If your time always running away from you, a daily planner may be just the tool you need to catch it. Here’s how I’m using mine to be more productive this year.
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Last year, I started using a daily planner for the first time (sort of). When I started working in corporate America, Microsoft Outlook was the standard for productivity and time management. It was fun at first, watching my calendar fill up with all those colorful little blocks. Soon the time came when those blocks flooded my calendar, mercilessly stacking themselves on top of each other. I had no power to intervene. I was fighting for air and so was my schedule.
Once I left corporate life, I abandoned the “corporate” way of managing my time. Now, let’s be clear. Time is probably the most precious thing to me. Add that to my internal neuroses about all sorts of logistical things and I’m pretty much scheduling my life like FedEx…in my head. I guess I’m such a visual person, that I was scarred by the trauma of seeing my life and time run away from me like that.
Almost four years later, I’ve adopted the hourly planner again, but in paper form! Last year, I received the Yoomie Daily Planner to review. Spoiler alert: it’s a six-month undated planner, and I just started my second one.
Why I Use A Daily Planner
Commanding your own schedule is beautiful – and harrowing. It’s so easy to find yourself disorganized and all over the place, especially if your attention span is short like mine. I also have a ton going on in all areas of my life. Yes, I keep a running list of everything that has to be done and where I need to be in my catch-all planner, but when life is really busy, it’s simply not enough. My logistics must be fairly airtight, and that requires assigning a “when” to every “what.”
How I Use My Yoomie Daily Planner To Manage My Time
Here’s how I use my daily planner to manage my time and balance my life.
Every six months is as good a time as any to evaluate goals. Whatever goals I set for myself, I like to mirror them across my planners where appropriate. In my daily planner, the first two pages have space to record goals across pretty much every area of your life from health to wealth to relationships and more.
Next, I complete the monthly calendar. The boxes in the Yoomie Daily are kind of small, but that’s okay. Since this planner is to be used daily, there’s no need to sweat too many of the details on the monthly. I use tools like washi, highlighters, and sticker icons to denote the important stuff.
Just like I note my goals for each six-month period, I set goals for the week. My daily planner has a page at the beginning of each week to establish priorities, to-dos, notes, and ideas. This is a great place to make sure your goals are reasonable and you aren’t trying to do the most.
Tip: I find that a Top 3 is a good standard to stick to for general goals. There will always be must-do items to attend to; piling on 5 or 6 more things is usually a bit much.
Seize the day
The daily pages in my Yoomie planner are where I manage my schedule. Just like the weekly plan, the daily page has areas to designate priorities, mark up a to-do list, and make notes just for that day. The beauty of the hourly plan is that time is not unlimited. There is only so much you can cram into a day, and this is a visual representation of such. This forces me to refine my goals, which is actually the second step of my four-step planning method (read more about Mack’s Method here).
One thing that sets this planner apart from other dailies I’ve seen is the 16-hour time range. I love that it goes from 6 am to 12 am.
Tip: Generally speaking, if it can’t fit in the 16 hours available on the schedule, it ain’t meant to be done that day! That’s my sign to either rearrange some things or roll that item to another day.
Once I have my schedule written, I go to the next level with a color code. I highlight each component of my schedule to help me visualize the balance of my time. How much did I work today? Did I even pencil myself in? Color coding is a great way to trigger yourself to be vigilant about where you spend your time.
At the end of the day, I review my plan and note the changes. I don’t care how much planning I do, I can almost guarantee that something will change over the day. I take a red pen and mark up what actually happened. Finally, I take a moment to plot out the next day, shifting “leftovers” from previous days as needed.
Other tidbits about the Yoomie Daily Planner:
There are many daily planners to choose from, but here are a few of the features that make the Yoomie Daily Planner a great choice:
- Compact A5 size
- 100% undated
- Faux leather hardcover available in 12 colors
- 100 gsm paper – no bleed through
- Envelope pocket in the back cover
- Elastic strap and pen loop
- Two ribbon page markers
How has a daily planner helped me?
When I use my daily planner consistently, I am much more productive. I find that I can stay on task with less drift throughout the day. Also, having a written guide has allowed me to pivot through the changes more efficiently and clearly communicate my priorities with others (read: my husband, lol).
If you’re interested in checking out the Yoomie Daily Planner for yourself, check it out here on Amazon.