2021 may seem the unlikely year to get ahead with my diary/organisation and planning ahead strategies since we are still unable to plan much in advance. However recent changes I have made have already made such a difference so I thought I’d share them after receiving so much interest on social media about it!
I’ve always been a planner and like to be organised. Running around to complete work last minute is not when I am at my most productive. This year my workload has increased significantly and I am well aware that my baby’s arrival in the Summer will throw the schedule off course. In my attempt to maintain the work/life balance and continue to do everything I want/need to, I’ve implemented a new planning system.
I did a little research and it seems the majority of people still use paper diaries, even with all the technology within our reach! I’ve not used a paper diary since my University days and I live by my icalendar for all my appointments, deadlines, and scheduling. I find this the most reliable as I always have my phone and it syncs to my laptop and ipad when I’m working too. However, I was finding I was creating large To Do Lists (I use Microsoft One Note app for my To Do lists and notes) that were starting to feel overwhelming. I had so many items to complete but I was struggling to structure how and when I would achieve the breakdown of this.
I purchased the Hello Day Planner the other week (not an ad, I just really liked it and purchased it thanks to my friend’s recommendation) and already it has made a huge improvement to my productivity levels. This is a Day Planner, but it starts with a month plan where you can write all the tasks you need to complete for that month, and then split them in to each week. It then has pages for each day where you prioritise your Top 3 To Do Tasks, and then list other tasks that require to be done, and at what time. This has been revolutionary for my individual days as I can now see clearly exactly what I need to achieve in order to complete my tasks, meet deadlines on time, prioritise etc.
This process has felt like a complete brain de-clutter and I am finding I am getting more done in the time slots as when I get time to work (AKA baby naptime and bedtime) I know exactly what task I am completing without having to plan or think about it and I can just focus my energy fully on that one page. I know that these are all linked to the weekly tasks and monthly goals too so I don’t have to waste time thinking over what needs done to achieve each item.
Previously, I would have also finished one item and just moved on to the next until it was bedtime/time to stop; but now that each day has a limit and all projects are accounted for throughout the week/month, If I complete that page I can peacefully stop and not just power on. This has been a welcomed break without the guilt and created a tiny window of time away from work doing other things I enjoy too!
My top tips for organising your schedule:
- Allocate your To Do List In to manageable sections eg. By month, week, and day.
- Remove the one big daunting list of things needing done.
- Once the task is complete allow yourself time to stop and step away without automatically moving on to the next item.
- Plan your schedule at the start of each month, AND start of each week and STICK to it.