The end of a year means the beginning of a new one, a chance to start things fresh. For many people, that means getting organized. According to a study done by marketing company iQuanti, “Get Organized” was the second most searched resolution, clocking in at over 33 million hits between the months of January and October. While there are plenty of options to get organized, one of the most effective ways is to use a planner. Not only can it help you check off your to-do list, but it can also keep you ready for new tasks coming your way. If you’re new to using a planner and want to get the most out of it, check out these tips.
Keep a Planner by Your Side
As humans, we have a natural affection toward to-do lists. There is a phenomenon known as the Zeigarnik effect – discovered by its namesake, the Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik – in which we remember things we need to do better than the things we have previously done. Some of this may be attributed to basic anxiety, to worry of what needs to get done. Regardless of why it happens, you’re going to assemble lists of upcoming duties. For that reason, it’s best to keep your planner on or close to you throughout the day. That way, you’re able to quickly jot down tasks before you forget or become distracted.
Create a Code
The way you write in your planner can help to establish order and mark progress as you continue to use it. For example, consider using different colored pens or small symbols to indicate which items are most pressing and which can be delayed for the time being. Additionally, by crossing off or checking a box upon completion of a task, it may be easier to stay motivated. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when reading an entire week or month’s work of deadlines, so give yourself a break and make things more streamlined with a little bit of creativity.
Set Weekly Goals
After analyzing data from project management software group Redbooth, Forbes found that the most productive day of the week is a Monday. With that in mind, take this as an opportunity to define what you want to accomplish for the week. Do you have a large project you need to get done? Are you looking to set aside time for cleaning your desk or organizing your inbox? Maybe you just want to make sure you’re getting eight hours of sleep a night. Whatever it is you want to accomplish, write it down in your planner and jot down steps to achieve that goal.
Try a Bullet Journal
One of the most popular trends in planners is an approach known as bullet journaling. Created by author and designer Ryder Carroll, the methodology is an extension of what he calls intentional living, a way of achieving meaningfulness and productivity. The process centers around rapid logging, in which the user jots down “bullets,” or short sentences paired with symbols. These bullets are broken down into Tasks, Notes, and Events, as a way of visually representing the work you have to do.
Consider a Planner App
If you’re not much into pen and paper, you may want to consider utilizing your phone or computer to keep notes. This can be just as effective as jotting things down in a moleskin notebook, especially because it only requires the technology you use every day. You can absolutely keep a running list in a basic note app, however, it may be more advantageous to use a complete planner app. Though there are many options available for both Android and iPhone, here are some of the most highly rated ones.
Getting organized and staying on top of our daily duties is a great way to relieve stress and improve peace of mind, and keeping a detailed list of all that needs to get done is a start. However, we need to be careful and conscientious to ensure we’re getting the most out of our daily planners.