Are you a paper planner person? Or do you struggle to understand the hype around a beautifully bound planner? Maybe, you love the idea of planners but are stuck on the best planning strategies to use one effectively. In today’s blog, I chatted with my dear friend, Polly Payne, from Horacio Printing, on how to use a planner to create a successful daily schedule and organize your life and business. We cover everything you should (and shouldn’t!) be putting in your planner and how we use them in our daily productivity to get amazing results.
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Create a Successful Daily Schedule With These Top Planning Strategies
The number one thing people do wrong with planners
To get the most out of your planner, you must use it and be realistic. We have a big problem in planner culture where we think it has to be perfect if we want to use a planner, especially a beautiful planner.
The top things people get wrong about using planners are:
A) not using them or
B) trying to be perfect.
Because life is messy, plans change, you miss a week or a day, and you end up with planner guilt. Then, you throw the baby out with the bathwater and give up on using your planner. You just have to keep going and embrace that life gets messy and it’s okay. You just have to get back up and try again
Why is a paper planner one of the top planning strategies I use in my business?
First of all, I love my Horacio Planner. It’s incredible and the perfect planner for a Christian entrepreneur. Check out the range of planners, devotionals, and other fun products at Horacio Printing, and use my code STEF20for 20% off your purchase. This is the planner we will refer to throughout this blog, and if you want to know more, we will discuss the planner in more detail at the end of this article.
Secondly, you have to see your planner for what it is. My planner is a guide to my day, my week, and my month. That’s all it is. Getting caught up in wanting to keep it perfect is easy, but you’ve got to use the tool! It’s not just there to be perfect and look beautiful, it’s got to be functional and used, or it’s useless. (If you’re scared to mess it up, use erasable pens!) It’s a tool to help you.
Have you ever sat down to work and felt like you had no idea what you were supposed to be doing? That’s because you don’t know where all your different time blocks go for the different areas of your life, and you don’t know what you are doing in your time block.
My life is in my planner, and it’s become an extension of me. I use a planner because it is a way for me to be proactive about my life. When I look in my planner, I see all my color-coded time blocks and what I’m supposed to be doing right now. It removes the overwhelm of to-do lists.
What do your current planning strategies and systems look like?
Think about your current planning strategy; what does it look like? Take time and do an inventory of it. Are you intentional in your planning?
Being intentional is vital to your success in both life and business. For me, time is more valuable than money. I need to know what I should be doing at any given moment. I hate not knowing what makes the biggest impact and income in my day and business for God’s glory.
Does your current planner system allow you to know right away what you should be doing and what will make the most significant impact and income in your day and business? If not, it might be time to switch to a paper planner.
Intentional planning strategies allow you to live out God’s plan for your life and business.
People usually start using a planner system when they hit rock bottom. We often don’t start using a system until we need one. And if you’re not in this place of desperately needing it, it’s often hard to jump-start that process yourself. That’s why the beginning of the year or your birthday can be great places to begin.
God has given you the ability to be intentional with your time and create a life you love with Him. We often confuse lack of ambition with humility, and we blame humility for not going after the big dreams God has given us.
God has such amazing things in store for us, but if we don’t have any margin in our life, we won’t be able to embrace our calling. Using your planner helps you be intentional in becoming who you want to be.
You wonder why you are showing up today; you’re not making any money yet, it doesn’t seem to grow, and you don’t feel equipped. There are so many excuses on why you don’t have to show up. But, if you have God’s dreams for your life written down, then you have direction.
There’s even a section in the planner to allow you to inventory your personal growth, personally, spiritually, professionally, financially, and in your home. It gets you to write out your 90-day goals for each area of your life. It’s also got a heart check and generosity planning.
These things bring you back to who God’s calling you to be, do, and serve in this season. So you can adequately plan out the tactical pieces to achieve that each week. Then, you really show up for it because it means more to you than some random to-do list.
Two common planning mistakes we see when first starting.
People tend to use their planners for people pleasing and surviving. We put in the things we need to do to stop others from getting mad at us and maybe a few things we need to survive, like buying groceries.
At the start, it often looks like all your appointments with other people because you need to show up for them, maybe a doctor’s appointment and groceries. But, your life is so much bigger than your appointments, and who you are called to become requires intentionality in the time you have to work on things for yourself.
Paper vs electronic planners for creating a successful daily schedule.
Another reason I love using planners is that it becomes a lovely time capsule to look back on. I have kept my planners for the last seven years, and I love to look back at my dreams, inspirations, goals, and life, especially since I don’t have time to journal a lot, only a couple of sentences a day.
In the past, I was so against being a product of reaction I refused to have any electronic planners because I didn’t want a notification to be causing me to act. Now I have a nice hybrid because I run a company with lots of employees, meetings, etc. But still, my life is in my paper planner.
Top planning strategies for creating a successful daily schedule
Schedule time to plan
If you don’t schedule it, you won’t do it. We recommend planning Sunday night because it allows you to start your week well, knowing what you are doing and your priorities.
Use your planner for a focused day
Then use a project management software like Asana for your to-do lists. I only have six projects in my planner and then narrow them down to three daily things. This helps remove the overwhelm and paralysis of a never-ending to-do list.
Daily top three
Pick the top three priority tasks for your day and put them in your planner. Once you’ve done these, you know you can be done for the day. Our work is never done as entrepreneurs, so the top three help us know when to close work and move into life.
Our brain struggles if we go over three points. If you have too many ideas, this strategy is great for focusing on what you will do now. And, if you struggle with doing anything because of perfectionism or procrastination, it gives you the push to actually do three things today. Depending on your need, it can either rein you in or push you forward.
Be realistic and prepared to not be perfect
Be realistic with how long things take so you can plan accordingly. Most people overestimate how much they can get done in a day. Adding a time estimate next to each item is a great way to evaluate if your daily plan is doable. If all the tasks add up to 20 hours, you’ll need to change something because that’s impossible in a single day. If you are constantly not achieving your to-do list, you’re setting yourself up for burnout and failure.
Get out of the tasks and on to the outcome
Focusing on your desired result for the week or month gives you somewhere to work back from and decide on the top three daily things you need to do to get you where you want to go.
I love using the Horacio planner’s weekly intentions section to track my habits. These are my health and workout goals, time with God, date night, and water consumption. Tracking these habits in my planner forces me to open the planner daily.
Use one system well
Instead of using 100 different systems, pick one thing and use it well. My planner is my one thing, and everything else works to support it.
Set aside one hour each day to do all the jobs which can become rabbit holes or take you off focus. Things like checking emails, sending emails, communicating, and any bits you still need to do for your work day. Essentially, you want to jot down all the random, urgent to-dos as you think about them during the day and then allocate a set time to do them instead of allowing them to distract you from your intentional work time.
Remember, if you want to make a change in your life, you need to do it for 21 to 30 days consistently to create that habit. If you’re going to get consistency in using your planner, you need to do that for 21-30 days. I feel like you’ll never go back once you’ve done that! Paper planners are life-changing!
Why Horacio Planners are the best tool for Christian entrepreneurs
Polly Payne, the founder of Horacio Printing, is an expert planner creator with nearly a decade of experience creating the perfect paper planner. These planners have been intentionally created and positioned for the Christian entrepreneur.
They have been carefully designed to allow you to pursue your God-given dreams. When you open your week, you have a Bible verse and your top focus items right there. You also have your month at a glance, and a regular heart check to ensure you walk out what God has called you to do!
Check out these incredible, beautiful, powerhouse journals at Horacio Printing, and don’t forget to use my code STEF20for 20% off. Each year, Polly also includes amazing bonuses with each planner so go check them out now and don’t miss out!
Despite living in a world inundated with technology, it’s hard to move past the benefits of a paper planner. They provide direction, intentionality, and freedom from overwhelm. Used well, they can be one of the most powerful tools you have in your life and business. Equipped with these tips and planning strategies, using your new paper planner will be easy and life-giving! Give your life and business the systems it desperately needs for freedom and success.
The more I get to know my students and the more I participate in masterminds with my peers the more I’m starting to comprehend the overarching problem and prevalence of one, perfectionism, and two, overthinking.
Perfectionism keeps us in a place of constant consumption and learning. Redoing things over and over and thinking that we can’t move forward until they measure up to some elusive standard.
Why do I believe we need a morning routine? I believe you must have a morning routine because it helps you get into the mindset of productivity and purpose.
When we get right with God we: Renew Our Minds
Get Into the Word
Are Able to Live Our Life Guided by the Holy Spirit
The difference in how my day goes when I do my morning routine and when I don’t is night and day.