is there a passion project I want to finish this week?
Maybe start with a simple goal like setting a regular bedtime for yourself or practicing a hobby 2 times that week. Write it down on two specific days or write down the time that you need to be done with everything daily so you can make it in bed by that designated time. Feel free to review your planner throughout your day as a reference point.
- You can schedule in your passion projects and up productivity. Hold yourself accountable. Accountability is the name of the game here.
If you write down that you will plan your project Monday evening, buy supplies Tuesday evening, work Wednesday-Friday evenings on the project and be finished by Saturday, then that sounds do-able. Schedule yourself a specific time limit to work on whatever “it” is daily. Be realistic and know that you can’t finish everything in a day. Patience and consistency are the keys.
- Utilizing a planner will present a clear vision of what needs to get done each day according to your values and positive habits.
Your values dictate your actions. Your actions become your habits.
So if you say you value health and wellness, but only cook yourself dinner once a week and never make it to the gym, you’re not really letting your habits reflect your values. If you need to change your actions, write down the ways you can do that. Then schedule them out in a realistic fashion. Once you have your actions dictated, follow through on them. Do this a few weeks, and those actions will become habits. Bam, your habits reflect your values!
- Lastly, your finances will become understood much more clearly. You’ll be able to pay your bills on time, thus also saving you money. This is the aspect that makes it all possible. Sure, it’s easy to say you’ll make time for that vacation or redo your bedroom at some point. But have you looked at the costs or the planning required? Schedule yourself time once a month to go over your budget and analyze how you can get to where you want to be in a financially responsible manner.
Will you have to work more? Will you need to save more? Incorporate these answers into your weekly goals and then pick the actions to make them possible. Write down bills ahead of time so you know what costs are coming and again, be honest with yourself.
I have found that my life came together quite well and is still only improving because of the organization that using a planner provides. Time management and consistency are the not so secret keys to success. Sit down once a week, preferably at the beginning, and schedule it all out. I wish you all the most success and good vibes! Thanks for reading. Much love.