Employing the Power of Personal Planners
Research suggests that the act of physically putting pen to paper helps us remember what we’re noting more than any other method. This means that while handy, keeping track of all your daily tasks on your phone might not be the most effective way to remember them. That’s where a daily planner comes in. If organizing your life – from work to family to personal goals – has you stressed, a passport-sized paper planner may be just the tool you’re looking for.
Make the Most of Your Planner:
Keep Everything in One Place
Instead of using four different apps on your phone to keep up with events and reminders, tasks, notes, ideas, and sketches, use your planner! The great thing about pen and paper is that you’re constructing the content and organization method. If there isn’t a setting you need in an app, make it the way you want in your planner, to include everything. And as a result, enjoy one point of reference.
Have a Daily “Brain Dump”
Setting aside a few minutes each day to empty your mind of everything you need to do the next day can be very cathartic. Jot down the next day’s tasks in an organized to-do list with priorities denoted and time allotted for each activity. (Even if they’re estimates, they’ll still be quite helpful in realistically planning your day.)
Plan Your Week
Choose one day a week to sit down with your planner and note the broader tasks you’d like to accomplish. For example, if you know you want to run three days that week, or have four loads of laundry to be done, try to distribute them equally across all days. You can also use this day for meal planning, transferring notes from your phone to the planner, and breaking any personal goals down into smaller, more manageable steps.
Use the Month at a Glance
Most planners will have this section at the beginning or end of the weekly and daily sections, or all the months may be stacked together in the front or back of the planner. Either way, filling out this section and referencing it each morning can be very helpful. This is the place for fixed dates – put in birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, important standing appointments, etc.
Spell it Out for Yourself
When noting tasks in your planner, it is usually more effective if you write complete sentences, or at least craft phrases with verbs. For example, you’re more likely to “follow up on Joe’s email” if you spell it out than if you just write “Joe.”
Keep Your Planner Handy
The beauty of selecting a smaller planner is that it should be just as portable as your phone. If you get in the habit of sticking it in your pocket or purse every time you head off, you’re more likely to use it – meaning it’s more likely to help you! Basically, treat it the same as your phone, a.k.a. your lifeline, and you should see great results.