Using a Planner to Be More Organised

Planners are an effective way to organize your life and can positively improve your time management skills.

It seems to be a universal issue; occasionally, we all feel like we could use more hours in the day. Since we cannot alter our 24-hour days, the next best thing is to use our time wisely. How do you become more organised?

While plenty of products are on the market promising to organise your day and give you the extra time you need, not many of those deliver on the promises. There is a tried-and-true solution to staying organised and using time wisely in the planner.

Some people believe they could not survive a day without their planner. And just as many people scoff at the idea of a planner. However, a planner is a proven technique to help put priorities in order, plan your days, and generally keep you on top of things. So, before you dismiss planners as something not for you, learn some tips to help get the most out of your planner.

  • Choose the Best Planner for You

    There are dozens and dozens of planners available, but the planner you choose needs to feel right to you. Some people work best with tightly structured daily to-do lists, a journal of bullet points can be helpful, and others prefer a week at a glance. Whatever type of planner you choose, it needs to fit your life comfortably.

  • Choose a Planning System

    Just as having the correct type of planner is essential, knowing how you will go about planning matters. Bullet point journals, blocks of time for more extensive appointments, or a space to fit your goals for the week all are great starts. You might try one and discover another way that seems better. You may benefit from daily to-do lists that let you see your progress when you check things as complete. There is no single correct way to use a planner but staying consistent is vital. Once you know what system is best for you, stay with it.

  • Make Time to Plan

    Quite literally, set some time each day to look over your planner and make sure you are up to speed with your daily tasks. Many people do this right away, making it part of their morning routine. Some people do a morning check and an evening reflection, then prepare for the next day. It is all about what will work for you.

  • Divide Your Time Starting with the Most Important

  • When you look at your empty planner, it is easy to want to jump in and start filling the blank spaces. However, before the pages are full, ensure the essential events are in place.

    For example, an avid sports fan might make a note of games on the planner’s social section. In a world where the big game trumps movie night, this prevents overscheduling and missing what is most important.

    You can narrow things down to whatever time frame works for you. A popular way is moving through the calendar from yearly through daily events or deadlines. Start by marking important yearly occasions like your anniversary or mum’s birthday. Next, go down to monthly, like the business convention you must attend in October, and then weekly, such as Thursday’s lunch with your boss. Finally, daily tasks like getting the numbers to accounting by noon today.

    Choosing three main events for each month and planning the rest of the month around these things is another popular way to fill in your planner. What you are doing is setting your priorities and making sure what must be accomplished gets accomplished.

    Once you have a method, leave some space for “unscheduled” events. The dinner meeting, trip to the vet or visit from your mother-in-law all can pop into your day or week with little warning. When you see a list of unscheduled events, take a minute to fit them in with the rest of your planner.

    Using a planner allows you to schedule each event, appointment, errand, and task, so that you know what to expect and don't run out of time.

  • Write Everything Down

    Once you have built a framework, look it over and ensure everything is written down. If you do this, your planner will be more helpful, and you will be more efficient.

    What is meant by everything?

    If it is happening in your life or if it is information you must have, then it needs to be written down. For example,

    • Bill due dates (Taxes, mortgage, rent, credit cards)
    • Birthdays, Anniversaries, & Holidays
    • Car repairs
    • Deadlines
    • Doctor’s Appointments
    • Goals
    • Grocery Lists
    • Important Phone Numbers
    • Parties
    • To-do Lists
    • Vacation days
    • Work schedules
  • Categorise Your Tasks

    There are several ways you can categorise your tasks. Planning enthusiasts use everything from creative stickers to colour coding to keep tasks sorted. A simple way to classify tasks is colour coding. All you need are a few coloured highlighters. Dedicate a colour for work-related events in your planner, another for home, and one for personal time. If you are active in organisations or clubs, add colours for that as well. Once you have a system, you can glance at a page to see what is happening.

  • Set Reasonable Time Limits

    We often overestimate how much we can accomplish or how long we must wait. You think you can finish three reports before six, but is it realistic thinking? You can hope that you will spend one hour at the doctor’s office but is that how long your appointments usually take? If you try to cram too much activity into too tight a time frame, you will end up frustrated or feel like you have failed. You will be much less annoyed if you block out an hour and a half for the doctor, and if you are done in an hour, you have found a piece of time for yourself.

  • Keep It with You and Use It

    This may seem like basic advice, but many people will tell you a planner did not help them but also mention how it stayed in the bottom desk drawer and did not look at it. Get in the habit of taking your planner with you as you go through your day. You can add pertinent tasks or ideas, so nothing slips through the cracks.

Keeping a to-do list can help you feel organized, but without proper planning, it’s easy for that list to get out of control.

Once your planner becomes part of your daily life, you will find you move at a smoother and more confident pace, not scrambling to catch up or missing important things. To find the best style of planner for you or to ask any questions, reach out to us at Cody Group. Our team can assist you in finding the type of planner you have always needed.