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Why a Daily Planner is a Must-Have

Planner

Life is busy. Your weeks are filled with projects, meetings and appointments. Missing any one of these could be detrimental and throw you completely off.

Why take the chance of being derailed by something slipping through the cracks? If you aim to live your best life, you need a systematic approach to keep you on track. 

Keeping it all straight is essential to your success. So, how does one keep it all straight? I’m so glad you asked! Let me introduce you to your new best friend but better, your daily planner.   

Daily planners aren’t a new concept. Some may even argue that in today’s world they are an unneeded antiquated tool, but they are simply misguided.

Just as you need a map to get to a new destination, you need a plan to get to living your best life. And the best way to create such a plan is, well, you guessed it, with a planner. The benefits you discover will improve your life in more ways than you imagine.  

Not Your Mama’s Planner 

Planners have come a long way since the days of your mama’s Day Runner planner and the Trapper Keeper you overstuffed with loose leaf paper in elementary school. Gone are the days of drab and chaotic. In are the days of organized, functioning fashion statements. 

Friends, I’m talking about a small luxurious leather bound book that would easily double as a gorgeous accessory. You’re serious about living your best life. Why not carry a planner that reflects your seriousness about success? 

There are so many options for customizing your planner from binders to dashboards to stickers and pens. Whether you opt for something feminine and glamorous or something minimalistic is totally up to you and your style. Have fun with it, and make it a reflection of your personality. And then use it religiously.  

For tips and inspiration on where to find planners, inserts, and dashboards as well as tutorials and flip through videos featuring planner gurus, check out my blog post “How to Create the Ultimate Planner.”

Beyond Organization 

Doctor’s appointments, PTA meetings, lunch dates, shopping lists, home projects, work tasks, exercise schedules, the list goes on and on. You’ve got all the dates, locations and times noted somewhere. A sticky note here, the back of an envelope there, a paper ripped out of your notebook tossed in the bottom of your handbag. This is the fast track to frustration and missed appointments. 

Seriously, who can keep it all straight? Fun fact, most people can’t. You’ve got a lot going on.  Why weigh down your brain with trying to remember tasks and appointments? It’s just too stressful. You’ve heard the saying work smarter, not harder, right? The same applies here. The more organized your life is, the easier it is to navigate. Trust me. With a husband, three kids and a full-time job, the more streamlined my daily tasks are, the easier and more successful my days become. 

Planning For The Week Ahead

In addition to keeping all of your appointments and tasks in one place, a daily planner helps you  prioritize your days.  

My Sunday routine

On Sunday evenings, I make myself a cup of tea, settle into my recliner and spend about 30 minutes building out my week in my planner. I work with two different views: a week-at-a-glance spread between two pages and daily pages for the week.  

For my week-at-a-glance, I jot down things that I need to accomplish each day. To keep things together, yet separate, I use the left side for work and dedicate the right side to my personal life.   

When it comes to my daily tasks, I do a big brain dump of everything I need to get done for the week. Offloading things like: order birthday present, make doctor’s appointment, launch campaign, pay bills, present to sales in office, etc. into my planner allows me to clear my head. I’ve got it down. It’s right there. It no longer needs to lurk around in the back of my mind taking up precious brain real estate and keeping me up at night.   

After my brain purge, I grab my laptop and look at all my meetings for the week and write them on each daily page. Meetings are the things that correlate with specific times and cannot be missed. Getting them into your planner first allows you to see just how much remaining time you have to dedicate to other tasks that don‘t require specific times.  

Prioritize

Next, I prioritize. I pick up to three tasks a day deemed as most important and place dot stickers next to them. These are my must-do tasks for the day.  

For the rest of the week, each weeknight I spend five to ten minutes reviewing and revising my next day’s daily page. In a perfect world, my Sunday evening plans would remain relevant throughout the week. However, we all know what a difference a day makes. Things can change quickly. Maybe I didn’t have enough time to complete a task. Perhaps a meeting was rescheduled or a friend came to town and wanted to have lunch.

Whatever the case, taking a few minutes to reevaluate and revise gets me back in control. 

Start Your Day With Focus 

How many times do you get up in the morning with a plan and suddenly something more pressing pops up? And you know what is said about best laid plans. Before you know it, it’s 3pm and nothing you’d originally set out to accomplish in your day is done. Scenarios like this were a daily occurrence for me before I embraced my daily planner life. 

Now, each morning I wake up knowing exactly what I need to get done that day. I’m aware of the meetings I need to attend and the tasks I need to complete for both work and home.  

Sure, things still pop up unexpectedly all the time. Your boss calls and asks you to run some reports and analyze the data. Your kids’ school nurse calls and says your kid has strep, so now you’ve got to get them to their pediatrician before they close. Or you get a flat tire on your way to work. Any one of these things is enough to catapult your day. Lucky for you, you’ve embraced that planner life and now have more control to stay on track even with obstacles in your way.    

Urgent matters are going to come up, but now you’re armed with the tools to ease through them. Grab your erasable pen that you use specifically for your planner, shift things around and you’re back on track and good to go.   

Check Please 

Throughout the day, as you complete each task, check it off your list. From simple tasks like going to the grocery store or picking up the dry cleaning to the big things like launching a campaign or finishing a slide presentation, everything gets a checkmark. And it will feel good. 

That instant gratification and sense of accomplishment you get from checking things off your list is the fuel for your inspiration tank. There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of going to bed every night knowing you completed the things you set out to accomplish in your day.  

At the end of each week, look back at all those beautiful checkmarks with satisfaction as you acknowledge all you achieved in your week and life. You are a productive boss lady. You’re the CEO of your life, running a profitable company with great work life balance. You’ve got the planner to prove it. 

Building Good Habits 

Planning your weeks and days out is not the only function your planner has. It can be used to keep you on track with a variety of things that will improve your life. I created a section in my planner dedicated to developing good habits. This area is reserved for the things I wish to achieve that don’t necessarily fit in other categories. This is the place things like tracking my water intake, exercise, stretching, vitamins and gratitude go to flourish. Just like my tasks and meetings, each of these efforts is rewarded with a checkmark once accomplished.   

I get a checkmark next to water intake for every 32oz I drink. Exercise gets a checkmark for every 30 minutes I log. Ten minutes of stretching, checkmark. Taking my presorted vitamins for the day, checkmark. And most of all, gratitude. I insert a checkmark when I take a moment or two to discover  what I’m most grateful for that day. I then write it down at the very top of that daily page so I have a constant reminder to remain grateful. 

Though I still check all of these things off my list once accomplished for the day, I need the reminders to do them less and less. It’s become second nature to pop those vitamins and ponder my gratitude. What I once called tasks, I now call good habits all thanks to that planner life. Go me!  

Ideas, Projects and Financial Planning  

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about ideation, notes and project planning. I have implemented a sleek system to include each of these areas in its own section of my planner. I encourage you to do the same.  

My project section is broken down by individual projects. Each activity—from home DIY projects to vacation planning—gets its own sheet within the project section. These sheets contain notes, a timeline and a budget tracker for the project.   

My finance section is set up to help me accomplish my goal of monitoring and reducing my debt. I keep track of all my debt by month including mortgage, car payments and credit cards.  

I also have an ideation section. I use this area for simple note taking. Things come to mind that I want to get down before I forget or they take over too much real estate in my head. There is no structure involved. I simply flush out ideas and take notes. Maybe I saw a color I want to paint in my dining room. I write it here so I won’t forget. Maybe an idea for a project came to mind. I write it down. Someone told me about a book they think I’d like. It goes here. When I‘m ready to revisit these thoughts, I turn to my planner and pull them out.  

Out of Sight, Out of Mind 

My planner is an extension of me. It’s never far away. In fact, when I’m working, my planner is next to me where I can see it, opened to the daily page. As I move to work in different places around my home throughout the day, it moves with me staying front and center.  

When I go to bed, my planner is on my nightstand. It’s one of the last things I look at before I go to sleep and the first thing I look at when I wake. Opening my eyes to find her there waiting motivates me to start the day.  

When I go into the office or meet up with friends for coffee, guess what’s on my lap or on the table? You guessed it, my darling planner.  

You may be thinking this may be a bit excessive, but the truth is, if I don’t have my planner with me at most times, a domino effect will happen. I will forget to do some things, avoid doing other things, miss important deadlines and let non-priority things get in the way of progress. It’s not a good look as the CEO of my life. 

Take It From the Pros 

Hopefully by now I’ve convinced you that a planner life is the kind of life to live if your goal is to be productive and successful. Having a daily planner and using it correctly is essential to living your best life.  

Not sure of how to use it effectively? There are some who’ve mastered the art of planning. I kid you not, when you watch these master planners in action, you’d think planning should be an Olympic sport, or at a minimum, a skill on their resume.  

These master planners have incredible tutorial videos in which they show you how to set up your planner and use it throughout the day. Some even have videos flipping through their planners. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, check out a few of these videos linked in my blog post “How to Create the Ultimate Daily Planner”. They’ll help set you on the right path.  

The Moment of Truth  

If living a planner lifestyle seems like too much to commit to each day, think about all the appointments and deadlines you’ve missed and opportunities you’ve lost as a result.  

So what’s it going to be? Are you going to run your life or let life run you? Every successful CEO has a great executive assistant helping them stay on schedule and on track. Think of your planner as your executive assistant. Hire them now. 



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