It’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the tasks of everyday life, especially if you don’t have any easy way of organizing them. Aside from a frazzled mental state, that stack of notes by the phone or stuck to the fridge could be the reason you’re late or forgot that ingredient you absolutely needed to finish dinner.
By the way, your babysitter canceled.
You forgot you volunteered for the bake sale this weekend.
Also, you promised yourself that you were going to start working out today, but the house is a mess.
So… good luck with everything life just threw at you!
Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to organize all that mental clutter keeping you from living your best life: a daily planner.
How a Using Daily Planner Creates an Organized Life
When you think about a planner, you might be thinking of those things your teachers tried to make you use in grade school. And maybe it’s because they made us fill those out that planners have become so popular today.
Fortunately, planners have certainly evolved. Gone are the days of too-small spaces for your daily and weekly tasks, all in a boring little binder.
Say hello to fun prints, stickers, and to-do lists you’ll actually enjoy crossing off. You can easily customize your daily planner to keep track of whatever you want, so you can make sure you get done the things that are most important to you.
You can buy one that fits your goals, or you can find printable versions online. Some of them are even free!
When you regularly use a planner, you get to plan your months, weeks, and days in advance. There’s no wasting time trying to sort out what you should do next.
You can find that big, ugly task you’ve been avoiding and finish it first, allowing you to feel accomplished and ready to take on the rest of your day.
In the rest of this post, you’ll learn more about using a daily planner to organize your life and turn planning into a daily routine.
Why You Should Use Your Planner Everyday
Daily planners have become one of the best and most recommended ways to organize your life. There are so many benefits to using a planner every day, especially for your home and personal life.
Here are some of the top benefits of using a daily life planner:
Your life becomes more organized
While it’s not the only reason to use a daily planner, becoming more organized is definitely at the top of the list.
This is often what draws people to using a planner and what they gain the most from it. With a planner, you write just about everything down that’s happening in your life so you always know what you’re doing next and what you’ve done in the past.
In most planners, there are different calendar pages, including monthly, weekly, and daily layouts.
- The monthly calendars are good for looking at your appointments and events at a glance.
- Then there are the weekly calendar pages to flesh out your plans and schedule, and add tasks to be completed on certain days.
- The daily planner pages offer more space for things like to-do lists and short journal entries.
By using all of these, you become more organized by not only knowing what you need to do and when, but also always having everything you need right at your fingertips.
You can set realistic goals and actually achieve them
Many people think of goals as dreams—something that would be amazing, but is farfetched and possibly unattainable.
However, a goal is something that you can definitely achieve if you put in the work. You should think of it as something you will work toward. The best types of goals are measurable and realistic, something you can keep track of in your planner.
“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” — Japanese Proverb Do you set goals for yourself and your business? You probably find yourself struggling to stay on task, hopping from one thing to the next if you don’t. You also might feel like your progress has become stagnant. Maybe you’ve […]
Using daily, weekly, and monthly planners are amazing tools for setting your goals and actually reaching them. You can make lists of the goals you have, then for each one of these, make lists of what needs to be done. These are often known as task lists.
With everything right in your planner, you can check in daily, checking off any task that has been completed in order to achieve that goal. You can also easily make plans for what you want to achieve within a month and break those goals down into goals for each week with daily tasks.
You’ll see these lists whenever you are using your planner, so it further helps to motivate you. If you do your planning right, you won’t ever have to wonder about what you should be doing and when to work towards your goals.
Planners help you find clarity in your life
Are you trying to discover who you are, what motivates you, and what your biggest priorities are? Journaling is a great way to do that but you can also get these benefits from using a daily life planner.
As you start using your planner more often, you start discovering where your focus is. You might think you’re paying more attention to certain career goals, but instead, discover you have more of a passion for your creative endeavors based on your goals and aspirations.
This is a wonderful side effect of using a planner. You can gain more clarity about who you are and who you want to be.
Planners work great with daily journals
Speaking of journals, you can definitely combine them (bullet journaling is popular for having a journal and planner in one notebook) or use both as a part of your new daily routine.
Journaling—where you write down your memories, experiences, thoughts, and any ambitions you have—is also good to do every day. The planner is great for schedules and lists, while the journal can be for when you have more to say.
You’re able to improve your focus and productivity
Planners are often for personal and home life, but you can also use them for work and any area of your life where you need to be productive.
Perhaps you have a lot of stress in your life because your work has your stomach so tied in knots. You don’t have the time or energy to focus on family or your home upkeep.
This is where your planner comes in.
It not only helps you to manage your time better, but it will also help you to improve your focus and productivity, which in turn allows you to reduce some of that work stress. The benefits keep overflowing into other areas of your life as well.
Stress relief leads to a happier and more fulfilling life
Stress relief is a major health benefit of using a planner daily. Keeping your days organized leads to less stress because you’re no longer running around frantically because you forgot about a big project or that event you promised your friend you’d attend.
This can reduce triggers for anxiety and depression, help you relax more often, and is wonderful for self-care.
What to Track in Your Daily Planner
So what can you track in your planner? Pretty much anything. A simple online search can show you a treasure trove of all the pages you can add to your planner.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for in a daily, weekly, or monthly calendar template, find a blank template and customize it. A basic page set up can get you going if you’re not sure where to start.
Aside from daily tasks, you might want to track cleaning, shopping lists, to-do lists, vacation planning, child care, organizing, and exercise/health. Let’s go over how you can track a few of these.
Instead of looking at the clutter or dust in your home with dismay, schedule all the different things that need cleaning. You can pick a specific day to do it all, or pick one room or area that absolutely must get some TLC for each day of the week.
Your daily planner is also perfect for keeping track of more daunting tasks like spring cleaning or deep cleaning. Maybe one or two days a year can be dedicated specifically to donating the things you don’t use often.
Planners also don’t have to be all about what you still need to do. You can also make notes about some new cleaning methods or recipes you want to try.
For example, you could document how that window cleaner you’ve been using just isn’t working as well as it once did or that those homemade laundry detergent tablets made your sheets smell amazing.
If you dedicate one space to your shopping lists, ideally you won’t lose it or forget anything.
You can keep even more organized by separating your list by store or section of a store you plan to visit. That way you’ll remember to stop by the meat sale at the local grocery store, but head to the bigger store for canned goods.
You can make lists for
- Back to school shopping
- Movies you’re dying to see
- Books you want to preorder or check out of the library
- What summer clothes are going on sale soon
To-do lists are a staple of planners. There’s something calming about writing all your tasks down in one place. It’s like taking all the noise out of your head and placing it neatly down on the page.
Much like planning your day, planning your to-do list can help you sort your priorities and admit that some of those things weren’t as important as your brain insisted they were.
It’s extremely satisfying to be able to cross something off and watch your list shrink. Just be careful though—if you keep adding simple tasks just for the sake of crossing them off, you probably aren’t being your most productive.
This is one section where your imagination can run wild. You can start by making some lists of places you want to go and what you want to do. Add some pictures of beaches or museums you’re dying to visit.
Once you’ve settled on a goal, list some specifics:
- What travel companies could you use or would you rather plan your trip yourself?
- What are the things you absolutely must see or do and what would be a nice bonus?
- What airlines are you considering?
- Can you find any discounts?
- What’s a realistic budget and how will you stick to it?
Every time you flip through your planner, you’ll be reminded of that dream trip and be more inspired than ever to make it happen.
Raising children is hectic and your planner is the perfect place to organize all the things you need to do for them or get them to do. Keep up with appointments, plan chores for the kids, and keep up with due dates or field trips.
You can keep track of child care in your planner, such as for daycare, a nanny, or a babysitter.
If you drop your kids off every day, you can keep a list of important information like phone numbers, addresses, pick up times, snack regulations, or any other things you need to know.
If you have a rotating roster of babysitters, you can list their numbers and rates and keep a calendar tracking availability or when you’d like to plan a date night.
You can also use printable pages to write down important info to give to the babysitters. If you keep a base copy in your planner, you’ll never accidentally forget to mention something important.
I’m sure you realize planners are good for organizing, but the first thing that comes to mind is probably simply taking what’s going on in your life in terms of schedules and appointments. If there’s only one thing you get from this post, I hope it’s that your planner can organize much more than that.
Think about what being organized means to you. This could mean having a place for all the miscellaneous stuff that doesn’t quite fit anywhere or it could be a place for organizing your thoughts or aspirations.
Maybe you need somewhere to keep track of projects or draft workflows and systems for your business. The possibilities for using your planner are endless.
Try journaling, meditation, or some ideas about how you want to organize the various areas of your house or life. Add in some DIY projects you can’t wait to get to or list the things you want to change in various areas of your life.
A daily planner is perfect when you’re struggling to keep track of healthy habits. Set up a meal plan, complete with a grocery list, and set up an exercise schedule. Maybe you want to keep track of your sleep schedule or make sure you take your vitamins.
You also keep track of gym days and rest days. Even if you have a gym membership, there are so many free resources online to use in your planner to create at-home workouts.
Here are a few more ways you can use your planner for better health:
- How often you eat out
- Track fruits and vegetable servings
- Recipes you want to try
- Workout videos or classes that look like fun
You don’t have to be perfect at everything all at once. You could start with drinking more water and walking for thirty minutes a few times a week and then add on more habits as these become easier.
As you gradually build up your habits, your planner is physical evidence of how far you’ve come.
Want more ideas for what to track in your planner? Check out the free teaser module for my planning course.
Creating a Daily Planner Routine
Now that you understand a little more about why you should use a planner and what you can potentially include in it, let’s talk about having a daily planning routine.
Why a Daily Routine?
Building a routine will serve multiple purposes. The routine first motivates you to use your planner on a daily basis. It’s not uncommon to be excited about getting your planner set up, but then fall behind on it.
Your planner is most beneficial when you can use it on a regular basis, preferably every day.
This not only allows you to add more to your planner pages but to also check-in and look at the progress you have made so far. It really encourages you to stay productive and get more done, not to mention how much more organized your life will be.
Eventually, you won’t even have to remember to start practicing your routine. It’ll become something you instinctively perform.
Use Your Routine for Self-Care
Starting a daily routine with the planner can also become part of your self-care routine. Maybe you use the planner in the morning when having a cup of coffee or tea, or you meditate or do yoga before or after using your planner.
Through using your planner, you can create a daily routine that is better for your physical, mental, and emotional health.
Creating Your Daily Planner Routine
The first step to starting the daily routine is choosing what time of the day works best for you.
Ask yourself when you have a few spare minutes or when it would be most effective for you. If you’re writing to-do lists for each day of the week, then that’s naturally a good thing to get done first thing in the morning.
On the other hand, if you have more free time in the afternoon or in the evening, do what works for you.
Once you know when you want to do your planning, you can then decide if you’d like to include other activities in your planning routine. This might be writing in a journal, doing some creative activities, or maybe meditating and practicing mindfulness before you start your planner routine.
More tips to help you fit planning into your busy schedule and create a planning-friendly morning or evening routine can be found in my mini-course Creating a Planning Routine.
Tips for Setting Up Your First Daily Planner
If you’re working on your first planner, you might be a little intimidated and are not sure where to start. Luckily, planners are pretty easy to use and you’re free to use them however you like.
Once you have decided on the type of planner you want—whether it’s a store-bought planner or you’re using printable planner pages for a binder—you’re ready to start with the basics.
Fill Out the Calendar Pages
The first step to using any life planner is filling out the calendar pages. Start with the monthly calendar—input dates like birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. You can then follow that up with any appointments or events you know about right now.
The monthly calendar helps you fill in the weekly calendar pages. Those are good for adding tasks of what to do each day of the week or expanding on appointments or important dates coming up.
You can then fill out some of the other more specific pages, such as daily planner pages for organizing your home or planning parties.
Write Down Some Goals
This is also a good time to write down some of your goals. Keep them simple and realistic, with just a few goals to start with. Here are some examples of goals if you need some ideas.
After writing down each goal, come up with a broad list of tasks that needs to be done to achieve them. You can then narrow down these broader tasks to more specific ones and add them to different days and weeks of your planner.
Now you’re ready to get started with your planning routine! All that’s left to do is to use your planner daily.
Ready to start your first planner?
Even with all these suggestions, this is really just the beginning of all the things you could do with a daily planner. This is a truly customizable tool that you can use in any way that best suits your needs and lifestyle.
If you use a binder style planner, you have even more opportunity to customize to your needs. You can add or remove pages as your tastes change. Or maybe you want to try different page layouts until you find the ones that work best for you.
How you use your planner is up to you, but by tracking the different areas of your life, you can achieve a more organized and mentally calm state of daily living.
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