I’ve tried various methods over the years to keep track of my appointments, goals, and to-do lists. Since I settled on using a paper planner years ago, I’ve been on a mission to refine how I organize my days to get more done.
One new thing I’m trying this year is using daily planner pages. For the past couple of years, I’ve only used the week on two pages option. I liked being able to see my whole week at a glance along with my to-do lists, weekly menu, and steps to achieve my goals.
I still like having that, but I realized that it was hard to track the time I needed to spend on housework and my blog. So, I decided to add the daily page this year.
This is my schedule for today:
I have to admit that this is not what a typical day will be like with me using these pages. I have so many set appointments and tasks that I don’t really have time to tackle other to-do’s today. So, on a regular day that I’m going to be at home most of the time, I will have more items on my to-do list on the left hand side of the page. I’ll also have more notes as I’ll write down things I need to remember for later.
This is my process for using the daily pages:
1) Write in appointments I have for the day.
The appointments are anchors to my day. They are set times I need to be somewhere or on the phone/computer with someone. Putting in appointments first gives me a more realistic view of what else I can do that day.
2) Make a list of my top three priorities of the day.
One thing that will surely set you up for failure when it comes to accomplishing your work is to have too many tasks on your to-do list. I love how the pages I’m using encourages me to pick the top 3 things that need to be done that day. If I get these 3 things done, then I feel like my day has been successful.
Sure, I will usually have more than that, however if I focus on the the things that HAVE to be done that day instead of working on a bunch of tasks that could be done at any other time, I find I will move forward faster on other things I need to do.
3) Assign times to finish my tasks.
Once the appointments are written in and I have my to-do list set for the day, then I can think about when I can fit in all my tasks. I will block off time for working on my blog, cleaning the house, or organizing an area of my home. I will also block off time for dinner preparation, eating dinner, and any travel time I may need to get to and from appointments.
That may sound a little too structured for you, but I can assure you it’s really very flexible. For instance, I may have 2 hours blocked off to work on my blog and get all of those tasks accomplished in 1 1/2 hours. That gives me 30 minutes of free time to either work ahead or fill in with some other task. Or, I might even use that free time to relax and do something I don’t really have to think about.
Using a daily planner page has opened my eyes to see how much time I really have in any given day. Some days I’ll wake up thinking I have all the time in the world to get a lot done, but when I fill out my daily planner page, I realize that I don’t have as much time as I thought. Sometimes I have to rethink what really needs to get done that day.
I’ve only been using these daily pages for a few weeks. And I’ve not used them every day. So, it will take a while for me to settle in to a groove with them. I think, though, that in the long run they will be highly beneficial for me. In fact, I’m considering adding in my specific blogging tasks to this planner and getting rid of my blog planner. I would love to have everything in one place!
One baby step at a time!
How do you keep track of your daily schedule?