It’s a new year and if you are anything like me, you’ve purchased a new planner and are looking for ways to be more organized and productive.
How to you make the most of your planner?
Do you just use it to record upcoming events and appointments?
Did you know you can get more organized and productive by creating lists?
In fact, Lifehack.com recently published a post called, The Power of the List: Essential Lists for Productivity. In the article, author CM Smith credits David Allen’s GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology for his list making success.
Smith says all lists fit into 4 main categories:
Action Lists (aka To Do Lists)
You can create lists for every aspect of your life to help you set goals and achieve them. In this post, we’ll look into what each of these 4 categories are, examples of each, and how to incorporate them in to your life.
#1. Action Lists
Items on these lists are single tasks that can be checked off when done.
There aren’t steps involved with these items for example: call Mom, make dentist appointment, clean fridge, change oil, and reply to John’s email.
These are the tasks and to do’s you are faced with on a daily basis. Make these lists and check off each item as soon as it’s completed.
Daily To Dos
Weekly To Dos
Monthly To Dos
Annual To Dos
#2. Project Lists
Lists in this category involve several (or a lot) of steps to complete a project. You can have a list of the projects you want to complete as well as lists for each project broken out into the tasks/steps needed to complete that project.
For example, let’s say you are going to paint your bedroom.
Your project list may look like this:
Research paint colors
Get samples from paint store
Paint wall with sample
Make final color selection
Buy paint roller, painter’s tape, paint tray, tarp, paintbrush, and coveralls
Remove furniture from room
Prep room with tarp and painter’s tape
Watch paint dry
Decorate room and enjoy
Project lists can be used for school, work, and personal projects you want to accomplish.
#3. Running Lists
Lists in this category are on going. You may want to use the notes section in the back of your planner to keep track of some of these items. Use running lists to keep track of things you want to do or accomplish in the future, record data so you can track your growth, or to log memories.
Goals (read this if you want help setting up a Goals Page)
Books to read (create one of these pages)
Movies to watch (here’s some fun movie page ideas)
Travel/Vacation bucket list
Restaurants to try
Healthy snack ideas
Exercise/workout log (get pumped with these pages!)
Weight loss log
Songs to download
TV shows to watch
Weekend getaway ideas
Compliments you’ve received
Gratitude list (need inspo? Check out these gratitude spreads)
Favorite quotes (here’s some of my favorite quotes)
Things to do when depressed
Things to do when anxious
Things that make me happy
#4. Template Lists
If you tend to procrastinate, template lists are a really good way to stay focused. They are lists that organize the step you’ll follow for success. By having a pre planned template it allows you to not have to think through the steps every single time you want to accomplish something.
As an example, I think back to when I was a teenage babysitter. One family I sat for had a schedule for me.
My planned schedule went like this:
5-5:30 - Play with baby
5:50-6 - Prepare dinner, give baby juice in high chair
6-6:30 - Eat and clean up
6:60- 7 - Take baby for a walk
7-7:30 - Give baby a bath and get ready for bed
7:30-8 - Wind down and read bedtime stories
8-10 - Relax, do homework, watch TV. Parents return home
Babysitting at their house always seemed to fly by and I was never left guessing what to do with the baby. The parents had created this template that I used every time I babysat so I didn’t have to think or worry. I could just follow the steps and enjoy the time I was there.
If you create templates like this for your life, it will allow you to plan and schedule time to accomplish the goals you want to achieve.
Let’s say you are a blogger and you need a template for writing blog posts.
You could create a blog template like this:
Choose a blog topic
Research keywords on that topic
Create a blog outline
Write blog content
Add intro and summary paragraphs
Edit blog post
Create blog title
Add relevant links
Make blog graphics
Share post on social media channels
Keep this template in your planner and use it every time you write a blog post! By having a template like this handy, you won’t have to think through the steps every time you write a post. Just follow it along step-by-step.
In fact, if you are working on a blog post over several days, you can schedule the tasks on your to do list. Spread them out over a few days and then check them off as they are completed.
Here are some examples of templates you can create.
Monthly bills to pay
Pet feeding schedule
It’s Your Turn!
Will you be incorporating any lists into your planner?
Can you think of any lists you’ll make that I didn’t list here? Let me know in the comments below.