I’m a planner junkie. I love using my fancy Mambi Create 365 Planner, and write in it multiple times a day. While I may write in my planner numerous times within the sixteen hours I’m awake, my time is not overbooked. In fact, I have downtime.
My experience from owning a planner as a workaholic is that I saw time differently. Somehow it clicked that a planner isn’t supposed to help you cram time a task in every waking moment. Rather — it’s to rearrange my time so I can find time to just… have fun. This may seem like basic knowledge, but it was news to me.
That mindset also appeals to my minimalistic side of me. I don’t need to be sucked into the societal mindtrap that the more work a person does, the more value they inherently have. Nowadays with a planner, I analyze what truly needs to get done in order for me to be happy and achieve my goals.
With a planner, there has to be a bit of a strategy behind it. What are your priorities? What projects are you working on? Do you have miscellaneous tasks without a deadline? Do you have daily tasks that must get completed? Understanding these questions will prevent you from jam-packing your schedule.
What was stupidly hard for me to learn is that not everything needs to be scheduled in a single day. The tasks that have a time limit or are urgent need to get done first. Such as paying a late fee or an appointment. Meaningless tasks like “wipe down walls” or “brush cat” don’t need to fill up your entire day. Having too many to-do’s in a single day is the opposite of what a planner is supposed to do. Planning everything out smoothly should give you free time — not make you a overworked and stressed out.
Here are some tips of how I align my day.
Priorities are non negotiable. Put those write in your planner. Use exclamation points, a star, or a color to make it stand out. This needs to get done first, as the sooner in the day you get it done the less of a chance you have put procrastinate it for others things. Priorities should max out at three per day if possible to prevent getting double-booked.
In my planner I like to keep a “Project Page” separate. Having the steps to complete the project on each day of the planner can cause it to be cluttered. Also — projects are rarely completely linear. So you could plan each day for it, but get behind in one day, then have the following sequence of days incorrect.
Miscellaneous tasks also get their own sheet. You don’t need to plan “sort tupperware” or “put away scrap paper.” It’ll make people think you’re weird if that’s what most of your day consists of, and it also isn’t urgent enough to warrant planning it for a certain day. Thus, having a cheat sheet for all those random tasks can be better — just reference to it when you have a little too much free time.
Daily tasks are kind of up in the air of whether or not to write them down. My rule of thumb is that if you are always on top of the daily to-do’s there is no need to write them down. You got your brain for that. But, if you need help sticking to a routine of getting them done I recommend planning it until it becomes an unbreakable habit. It keeps you accountable by writing it down.
In the end, the actual planner section for the day show what it meaningful or what sets you up for future success. It doesn’t cause anxiety from looking at it. You see a couple priorities, and then a few normal To-Do’s. Once you get those done, you can work your project that you have a separate page for, or do misc tasks for a couple hours.
If a planner is implemented well, it organizes where your downtime is and merely is a tool that streamlines your day. It shouldn’t be a book that causes immediate stress.
If anyone else is a planner junkie, I’d love to hear of what others do to make their planners the most beneficial. Just leave a comment below.