How to Plan so You are More Productive


I love my planner! When I was younger I would always buy one at the beginning of the school year and swear I would use it but I never did; it would just sit there and gather dust.  I don’t know if it was because it wasn’t pretty enough, the right size, or I wasn’t in the right mindset but my idea of planning never did work.  Now I can’t imagine my life without my Lily Pulitzer planner!!  I started using her planners when I first transferred to Radford University in the Fall of 2014.  I have used two of them so far; the medium and the jumbo size.  The medium is great because it is more compact and doesn’t take up nearly as much room as the jumbo but the jumbo one is my favorite out of the two.  It is about notebook size and gives me enough room to write ( I have HUGE writing).  I color code my planner using a different color for each class I am taking and a neutral color, usually black, for anything else going on such as library books due, meetings, etc.  I had read about color coding and planners for awhile, usually from Pinterest but always thought it was too complex and would take too much time, it isn’t.  By color coding I know  which class each thing is written for, even though I label that on the side (see picture above).

I always write a To-Do list for the week or weekend, sometimes even for each day, so that I have a compact list of things that I need to focus on.  When everything is laid out by the day and class it can be overwhelming.  I have been a believer of all lists my whole life!  I remember as a little girl writing lists even when I was playing make believe, my brain just works better when things are listed out neatly.  I think my love of lists come from my grandma and mom.  Growing up I saw lists on lists all over their desks, bulletin boards, and where ever else they would need one.  Anyways, I recommend if you are trying to get organized and don’t know where to start just make a list and go from there when you feel comfortable.  As you can see, I have THREE To-Do lists on my planner just for this week!

Besides for writing about my love of planners and To-Do lists I also wanted to give some very simple/beginner tips on how to plan to be more productive (hence the title of the post) so here we go:

  • Start with making a list in the morning of everything you want to get done for the day.  I like to do this right after I start brewing the coffee.  Something about the sound and smell of coffee in the morning makes me want to be productive right away.
  • Then take that list and break it up into sections: must do, would like to do, might be able to do (I recommend using different colors but that’s just me)
  • I have found that I am most productive when I use the timing system
    • I will put anywhere from 15-30 minutes on my phone timer and focus solely on one thing for that time, it could be doing dishes, cleaning my room, or an individual homework assignment.
    • The reason I like the timing system is because no matter how much I hate the task I am doing I know that when the timer goes off I get to go on to another task and I usually try to switch between “I hate” tasks to “I love (or at least like)” tasks
  • Use your planner!!  I like to write down everything for the whole semester when I get my syllabi and then add accordingly.  If you are not a student try writing down a week in advance and anything you know is coming up and add accordingly.
    • If your planner is large like mine and you don’t always have it when you go out make sure to set reminders on your phone of anything you planned while you were out.  I always set a reminder for a new Dr. appointment or plans with friends so that when I get home that night my phone reminds me to put it in my planner
  • Don’t forget to take time for yourself!
    • When using the timing system don’t forget to set a time where you can veg out, read, whatever you like to do to just breath for a bit.
    • Try to have at least half a day where you can be unproductive. Curl up with a book in bed, watch some TV, go hang with friends, whatever it is you enjoy do it!

There you go, your beginner steps to be more productive!  I hope this helps you or at least was an enjoyable read.  I’m off to work on a “I hate” task now…





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