How do you plan your time effectively? Today I have a free printable to make the most of your time and maximise your output.
In other words, here’s how to get more done in your day. I know how hard it is to schedule tasks and keep on top of a to-do list. So today I thought I’d share what I use.
We have multiple shared calendars in my family on our devices. They help keep track of where everyone is, what they’re working on and where they’re meant to be.
But on a day-to-day basis, I use a number of tools and techniques to enable me to get everything done.
I set reminders on my Apple Watch to nudge me to the next task and have various ways of checking in with myself to make sure I’m on track.
If I’m working in my office, I use a daily planner to ensure I’ve achieved what I intended to do.
I’ve tried various options over the years, and after scribbling out boxes and headers on shop-bought ones to create the right one for me, I designed my own.
I thought I’d share it with you. I’ve experimented with sizes and found A4 to be the best one for me and hope you find it useful. You could always reduce it to a smaller size when you print it.
Over the past few days I’ve been asked how I managed to get my All Things IC Christmas cards designed, printed, written and sent by the start of December. If you read my recent blog post, you’ll know this month is a difficult one for my family.
The answer? It featured on my daily planner and I scheduled my time to brief the designer (thanks Lisa), approve, order, write and have them ready to post ahead of 29 November, which is when we were due to be in hospital with my son.
How the daily planner works
The daily planner is divided into the following sections:
- Must do today
- Might do today
- Notes and reminders
- Leave for tomorrow
Must do today – I use the boxes on the far right-hand side to tick (although I much prefer crossing through completely!). Sometimes I write activities in the order I need to complete them, in which case the boxes become numbers. But more often than not, I use them as check boxes. I also divide the box in half if that number of lines isn’t enough. I normally write the date in the top right hand corner.
I often find something crops up which has the potential to eradicate a lot of my planned time, so having might do today allows me the space to capture what I would like to do if time allows. If something crops up which I need to park until the next day, it gets captured in leave for tomorrow.
Sometimes I complete the planner at the end of one day for the following day. But the majority of time, it’s one of the first things I do when I sit down at my desk to start my working day. With a cup of tea to hand, obviously.
Notes and reminders – this is often something related to my children, a call I need to make on their behalf or to order something they need online. (A camel costume was in that section recently as a reminder to find one for Miss M’s school play). I mainly use this section for non-work reminders, which I find helpful as they’re out of my head and more likely to be remembered. Yes the camel costume got bought.
Doodles – I’m always doodling! I mind-map a lot and like having space to doodle while I listen on the phone. I often turn the planner over and mind-map to help me visualise a problem and create connections to solve it.
Every day I print a fresh daily planner and complete it by hand. I find this quicker than doing it online and like the satisfaction of crossing it off as the day progresses.
I find what gets written down, gets done.
There’s no hard and fast rule of how to use the daily planner. Do download a copy for free and try it out for yourself:
What works for you?
How do you get more done in your day? If you download the daily planner, do let me know what you think and how you get on with it.
Would you like me to share more content like this with you? As ever, you’re welcome to comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.
Further reading: If you’re interested in more free content to download, check out my personal branding checklist.
Earlier this year, CIPR Inside hosted an #ICBookChat on Busy by Tony Crabbe, and I know it’s a popular read among internal communicators. It’s helpful if you’d like to read about “thriving in a world of too much” and get advice on being busy.
And let’s not even mention the Cosmopolitan #busybusyverybusy debacle from a few months back…
Thank you as ever for stopping by.
Post author: Rachel Miller.
First published on the All Things IC blog 5 December 2017.