As we continue into the 2022 new year, it’s important to keep an eye on your growing to-do list. Taking the time to plan out your days, schedule your meetings and preplan exercise and mental health breaks ahead of time may seem too time consuming to be worthwhile. However, doing these extra steps will end up saving you time in the long run. It can also help you visually prioritize tasks and ensure you are using your time as efficiently as you can. Here are a few points to remember when adding planning into you work and personal life.
Find the method of planning and scheduling that works for you.
There are a variety of tools you can use to help you plan, usually taking the form of a journal or app. Each of these has their own pros and cons based on each individual person. My advice would be to try a few things until you find what truly works best for you.
- A simple task organizer is Tasks on Outlook. If you have Microsoft Outlook, there is a Task tool that allows you to create your own tasks and add flagged emails to your task list. This is incredibly helpful if there is a recurring task or if there’s something you need to postpone to a future date.
- You may have heard of apps like Trello or Monday.com. These can be used as a team task tool where you can see everyone’s projects and where they are in their process. You can move items around and label people as part of the task. There is a website version as well.
- Routine planners, like Fabulous daily routine planner, can help you plan your entire day, not just your work tasks. This application is especially good if you need help with prioritization, as it helps you plan what is feasible in your day based on how long a task takes in conjunction with others.
- If you’d rather write things down, there are plenty of physical journals and planners available. Built as a way to be more productive and focused, bullet journals allow for the most flexibility in your planning. It’s basically a journal you create from scratch using your own symbol key to plan your day — learn more about bullet journals here. This option has worked particularly well for me as I can track what needs to be done based on how my own brain works best.
Set aside time to plan your day.
All of these options are great, but they only work if you take the time to use them. Setting aside time at the beginning and/or end of your day to decide what is necessary today, what can wait, and scheduling time where necessary to complete projects is vital for success. Time is precious to all of us. Taking time to organize things is an investment in yourself. It can help even the most organized person get things done more efficiently.
It is especially important for anyone who feels they may be distracted easily by projects that suddenly pop up throughout the day. I am personally one of these people, and my daily planning tools have helped me be less overwhelmed by my projects and stay focused throughout the day. If tasks suddenly popping up in your day is stressful, take the time to add them to your task list, figure out if it must be done now, and prioritize accordingly.
Create a routine where planning and scheduling your tasks is the base.
The last part of ensuring your planning tools work is creating a routine around them in your work life, and daily life if you need them there, too. Ever since many of us have started to work from home, routines have become more important than ever. Just like your morning routine to get ready for your day, you should create a habit of planning your daily tasks for work. It may be troublesome or annoying at first, but after a little while it will become easier. I know it has helped me stay on task better as well as relieve some stress that I would have if I didn’t plan and prioritize with my bullet journal.
The key to successful planning.
If your planning process doesn’t seem to be helping and making your work life better, consider adjusting how you plan. It could be that you are using the wrong tool or how you’re using the tools is not quite right for you. If your planning routine seems to be working against you, change it up! The tools and ideas here are meant to help you, not hinder you.
Throughout 2022, take the time to see if you are as organized as you can be or if you may need some help from planning tools and routines. Find the tool or tools that work best for you and your life. Everyone is different, everyone’s brain works differently, so take the time to learn how you can best organize your day and plan according to you.
What do you do to prioritize and stay organized every day? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Rachel Wichlacz is a Wisconsin native and Florida resident currently working at CuraScript SD as a Marketing Lead Analyst. She has a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from The University of Tampa. Rachel is a blogger for AMA Tampa Bay with a background in marketing, design, and technical communication.
Connect with her on LinkedIn.