Daily Planning is the act of scheduling out your time and mapping out your daily activities.
Daily planning usually involves several things, all emanating from “what you want to do,” “what you need to do,” and “how or when you plan to do it.” Daily planning can involve creating a schedule, writing down a to-do list, deciding on what you need to buy and how much money you need to spend, among other things.
A Daily Planner or Daily Planner Template is a time-management tool in the form of a sheet, book/booklet or document that consists of different sections specified to different times of the day and the activities that an individual is to perform during or at those times. A daily planner essentially helps map out an individual’s daily activities.
Benefits of Daily Planning
Daily planning is an effective way of increasing productivity by ensuring effective management of time and resources. By mapping out your daily activities and all-important tasks that you aim to finish in a day inside of a properly crafted daily planner, you will be more likely to complete each task on time.
Some of the significant benefits of daily planning with the help of a daily planner include:
Daily planning is essential for both professional and personal life. By using a daily planner at home and your job, you will complete many things and remain productive throughout the day. You will also remain organized throughout the day, reducing the pressure that may come because of a last-minute rush to complete important tasks.
It is common to find yourself in situations where you must compete against time to complete certain things due to poor time management. Using a daily planner can help you avoid jumping from one task to another without completing them. A daily planner will allow you to schedule each task, event, errand, project to help you make the most of your time. By allocating time to each task and setting deadlines for each activity, a daily planner can help you complete more tasks in a single day.
Manage stress level
Having a daily planner can help you set time for everything and seamlessly tackle each task without having to worry about failing to complete certain activities thereby helping you manage your stress levels.
Enjoy more health benefits
A well-crafted daily planner can also help you schedule your self-care activities to ensure that you remain fit throughout. A daily planner can help you maintain your physical health by helping you keep track of your diet and exercise. Planning out activities such as going to the doctor’s appointment and planning your daily meals can help you remain physically fit. A daily planner can also help you get mental health benefits by reducing pressure, stress, and anxiety caused by failing to complete essential tasks.
Proper time management can help you set aside some time for your artistic endeavors, including riding a bicycle, reading a book, going for a walk, or trying out something new. Setting aside some time to complete your favorite things will relieve your mind from work pressure, thereby improving your focus and increasing your overall performance.
Maintain reliable records
A daily planner is a record of all your activities, and by properly maintaining the one, you will be able to review your past appointments, activities, important notes, tasks, etc., which may come in handy when creating or planning a new schedule as you will be able to allocate enough time for each activity.
Productive Daily Planner Templates
Essential Things to Include in a Daily Planner
Although it depends on different people and is a subjective matter what a person decides to put on their daily planner, but usually the are a few basic components that are a must to have on a proper daily planner.
Several vital things that should be included in a daily planner template are as follows:
Daily goals are simply targets of what you would like to achieve at or before the day ends.
Examples of daily goals include:
“Complete and submit the final report,” “Read chapter 5 of ABC book,” and “Run five laps.”
A to-do list is a list of all the tasks you would like to complete before or by the end of the day. These can be small tasks, activities, or projects that culminate in a day’s project. Each item in a to-do list is usually ticked-off after completion to make it easy to track the overall progress and performance.
A daily planner template should have a section where any appointments, meetings, interviews, or scheduled activities can be written. The appointments section should show the time allocated for each activity and should mention the person’s name and the venue of the appointment/schedule.
A daily planner section should have a section for urgent/priority items. This is where you list all or any urgent tasks that must be done by the end of the day.
Meal tracking is crucial as it helps promote efficiency and productivity throughout the day. Keeping track of what you are eating is also very important if you are on a diet.
It is important to note down some of the things that you are grateful about during the day. Noting down what you are grateful about can help you maintain positivity throughout the day, even if some things did not go as you had planned.
Daily planners usually have a section where you can note down anything else that you may have found to be helpful, such as buying a book, visiting a website, downloading a file, send a message or call someone, new phone numbers, and anything else that you would not like to forget.
Tip: Keeping your daily planning habits going on the weekends and holidays is recommended even if you plan to sit and relax at home. Consider adding errands, going to the movies, visiting a friend, or dinner dates to your daily-to-do list on weekends and holidays to ensure that you dedicate enough time for each activity and have enough time for your leisure, relaxation, and other important stuff.
Making & Using a Daily Planner
There are several things that you should do to ensure that you make the most out of your daily planner.
Some of these, when put in the order of proper steps are as follows;
Step 1: Make a to-do-list
The first step when making a daily planner is to come up with a to-do list. Next, ensure that you list down everything that you are planning to do during the day. All the activities listed should be geared towards achieving your daily goals. Here are some of the things to do when making your to-do list:
Break down the big goals
Break down your primary goals into small achievable daily tasks. Breaking down your bigger goals will help you make the necessary steps towards your main goal.
Look at the whole week
It would help if you considered what you want to achieve in a week when planning your daily activities. For instance, if you have a project you would like to complete by the end of the week, breaking it down into smaller achievable tasks will help give you momentum.
To achieve your goals, you must list down all the essential tasks geared towards realizing your goals. For instance, if you have a project that you would like to complete by the end of the day, it is important to schedule tasks that will lead to the realization of the project and only schedule other activities such as appointments, meetings in between the smaller tasks to ensure that you remain focused towards your goals.
Step 2: Make one daily priority
When planning your daily activities, it is vital to have one major goal that you would like to achieve at the end of the day. Focusing on one task per day makes it easy to divide the tasks into more straightforward activities.
Step 3: Use productive methods to plan your day
There are four primary productive methods that you can use to plan your day. Productive methods are usually very effective and can help you get things done much faster.
Eat the frog
The eat the frog is a productivity method that requires you to identify one important task that you would like to accomplish first within the day and focus on it. A “frog” task is the main task for the day and is a great way to ensure that your day’s main goal is realized.
If you enjoy working on short tasks with frequent breaks, then the Pomodoro technique will suit you best. Developed in the late 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro technique involves using a timer to focus on specific tasks. To use the Pomodoro technique, first set your timer for 25 minutes and focus on completing one task until the timer goes off. Then, take a five-minute break when the session ends and mark down the task you have completed. Finally, after four consecutive sessions, take a more extended break of 20-30 minutes.
The time blocking technique is one of the most used techniques. It involves splitting up your day into blocks of time. This could be as specific as 8:00 a.m.- 12:00 noon. During the set hours, the time blocking technique requires that you focus on completing several smaller tasks or a specific task without distractions. Set enough time for lunch breaks and commutes to ensure that your day is not filled with distractions when using the time blocking technique.
The Eisenhower matrix productivity method requires that you focus on the urgency and importance rather than doing the most urgent tasks, whether they are crucial. The Eisenhower matrix focuses on breaking down tasks into four categories and establishes how each task should be handled.
The four categories of the Eisenhower matrix include:
- Urgent and important: These are tasks that should be completed immediately
- Not urgent and important: These are “need to do” tasks that should be included in your to-do list
- Urgent and unimportant: These are tasks that you should consider delegating to someone else in your team. By delegating them, you will have enough time to focus on urgent and important tasks.
- Not urgent and unimportant: These are tasks that you should not put in the effort to complete, and you should consider deleting them from your list.
Step 4: Choose a daily planner type
After choosing the productivity technique you would like to use to plan your daily activities, it is now time for you to pick a planning tool.
Here are the different types of planning tools that you should consider:
Digital daily planner
You can download and install several apps on your phone for effective planning, such as Bear for IOS and macOS, Apple Notes, notes app, etc. You can also use other traditional applications such as Apple calendar, google calendar, and fantastical.
Non-digital daily planner
Some of the non-digital methods that you can use to plan your daily events include using a notebook, creating daily agendas and paper planners, and using specialized planners. You can also download a daily planner template to help you plan your daily activities. Daily planner templates are usually very simple, easy to use, customizable, and can be downloaded in various forms.
Step 5: Stick to the plan
After creating a plan, it is important to stick and ensure that you complete all the activities. Remember that procrastination is the thief of time. If you create a plan and fail to complete certain activities, then there is no need to have a daily planner in the first place.
Here are things that you should do to ensure that you don’t deviate from your plan:
Complete tasks in the order of priority
Make sure to complete each task in the order of priority. Using the productivity techniques, complete each task in the order in which you have listed them. This way, you will be able to do everything you had set out on that day.
To ensure that you stick to your daily plan, ensure that you eliminate or minimize distractions. To do this, make sure that you complete the activities you have included in the daily planner.
Track your time and the hours
Tracking the time that you put in into completing a given task is a great way to ensure that you follow the right path. By ensuring that you complete a task within the hours specified and allocating extra time to only those activities that require extra allocation, you will be able to stay on track.
Strive to complete each task in your daily planner. If you are unable to complete some tasks, readjust accordingly to ensure that all your objectives are met. Ensure that you allocate enough time for the activities you postpone and that no activity is left unattended.The whole point of planning is to know what you have completed and how long it took you to complete those tasks. At times you may create a plan without factoring in certain things in mind, and some things may come, thereby affecting your plan. Be flexible with your plan and adjust accordingly. You may consider moving certain things to a later date or change the amount of time you need to complete certain things; make sure that you tick off those you have completed if you plan to readjust your daily activities.
Step 6: Regularly consider your planning
The main reason for using a daily planner template is to help you remain organized throughout the day. To make sure that you make the most out of the daily planner, go through it every day to check some of the things that you achieved and how long it took you to achieve them, this will help you schedule your time well when planning for the same activities the next time.
Daily planning should be geared towards achieving a significant goal, whether at home or work. Make sure to keep all your logs in one place to help you see the steps you have made towards realizing your major goals.
Free Daily Planner Templates
Following are some free downloadable daily planner templates for you:
Daily planning is essential as it can help you remain consistent, be flexible and do certain activities with perfection. Make sure to use a daily planner template to ensure that all your activities are well-planned for the day. By completing tasks each day, you will be able to meet and achieve your major goals. If by any chance you are unable to complete the activities you have included in your daily planner, make sure to readjust accordingly to ensure that all your objectives are met. When you re-adjust your plans, allocate enough time to complete each task and ensure that all the tasks you have listed for the day are attended to.