How to Use a Planner Effectively to Reach Your Goals (& Crush Your To-Do List)

Want to know how to use a planner effectively? Whether you use it for work, for life, or organizing in general, these 7 tips will show you how to reach your goals and crush your to do list. Click to read the post now and save this pin for others!

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We’re two and a half months away from 2018 and as a planning fanatic, I can’t help but get excited for the year ahead. The new year means a new planner and a fresh start where you can rejig your goals and set up an action plan for the year ahead. I love using a paper planner to schedule my days and write out my to-do list to stay on track. This past year I started using the Day Designer and it’s literally changed my life (NOT a sponsored post, just really, really love it), so I thought I’d share my best tips on how to use your planner effectively this new year!

Why I love using a planner

Ever since I was in elementary school, I’ve loved using an agenda. I was one of those students (right up until University) who always got their projects and papers done well ahead of time, and I chock a big part of that up using my planner effectively.

Now, I use it to plan out each and every day from meetings to due dates to events to girls’ nights in. I like to sit down at the end of each day and write out my to-do list for the next day. I find it extremely calming to know exactly what I have going on when I wake up in the morning. It’s a great way to organize your life and keep you on track, especially if you have a busy schedule. Plus, the Day Designer, also has a spot for “Daily Gratitude” which I find incredibly grounding – it keeps you in check.

Here are 7 tips for how to use your planner effectively to reach your goals and kick some serious butt this new year!

1) Use one planner for everything

One of the biggest mistakes people make is using a bunch of different schedulers to plan out their commitments. They use their phone, their Google calendar, and their paper planner, but this usually results in things either being forgotten or double-booked. Use one planner only to schedule everything from work due dates to meetings to gym sessions and wine night with the girls. Having all your plans, due dates and to-do lists down in one place will ensure you’re always aware of everything going on in your life.

2) Sundays are for planning

A lot of people get the Sunday Scaries, but as an entrepreneur, I never dread Mondays and I use Sundays to prep for the week ahead. I look at my agenda and write down everything I need to do for the week. Since the Day Designer allows you to schedule by hour, I know when I have room in my schedule to work in meetings or events. Then I can fill in the times . I like to schedule my time with the most important/crucial things first and go from there.

3) Choose a planner you love

Your planner is something you’ll use on a daily basis, so make sure it’s one that you really love. This isn’t just about design (although there are some seriously gorgeous designs out there these days), it’s about what you want your planner to help you accomplish on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. For me, the Day Designer has it all. A beautiful design, plus it’s so much more than a day planner. It helps you figure out a focus for intentional living, and guides you through an action plan to live your best life through goal setting and action-taking every single day.

It has helped me find organization and simplicity in my often times chaotic life and I couldn’t be more thankful for that! Find a planner you love as much as I love my Day Designer.

Want to know how to use a planner effectively? Whether you use it for work, for life, or organizing in general, these 7 tips will show you how to reach your goals and crush your to do list. Click to read the post now and save this pin for others!

4) Use the monthly calendar

Many people skip out on the monthly calendar, and only use their agenda on the day to day. Most planners have a calendar at the beginning of each month, and these are great because you can see your month all laid out in one place. First, put in the dates of special occasions and events you already know you have, like birthdays, vacations and anniversaries. Then you can start filling it out as the month goes on with new events and commitments.

5) Bring your planner everywhere

I always have my planner with me, no matter where I am. Pop it into your bag whenever you leave the house and always have it in plain sight when you’re at home. It’s easy to forget about it if you put it away in your desk or leave it on a shelf somewhere. If you’re using it as the main way to schedule your days, make sure you’re constantly checking it to keep you on track and add in what you need.

6) Check things off as you go

There really is no better feeling than checking items off your to-do list, and this is what you should be doing whenever you complete the tasks you have written down in your planner. This helps keep you organized and also ensures you’re on track as you go through your day. It gives you a sense of accomplishment that you’re getting things done and can move onto the next thing on your list!

7) Don’t over-schedule

It’s easy to think you’re super woman and can accomplish a million things, but keep it realistic and don’t over-schedule your days. It can get really overwhelming and stressful if you schedule too much on your plate, so make sure each day is filled with tasks and events you know you can check off. You can always add things on if you do get through your list, and it’s not the end of the world if you over-schedule yourself – you can take things off too! But I find it easier not to overwhelm myself with too much.

Planning your day is key to an effective schedule and crushing your to-do list! Do you have any tips on how to use a planner effectively to reach your goals? Sound off in the comments below! And if you loved this post, make sure to share it on Pinterest!

Want to know how to use a planner effectively? Whether you use it for work, for life, or organizing in general, these 7 tips will show you how to reach your goals and crush your to do list. Click to read the post now and save this pin for others!

If you want more productivity tips, follow my Productivity and Organization board on Pinterest!

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19 Comments

  1. Reply

    Megan

    October 18, 2017

    I love this post! I always buy a planner at the beginning of the year and use it for a little while, then give up. But I’ve always bought the cheap ones. Now that I’m working from home as an entrepreneur, I need to stay organized. Thanks for this article!

    Megan

    • Reply

      Kate

      October 18, 2017

      Thanks so much Megan! It definitely helps to invest in one you love (and when it’s a little more expensive you make sure you use it :P). That’s so cool you work as an entrepreneur as well! What do you do? 🙂

  2. Reply

    gelsantiago

    October 18, 2017

    This post is great! I love organizing and planning my schedules weeks in advance, but I’ve been on the lookout for a good planner. Have yet to find one I love. I’ll def check out yours!

    • Reply

      Kate

      October 18, 2017

      Omg Day Designer is truly the best (for me), but find one that you love and suits your life best!! It makes a world of a difference <3 Thanks for stopping by! xo

  3. Reply

    LipstickandMuffinGirl.Com

    October 18, 2017

    Love it! I use agenda for everything as well. One time I mislocated it and I almost lost it!!!!

    • Reply

      Kate

      October 18, 2017

      Yes!! Such a little planner you are! I remember when you lost it and freaked out! I would too 😛

  4. Reply

    Petite & Pretty

    October 18, 2017

    So funny! I was just telling my friends I NEED TO PLAN MY LIFE! There’s too much stuff going on I can’t keep up. I need a to do list or else I literally netflix all day. Awesome photos! Thanks for all the tips!!

    http://www.petiteandpretty.com

    • Reply

      Kate

      October 18, 2017

      Haha Netflix all day – such a tempting trap to fall into! A to-do list is definitely key to getting things done, especially when you have so much going on – just take it a step at a time :*

  5. Reply

    CAS

    October 18, 2017

    Amazing post. It was super helpful. I used to use a planner but I’m about to purchase a new one and start using it again. It made life soo easier.

    • Reply

      Kate

      October 18, 2017

      Thanks so much Cas! It definitely makes life a lot more easier and less overwhelming! I hope you find one you absolutely love!!

  6. Reply

    Argentina

    October 18, 2017

    Love this! Now that I’m getting more serious with my blog, planning is something to get used to, but so worth it.

    • Reply

      Kate

      October 18, 2017

      Thanks Argentina! And totally agree – planning is key to success as a blogger, especially when you get more serious with it 🙂

  7. Reply

    Natasha Sousa

    October 19, 2017

    I love this post! I am such a planner junkie; I don’t know how people can live without one.

    • Reply

      Kate

      October 19, 2017

      Thanks Natasha! I totally agree, canNOT LIVE without mine! Thanks for reading babe <3

  8. Reply

    Sella

    October 20, 2017

    thanks for the tips, i really need that, i love to do the plan and stay organized. 😀

    • Reply

      Kate

      October 20, 2017

      You’re so welcome, Sella! I love planning too! Such a great way to have a productive day 🙂

  9. Reply

    Jess Athorn

    October 27, 2017

    I was wish i was the type of person who could get along with a paper planner but it just doesn’t work for me, I do use the calendar app and reminders on my phone for organizing though and that does work quite well for me

    Jess | http://acornlifefitness.com

    • Reply

      Kate

      November 1, 2017

      Everyone has something different that works for them! If your calendar app works well for you, that’s awesome!!

  10. Reply

    Maddy Finch

    October 21, 2018

    This is an excellent blog post! I have my planner for 2019 I am just waiting to use it. I can use my planner to also track my moods and health symptoms. I have 2 planners, ready. Which I know you said do not use 2 planners. Although, I believe I should have one planner for tracking my mental and physical health symptoms and one for daily schedule.

    Thanks for sharing!

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