In this hard-pressed and bustling labyrinth of daily life, you can quickly lose track of your work. And it’s natural. When you have many things to do every day, forgetting some of them is only human. But forgetting parts of your schedule can be detrimental to your work. And that’s why you need a daily planner.
A Daily Planner is a utility that you can use to organize your daily chores in written form for orderly management and better recollection. It can be either a virtual or physical medium. I prefer printed daily planners as it’s livelier.
A daily planner isn’t just a simple piece of paper to write down stuff. It has quite a lot of benefits. Some of you might think that a digital planner would be better, but I’ve found a paper planner more helpful. There’s a lot to learn about the daily planner and its usage, so without further ado, let’s get right into it.
Paper vs. Digital Planner
In this era of technology, everything is being rapidly digitized. So, it only makes sense to wonder whether you should go for a digital planner or paper planner. While other digitized technologies offer more versatility, the old ways thrive in the case of daily planners, how you might ask.
Advantages of paper daily planner
Let’s take a look at the advantages of using a paper planner:
- A paper planner helps you to remember things better. It’s always in front of you, maybe on the desk or bedside table. You don’t have to pull out your phone every time to check your to-do list for today. All you need to do is have a glance at it.
- Writing helps you memorize things quickly. When you write something, the motor and sensory response mix allows your brain to remember it better. So, when you use a paper planner, you will catch up to your daily work more efficiently, unlike using a digital planner.
- Smartphones are means of distraction. Every time you take your phone in your hand for something, you log on to Facebook, then maybe YouTube to listen to your favorite track or check the messaging app. By this time, you are already distracted. A paper planner is free from all these drawbacks.
Advantages of using a digital daily planner
Following are the advantages of using a digital daily planner:
- Digital daily planners are usually much cheaper than paper planners as you don’t have to keep rebuying new planners.
- Digital daily planners are editable. So, if you need to make any adjustments to your routine, you can surely do that.
- You can access your digital planner anytime you need without the burden of remembering to carry your planner with you. We usually have our phones with us all the time. That makes digital planners a bit more convenient to access.
- You can set reminders on digital planners.
Add a ringtone to indicate the end of one task or the start of another with a digital daily planner.
Tools for Making a Daily Planner
There are plenty of options to make a daily planner. You can go fully digital with a to-do list app or use a pen and paper-like old times. Or you can have a mix of both to get the best of both worlds.
Let’s have a look at the two most popular tools to make a daily planner:
A to-do list app
A to-do list daily planner app can be the option to go fully digital and scrap the burdens of maintaining a pen and paper. By using an app for daily planning, you can get everything in one place more organized.
There are adequate customization options in digital planners, and the chances of wastage are zero to none. You can also access your daily plan from anywhere and on any device. You can also set an alarm tone as a reminder for significant events.
A digital calendar
A calendar is the oldest form of a daily planner. Back in the day, people wrote down upcoming events below the specific date with a pen or marker. A digital calendar is just an advanced and digitized version of it.
You can add your daily tasks, meetings, classes, or any event to a particular date. All the digital calendar apps have a reminder ringtone option, so you are less likely to forget and miss important events. As it’s digital, there is no messing up the calendar with a pen or pencil.
Importance of Daily Planner
A daily planner can do more than you can imagine. It’s not just a medium to remind you of this and that. You can achieve way more by maintaining a daily planner.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of having a daily planner:
Maintain effective schedules
You will always run out of time if you don’t properly utilize it. And to properly utilize it, you need to break down your schedule in the most productive way possible. To do that, there is no better option than a daily planner.
It will tell you when to do what, when to expect what, and how much time you have left until the next event. Maintaining an effective schedule will become easier once you get your hands on a daily planner.
Our body is like a clock. There is a specific time for every physiological activity like sleep, meal, exercise, etc. If there is any mishap or lack of fulfillment of a physiological need, your body won’t respond well. A daily planner breaks down the 24-hour day into effective schedules to do everything in time.
You won’t be late for your meal, dentist appointment, gym, and all other health-related tasks anymore. Thus, a daily planner helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle without you even noticing.
Enhance your productivity
It should be no surprise that a daily planner shall boost your productivity. Being late on one thing means being late on the next.
The work volume shrinks as you take more time for each. When you do everything on time, you can do it to the fullest with your full potential. Automatically, your productivity increases.
Manage your stress levels
Work is stressful. When there is a time gap, the stress ramps up. Stress is never good for work. It dials down productivity and efficiency.
The only way to deal with it is to be on time. If there is no hurry, there is no stress. Daily planners help you do just that.
Exercise your creativity
In this daily hustle of life, there is hardly any time for creative works. But, besides being a passion, creative works are also surprisingly beneficial.
You can only exercise your creative works if there is free time. By maintaining a routine schedule, you can manage enough time to nurture your passion.
Maintain reliable records
A daily planner’s utility doesn’t end as the day passes. It is also a reliable source of records. If for some reason, you need to recall what you were doing a few days back during the evening, you can check your daily planner.
If you maintain planners in proper order, there shouldn’t be any difficulty in finding what you are looking for.
Characteristics of Daily Planner
A daily planner template is a paper where there are sections to make notes for different errands of the user. You can get a daily planner free online as there are countless templates in PDF format.
There are some common sections in a daily planner. It might vary, but you find these same sections in most cases.
Here are the sections of a daily planner:
This section is to write down what you do every day. Not as a reminder but as a goal to be achieved. It could be spending time with your parents, or reading ten pages of a novel, etc.
Here, you will track things that you must do daily. This section is to remind you of things that you are likely to forget but must be done. There are usually checkboxes to indicate whether the work is done or not.
The schedules or appointment section is for necessary appointments. Something that is not frequent but important. It could be a doctor’s appointment, corporate meeting, or something similar.
Here, you can add any task from the to-do list or appointment section; something urgent. Works that you have no scope to miss out on are to be placed here, like picking your kid from school, dropping your friend at the airport, etc.
The meal tracker section might seem unnecessary to many people, but it is crucial for people with a dietary restriction or diseased person. Fitness enthusiasts can also make use of this section.
You can note your daily achievements in the gratitude section of a daily planner. Or anything that makes you feel grateful.
Notes: This section is for extras. You can write anything that you feel like you need to keep a tab on. Nothing specific, just what your heart desires.
Standard Daily Planner Templates
Tips for Using a Daily Planner Template
Maintaining a daily planner can do more harm than good if you are not aware of its impact. There are some essential considerations to use a daily planner if you want the best out of it and nothing else.
Here are those:
Check your planner every day
There’s no point in using a daily planner if you don’t interact with it. You can keep it on your table forever without improvement in your daily routine, and that won’t yield anything. To get the best out of your daily planner, check it at least once a day.
Complete the tasks priority-wise
Just checking your daily planner once a day won’t do anything. You’ll have to complete the chores according to schedule every day or else, they will pile up on top of each other, and you’ll find it near impossible to catch up on things.
Remember to be flexible
Maintaining a daily planner is a good idea. Being flexible with your routine is even better. Don’t go hard on yourself or the planner. Keep your work to the minimum possible. Do the once that must be done in proper order. Spend time on your passion and creativity.
Make regular planning a habit
Be regular with your daily planner. Being all active one day and lazy the next day won’t be fruitful. You’ll have to be habitual in following your daily planning, even when you feel a little under the weather. Consistency is the key in every part of our life, and there is no exception here.
Build your planner around your goals
We all have some goals. We work day and night every day to achieve that target. Our daily works are the pieces of our ultimate goal. So don’t put some random errands on your daily planner that don’t serve any purpose. Scrap anything that hampers your goal. Make sure your daily routine sums up to be the ultimate achievement of your life.
Have one daily priority
Often you will find that days after days you haven’t done anything on your daily planner list. We all procrastinate. So, please don’t blame it on yourself. A way to work around this is to set one priority task every day and make sure you do it no matter what.
Track your time
By tracking your time, you can be more efficient with it.
You can find out what you are doing, how long you are taking a break or how long you are sleeping, etc., and reschedule it.
There are many apps to track your time.
Try hourly check-ins
Hourly checking is an advancement from daily check-in. Check your daily planner every hour to see what you were up to the past hour. Thus, you will get the motivation to commit yourself more to the coming hours.
Readjust your plan
Making a daily planner doesn’t mean you must stick to it by any means necessary. If something unexpected arises, change your plan. Also, feel free to readjust your plan every once in a while, just for the sake of recreation.
Get to “to-do list zero”
Most of the time, you won’t complete your tasks for the day. Don’t worry about it. Your focus should be starting the next day afresh. Therefore, reschedule your plans for the next day. End the day with zero tasks in hand, with a clean board.
Productivity Techniques With Your Daily Planner
Many people maintain a daily planner, but at the end of the day, their achievement remains nil. Why is that? It is because they haven’t adequately utilized the daily plans. However, there are a few ways to be productive with your daily planner.
Let’s take a look:
Eat the frog
Eating the frog means doing what you don’t want to do. None of you would want to eat a frog. That’s the goal here. You must eat the frog first thing in the day. Make the task you want to avoid your priority and do it first.
This technique works best for individuals who like to work in short sprints taking frequent breaks in between.
In this technique, you take several periods of 25-minutes with 5 minutes break between each. You take as many 25-minute periods as you need to achieve your goal for the day. It is named Pomodoro technique because it was invented by a student who used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer. Tomato is called Pomodoro in Italian.
Time blocking is dividing the time into several blocks. It could be 3-4 hours each, or whatever you see fit. Then work for one specific task throughout each block. Put enough time in each block according to the extent of the task. Also, make sure to include blocks for taking lunch breaks and commutes.
Realistically speaking. Usually, you’ll finish your tasks later or earlier than the designated time. And that is perfectly normal. Just learn to make slight adjustments to your schedule as you go about your day.
The Eisenhower matrix methods categorize tasks into four types according to priority. “Urgent and Important” tasks must be completed right then and there. “Not Urgent and Important” tasks should be scheduled on the to-do list. “Urgent and important” tasks should be outsourced, and “Not Urgent and Unimportant tasks” should be deleted.
Daily Planner Templates – by Type
- Daily planners are excellent for creating a schedule for your daily tasks. In addition, they are accommodating for time management and task organization.
- A paper planner is always better than a digital planner because it harbors less distraction. A mix of both is also good.
- There are different sections in a daily planner template. Make sure you make good use of them.
- Using a daily planner won’t improve your productivity if you are not methodical. There are tons of different techniques to make use of a daily planner. Pick the one that suits you the best.
- Be considerate about the daily planner. Don’t go hard on yourself. Make the routine flexible.
- Check on your daily planner every day or once every hour if possible.
- Don’t end the day with tasks in hand. Instead, reschedule all pending work for the next day.