Best Way to Use a Daily Planner + Free Printable!
If you’ve recently purchased a daily planner or are looking to buy one, you may be wondering about the best way to use a daily planner.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for more information.
The benefits of using a planner is that it helps you be more productive, focused, and organized.
In this article, I’ll show you how to use a daily planner at home or at work.
Best of all, at the end of this post, you can DOWNLOAD my Daily Planner FREE Printable! I’ll show you how I use it, too.
How Do You Use a Daily Planner
Buying a new planner is exciting. The clean and crisp pages offer new attractive layouts, all with the potential to change your life and make you more organized and efficient than ever before.
However, sometimes it’s daunting to get started. Will you use a pen or pencil? Will you write in black or colored ink? What if you make a mistake…is the planner ruined? No…it’s not!
For some reason, many of us feel like we need to keep every planner page perfect. I really had this problem. However, a few years ago, I decided to embrace a messy planner.
For me, the more writing and notes on the pages, the better.
It’s okay to be messy with multiple colored pens, smudges, and folded corners. Embrace it all because planning and life are not perfect.
So just pick up your favorite pen or pencil and get started! If you don’t like how it looks, try a different pen tomorrow. Each day provides a fresh start in your daily planner.
Check out my favorite planners in my Buyer’s Guide.
USE 5 Minute Planning
Before you do anything else, plan your day.
Either the night before or first thing in the morning, take five minutes to plan your day. Planning ahead of time not only sets the priorities and goals for the day, but it also helps you stay focused on them for a successful and productive day. In fact, I wrote a helpful article, How to Create a Morning Routine to kick off every morning for success all day.
Write down any appointments that are already scheduled.
Set goals for the day and what you’d like to achieve. Then make those goals happen by listing out the tasks needed to accomplish the goals.
Use time blocking to schedule tasks. If you have time planned to complete tasks, you are much more likely actually to do them. For longer projects, schedule enough time to accomplish that task. For small projects such as cleaning your desk, filing paperwork, filling out forms, or scheduling appointments, batch them into half-hour or one-hour blocks. You can even use the Pomodoro Technique to make help you be focused and productive.
Don’t check email/voicemail first thing in the morning or randomly throughout the day. Schedule an hour each day to reply to emails and phone calls.
At the end of the day, transfer any unfinished tasks or to dos to tomorrow’s planner page.
Put Everything In Your Daily Planner
Get rid of the sticky notes, scrap paper, and reminders on your phone. By putting everything in one place…in the daily planner, you’re more inclined to remember the tasks and appointments.
Take it with you
Get in the habit of taking your daily planner everywhere. If it’s not with you, you can’t use it. When you get to school or the office, open your daily planner, and keep it handy.
When you accomplish a task, you get the satisfaction of checking it off.
If other tasks, appointments, or assignments come up, you’ll have your planner at hand so you can write it all down.
When you get your day started, things can quickly get away from you. You open your email or answer your phone and end up following up on the tasks others want to be done and not your own agenda. By getting in the habit of using your planner, it will help you stay focused on YOUR goals instead of everyone else’s.
How to use a daily planner at work
Everything I covered above may be applied to using a daily planner at work.
Here’s a quick recap:
Keep all of your plans, notes, and meetings in one place - your daily planner. Don’t have Post-Its or scraps of paper taped to your computer or around your desk. Your planner is your GO-TO place for your entire work life.
Plan your day BEFORE you start to work. Don’t check email or voicemail before filling out your plans for the day.
Focus on your goals for the day and then schedule the tasks needed to accomplish those goals.
Use time blocking to schedule your day. Put in scheduled appointments, and meetings then fill in the rest of your day around those times. For smaller tasks, batch them into a block of time.
Schedule time to check email and voicemail and reply to both.
Keep your planner open at your desk so you can stay focused on YOUR agenda. Take it with you to meetings and appointments so you can make changes and schedule new tasks as needed.
At the end of the day, transfer any unfinished tasks to tomorrow’s to-do list.
Use your planner every day!
For even more details on planning at work, check out this article I wrote on How to Use a Planner for Work.
What should I write in my daily planner
Your planner is a place to organize your goals and plans for the day so that you can be focused and productive.
I’ve created a Daily Planner page that helps keep me organized and on task. The key is to choose a few goals each day rather than overloading yourself with a long and overwhelming to-do list.
I have also added some helpful information to record such as the weather and a notes section. At the bottom, there’s a self care section so you can reflect on your personal goals for the day.
My Daily Planner Printable and how to use it
The header includes an inspiring quote to get you started on the right foot.
Circle the day of the week.
Write the date.
Write down your top 3 priorities for the day.
Next, write down the tasks and to-dos needed to complete those goals.
There’s a Notes section for thoughts, upcoming plans, doodles, or whatever you need to write down.
Write down today’s weather and circle the forecast.
The daily schedule is divided into three parts: Morning, Afternoon, and Evening. It starts at 6:00 am at 10:00pm. Use this to schedule to plan your entire day. Block off time for the tasks you need to accomplished so you can actually get them done.
Finally, there is a self care section to record your water intake, mood, and daily steps.