How to Have Optimal Productivity Using Your Planner

One thing I'm really good at is planning and organizing. All of my friends are always telling me "Ally you're so organized". Which, I am. But I really work for it. At the beginning of the week I spend about 20-30 minutes going over the next week and making sure I know exactly what I have to do. Each day, usually in the morning, I spend about 10 minutes going into more detail and really figuring out what I need to do. During the school year I write when my breaks are, what I'm doing during my breaks, what homework I need to do when I go home and any of the other things that pop up throughout the day.

This summer, I've come up with a system that I really like, and that I will continue to use through the semester. I'll show you how I manage to work, go to school and have a social life, and how you can too.

The first thing you need to do is go out and buy a planner. But, I'm sure you already have one :) If you don't know what to get, a while back I wrote a post on the pros and cons of the Lilly planner (a weekly/monthly planner) vs. a Day Designer (a daily/monthly planner). I loved loved loved the Day Designer. I really did. I was super busy last semester, which I think I will be this semester as well. So I think I will miss having the hour-by-hour planning. However, I like the system I have set up because I can get really detailed.

Side note: you definitely need to color code. Each class, each job, each activity a different color. Sharpie has a pack of 10 highlighters for around $9. 

(White spaces are where I blocked out upcoming blog posts)

When you first get your planner and your syllabi (if you're still in school) write every test, every important date in your planner. No matter if you decide to get a daily or weekly planner, I recommend spending a few minutes each morning going over what you need to do and write it down. This is where you can write your class times and general things you need to do for the day. 

I have a separate little notebook where I have this. On one page I have some daily tasks that I want to do. If you have things that you want to do everyday but you have a hard time getting things done, for me it's take my medicine and wash my face, this is a great thing to do. Each week, you can make a new sheet. Another thing I do is write a list of goals or things I need to get done that week as well. That way I have a clear view of what I need to do. On the next few pages for the week, I write my to-do lists like above. This is where I get really detailed. Where in my planner I write "clean", here I write:
  • Floors
  • Counters
  • Clutter
  • Dishes
As far as school goes, in your planner write "Start on paper", however, on your separate to-do list you can write:
  • Start paper
    • Make outline 
    • Do research 
    • Write first two paragraphs 
I have found that when it comes to weekly planners, they can get filled up fast, this helps you get the best of both worlds, an overview and a detailed view. Plus, my planner is pretty big, about the size of a sheet of paper. The notebook for my to-do lists is a lot smaller and a lot easier to throw in my bag or travel with if I need to. 

This is what the wall on the left side of my desk looks like. I got this calendar at Target. This helps me get a good look for the month without having to get my planner out or turning the page if I'm looking at the week already. Below are sticky notes (color coded with my jobs, blog, etc.) of things I need to do and other lists I jotted down while working. Beside I have a sheet of my goals for the summer (going to be the semester) and a list of my color coding key.

All of this comes together so you can be as productive as possible. So that you can accomplish all that you need and want to accomplish. For me, I want to get through school (and this semester my goal is to bring my GPA back up after doing pretty horrible in Math both last semester and this summer) while spending time with Kayla and Koda.

What are your goals that you want to achieve and how are you going to get there? 

What are your tips to have the most productivity?

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