When I start a new day, the first thing I do after brewing my morning coffee is to open up my planner and start filling my daily page. This routine has been proven to be the most important pillar of a productive day of mine.
In this blog post I want to share with you my 8 reasons why my daily planner helps me to get more done.
First of all, it is not important which daily planner layout you use. For some a simple piece of paper may be enough, others may need a bit more structure. Regardless which type you are: using a daily page in your planner system can drastically improve your productivity.
1. Focus on what is important today
The sole purpose of a daily page in a planner is to reduce the information and focus on the things that are important right on this specific day. It needs to contain all the information you need to successfully live a productive day and not loose the focus on your current priorities.
By planning out your day, you are able to focus on today only and rule out any distractions and disturbances. This enables you to get more done effectively.
It does not matter if you keep a separate planner for work and one for you personal life – as long as both lives are recognized. If you keep a personal planner, just block out the hours you are at work and vice versa.
2. Never forget any appointment, birthday or anniversary again
The most obvious thing to put on a daily planner page are today’s events: any meeting, appointment or other event like birthdays of family members and friends and even anniversaries get written down. I usually refer to other pages in my planner to fill this information in. If you are curious about my planner system, I have summarized it in my post about My Planner Setup Blueprint.
An hourly timeline is great if you have many time sensitive things to track. Otherwise just write down all appointments in chronological order. This way you have a broad overview on all commitments for the day. If your day includes commuting anywhere, write the time needed for transportation down as well or just block out the time needed with a cute sticker.
3. Stop being overwhelmed by a long task list
Next you want to think of things what you need to get done. Most of us work on more than one project at a time, so we all have huge to-do lists, errands to run and household chores to get done. This can be overwhelming if you look on a long list of tasks. Additionally, the longer your list is, the more likely it is that you overlook something. Writing down a task list for just today can help with this.
I usually have the things I want to get done in a week written down on my weekly pages. All these things get distilled down so I don’t feel stressed or overwhelmed by all the unchecked tasks.
4. Get a better understanding on what is feasible to get done
There are days with lots of appointments and then there are others where we may not have a single meeting all day. On a day where you are busy attending meetings or appointments, you probably will not get much else done.
When you start planning your day writing in your appointments and meetings you are now able to see which chunks of time you have available to get your tasks done. This way you are able to estimate how much time you have for tackling your to-do’s.
5. Better time management
Nothing is more frustrating when you look back on a list of things you wanted to get done today and not having done much. Most of the times the reason behind us not completing all the tasks we wanted to is bad time management.
If you have lots of appointments in a day and are required to drive between these meetings to another location, it is simply impossible to get a large list of tasks done.
6. Reduce stress by working on smaller things
Often projects or tasks seem to be impossible to get finished. For some of us, this means feeling stressed. A simple way to reduce this stress level is, to split bigger tasks in more manageable chunks. This way it is also easier to squeeze a shorter task in between meetings or other commitments.
Also, by splitting a bigger task into smaller chunks you can check-off items on your task list sooner which will give you a positive incentive to keep on going.
7. Stop procrastinating on big projects
By putting smaller tasks from bigger projects on your daily planner pages you also ensure that you keep moving forward with a project. Continuous work on a project will sooner or later complete it. Seeing a project move along will keep your motivation high and you will more likely not procrastinate much in your day.
8. Refer back to notes from previous days
The daily page in your planner is also the place to keep any notes which were specific to this day. These notes include, but are not limited to:
- Shopping lists
- notes from important calls you had
- weather information
- daily trackers (medication, water intake, …)
- important things that happened, but you didn’t plan for
Sometimes these notes can be kept on a sticky note, so you can take it out or refer it to another day where you might need it further on.