How can you increase your planner productivity? Being more productive is the key to finishing tasks, meeting your deadlines, and completing goals. Unfortunately, this can be exactly where people go wrong with all the various distractions that pop up in life.
If you want to use a planner to improve your productivity, keep reading to learn how this might be the best thing for you. You can increase your blogging productivity, your product creation productivity, and maybe even get those dishes done!
Do planners increase productivity?
According to Brian Tracy, “Every minute you spend planning saves 10 minutes in execution”. Let’s do some math, shall we?
If you take 5-10 minutes in the morning (or at night before you go to bed) and plan out your day and the tasks that absolutely need to be done, you will be saving anywhere from 50 to 100 minutes.
What could you get done with an extra hour a day? Or more. Planning has a domino effect. Not only are you becoming more productive, you are saving yourself time and wasted steps (or eliminating some busy work, time spend wondering what you should do, or forgetting what it was you had planned).
Those wasted minutes add up. With a little planning you can be more productive or you can stress less and have some time to relax.
You can be even more productive if you DIY your planner. Get what you want so you actually USE it.
Take the Time to Set it Up Properly
You will hear a lot about how to set up your planner, and the reason is that this is an integral step to using it effectively.
Take the time to see all the pages that are in your planner, write down important dates, events, and appointments, and then decide how you are going to use each of the pages it includes. Knowing that the main dates and events are already written in your planner will make your planner easier to use (and more efficient which makes you more productive).
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.
It also helps to think about where you want to be in 5 years. What steps do you need to accomplish to get there? Break those down into one-year goals. What will those goals look like so that you can accomplish your 5-year plan?
Then, break down your yearly goals into monthly plans for each year. After that, you will break it down into weekly goals for each month.
This way you can take little steps toward something that seems really big. Little bites. Baby steps. Whatever phrase helps you move in the right direction. It all helps with increasing your planner productivity.
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.
Now that you have it set up and know what you need to track in your planner, you need to make sure that using it becomes a part of your routine.
Busy Work is Killing Your Productivity
Filling in parts of your planner that are not actually pertinent to your life is not making you more productive.
A to-do list to make a to-do list is not productive.
Just because you are “busy” does not mean you are productive. The items on your list need to produce a result. They need to be necessary. Not just time fillers.
Don’t add something to your list just because there is a “time slot” for it. Make choices that move the needle or that are activities you really need to do.
How to Add Your Planner to Your Daily Routine
A daily routine is a great way to focus your mind on one thing, get more done, and set yourself up for a productive day. If you want to use a planner, you can add it to your morning routine, your bedtime routine or even something you check in with a few times each day.
Create a Regular Routine
Start by figuring out your daily routine and how to add using your planner to that routine.
Do you find that you sit at your kitchen table in the morning with a cup of coffee, and have a few minutes of quiet time? If so, this is a great time to start a daily routine where you write in the planner, and maybe your journal as well.
It’s possible that your day needs to be scheduled a little more. You may need to check your planner once in the morning and then use it during your lunch break at work, or maybe in the evening before bed to mentally prepare for the next day.
There are no rules here except consistency. Keep it in an area you know you will see and it and use it. Attach the habit to something else you use regularly. Maybe you check your calendar on your phone at certain times during the day. Use that same schedule to use your planner.
If you want to be successful with your planner productivity, you need to stay consistent. This is why creating a daily routine for using the planner is so vital.
It adds it to your schedule, it helps you know what to expect during your day, month, and year. It will help you so that you don’t keep putting things off for the “right time”.
Fit it Into Your Normal Lifestyle
Be realistic about using your planner daily. You might like the idea of a morning planner and journal session, but if you already struggle getting to work on time, this isn’t realistic.
Instead, think of a time during the day when you do have a spare minute, or where you can move things around in your current routine. You know your life best, so work with your current lifestyle and schedule.
This also goes for how cute, pretty, or creative you expect your planner to be. If it takes you 2 hours each day to color code your planner, that is not increasing your productivity and is not a realistic expectation for your planner.
Which leads me to my next point…
Keep it Simple
This probably won’t be the last time you hear this advice – keep it simple! If you are just starting your own planner and struggling to use it every day, don’t bother trying to turn it into an ordeal.
You don’t need a bullet journal or a planner with 500 pages just to be effective. Have 5-10 pages to start with, then when those pages fill up or you get new ideas, gradually add in more to your planner.
If you have time on a Saturday morning and coloring is one of your hobbies or fun activities then, by all means, be creative in your planner. Just know that you don’t need to add all of the doodles and fun things to make your planner effective. (or you could buy stickers and color it up with those!)
Use a Planner You Love: The Best Productivity Planners
Using a planner you absolutely love that works best for you will encourage you to use it. You will be excited about opening it up every day.
If you are one of those extra organized people and you are addicted to planners or you have been using them for more than a few years, there is nothing wrong with having more than one for different topics.
That’s entirely up to you.
(Check out this post for ways to decorate your planner and create bright and fun layouts.)
Planners for those who need a clear and actionable plan:
Each monthly spread contains an overview of the month and a notes section, remember upcoming plans at-large with the monthly view! Keep your special dates and dream vacations top of mind for your year.
Get Stuff Done
Want to advance your career, earn more money, improve your health? This guided journal helps you achieve your goals. That’s something to smile about.
You have your own way of doing things:
SELF Journal by BestSelf
13-week life planner featuring a daily progress tracker to help you outperform your goals, daily gratitude acknowledgment to encourage inner positivity, and a weekly habit tracker to keep the mindset of a champ without a relapse!
Independent, free-thinking, go with the flow:
The Freedom Journal is an accountability partner that won’t let you fail. John Lee Dumas has interviewed over 2000 successful Entrepreneurs and has created a unique step-by-step process that will guide you in SETTING and ACCOMPLISHING your #1 goal in 100 days.
For those of you who love personalization:
Russell + Hazel Bookcloth Mini 3 Ring Binder
Fashion meets function; as beautiful as it is practical, with gold toned hardware, a dry erase interior, a gold foil-stamped spine and a full wrap bookcloth cover.
If less is more:
Day-Timer Starter Set Organizer
A timeless classic. You can get refills for the month, address and phone directories, and lined note pads for keeping track of your to-do list or thoughts.
Day Timer Daily Planner Refills
Refill covers 12 months, January 2020-December 2020. Keep track of deadlines, special events and more with clear and simple organization.
For people who need visual stimulation:
Day Design Planner
Monthly calendar view per two-page spread offers previous and next month reference calendars for long-term planning, and a notes section for important projects; Major holidays listed
This planner will help you to figure out what you really want in life, create your personal vision, define and breakdown your short and long-term goals, and incorporate them into each area of your daily life.
If you believe in the law of attraction:
The Law of Attraction Life Planner
Helps you become much more productive by teaching you how to focus only on your top priorities and delegate the rest. So you can achieve more and create more free time, happiness for yourself. The perfect productivity and time management planner.
Needing a little discipline and guidance:
Power Place Lion Non-Dated Personal Daily Planner
Keep your priorities in clear view and achieve what matters every day with a day planner designed for high achievers seeking an intentional, fulfilling lifestyle.
Full Focus Planner
A 90-day planner you can plan your year and live out your goals each day like never before. Keep your priorities in clear view and achieve what matters every day with a planner designed for high achievers seeking an intentional, fulfilling lifestyle.
Franklin Covey Planners
Achieve what matters most with innovative, high quality planners and binders tailored to your personal style. Our paper planning system guides you to identify values, create successful habits, and track and achieve your goals
Passionate about all things planning:
This tool will help you define and breakdown your short and long-term goals and incorporate them into your daily life. Create the life you’ve always wanted! Start chasing your passions and achieving your dreams TODAY.
The productivity planner is set up in fives. The five most important tasks of the week, five secondary tasks, and five additional tasks. Then each day you set out your five tasks for that day and rank them by importance. At the end of the week you do a review of your accomplishments, what you have learned and what you need to work on.
To-Do List Lovers:
Clever Fox Planner Pro
This planner will help you create a vision for your life, define and breakdown your short and long-term goals in each area of your life, and incorporate these goals into your monthly, weekly, and daily agenda.
Panda Planner is scientifically designed to make you happier and more productive, based on leading research.
If you are starting out and still working on making this a routine then start with one planner until you are comfortable and are using it consistently to increase your planner productivity. Then add more!
Now That You Have a Planner: Integrate the Building Blocks of Productivity
Have you ever spent the day being “really busy” and then looked back and realized you didn’t accomplish any of your daily tasks? We are great at adding items to our to-do lists that make us feel busy.
They don’t actually make us feel desire though. We don’t have that burning urge in our soul to actually get that stuff done. When you can tap into the things that motivate you. That make your soul vibrate, then you will level up your productivity.
A planner is a distraction. It is also a way to keep track of those mundane “to-do” items. As well as the important tasks. Your productivity planner is a tool that helps you to meet your long-term goals. Not just your everyday plans.
Infuse a little desire into your plans and you will see in increase in your productivity.
Now that we are feeling out our passion and harnessing our desire, we need the organization to accomplish those things we want to do.
You need to look at the whole picture for this one. All the nitty gritty details come after we figure out what it is we are striving for.
Take some time to brain dump all of the the things you have in your head that relate to your goal. You have that burning desire. When you think about that “one thing” what comes up? Write it all out.
Now look for patterns, pick out the important tasks. How can you break those down into steps that you can work on daily? Which things are a priority and which things are just busywork? Take all these parts and pieces and put them back together in a way that fits your life and productivity.
What is that ONE THING that you can do right now (or in the next week) that will make everything else easier or not even necessary. Don’t clutter up your planner with busy, soul-crushing to-do’s.
This is your focus. This is where you choose a planner that works as a tool to help you stick to this focus.
A planner is your roadmap to productivity. New ideas will pop up (we all have that happen…thus the phrase “squirrel brain”). Find a space in your planner to jot them down.
If they fit your big picture plan, then you can find a way to integrate them into your planner. Those ideas that don’t fit, but you want to save for later, they can stay somewhere in the back of your planner.
This is the ebb and flow of your life and routine. When you finally find this rhythm, things will feel like they have clicked.
You will be riding that wave of productivity and it will feel effortless. This awareness comes from finding your ideal patterns and using that in your plans to create a foundation for your productivity.
Finding your rhythm may take time. You will have to experiment with a few planners first, the best way to find your planner productivity, and the patterns that work best for you and your lifestyle.
Customize Your Planner with Printable Pages
Starting with a basic planner is great, but for maximum planner productivity, you may need to personalize it a little bit. You can make it a customized planner with printables that work exactly for what you need.
This might mean adding pages to track your social media posts, time management pages when you are working on a product, or just additional blank pages when you need to jot down notes or use it as a journal. (this is how I do all of this with my Happy Planner.)
How Can I Make My Planner More Productive?
The first thing you need to do is find a planner that works best for you. You cannot find a planner to increase your productivity if you never use it.
If you skipped to the end, here are some guidelines to help you increase productivity with a planner:
- write everything down…don’t trust that you will remember it later
- pick a planner that has room for your schedule and general to-do list
- use your planner to create monthly and weekly goals
- make your planner a place for joy and inspiration, not just mundane tasks
- keep track of your finances, this will help you stress less
- schedule time to focus on things without distractions (and don’t just make a list to “look” busy).
- make time for self-care, family and friends
Finding the right balance is one of the ways you can use your planner to help with productivity. It is a tool. Not the magic answer to your motivation.
There isn’t a planner that fits your style and routine 100%. But you can customize a planner to fit your needs as close as possible.