Time is precious—once spent we can never earn it back. With all that we have going on in our lives, it’s easy to spend days spinning our wheels but going nowhere, and that’s so frustrating.
To one degree or another, all of us could improve our focus, and a planner is a powerful tool to make that happen. Used properly, your planner can be more than just a place to manage your lists of appointments and things to do; it can completely change your life. Here are some things your planner can help you do better than anything else:
Determine the Roles that Matter Most to You
A planner is an ideal place to write down each role that you play during your day—Mother/Father, employee, neighbor, athlete, etc. Keeping track of the various roles you play helps you remember who is relying on you to act in those roles. Your planner gives you an opportunity to focus on each role and set goals associated with each aspect of your life.
Set and Keep Goals
One of the greatest strengths of your planner is its power to help you remember and motivate you toward your goals. Once written, they’re always in front of you reminding you of the desire that drove you to set the goals in the first place. Memory is powerful, and simply looking at the list on a regular basis can give you the encouragement you need to finish.
As you break your goals down to bite-sized bits and schedule them into your daily and weekly activities, you’ll soon find yourself farther along than you could ever be if you were relying on your memory and internal motivation alone.
Prioritize Your Daily Tasks
Many of our planners include a Prioritized Daily Task List. This powerful tool makes it easy to determine what you need to accomplish first each day. It’s the secret to keeping your most important matters at the center of your life.
Each day, simply write every task that you’d like to accomplish on your list, then read through your list and sort your tasks by priority or role with A, B, or C. Then sort all of your A tasks by priority—1, 2, 3 etc. Do the same with your lists of B and C tasks. This will help ensure you’re working on the tasks most closely related to your values and goals. It’s a great way to keep things in proper perspective. It may be one of the most powerful activities you do each day.
Even if your planner doesn’t have a Prioritized Daily Task List, you can create your own list of tasks and incorporate the same idea into your planning with any of our planners.
Keep a Daily Record
Your planner gives you a place to record your successes and failures. If your chosen planner format includes a Daily Tracker, you can note your efforts toward certain goals each day. Knowing you will need to report on your efforts, if only on paper, is a great motivator to encourage you to do your best work. Even without a Daily Tracker, you can always designate a place in your planner to report your efforts toward your goals. Track the number of glasses of water you drank, the distance you ran, or the time you spent improving a talent.
If you still struggle to manage your time, even with all of your tasks and appointments at your fingertips, you aren’t alone. These amazing lists of tasks and goals do little for us if we forget to look at them. Set reminders on your phone to check your planner often throughout the day. Set your smartphone to vibrate or alarm every half-hour and then jot down whatever you were doing when the alarm rang on your notes page. This is an incredibly powerful way to develop stronger habits and improve your focus.
With a plan and a little daily effort, you will be surprised at how much you can accomplish in a short time. Now take courage and your planner and start making the most of your time.