Since time management is usually a huge issue for my clients, here are some ways I use planners to help me manage my time better.
Having tools that work for you is key.
Before I tell you about the planners I love – check out my Time Management Course: “It’s About -TIME.” Inside the course, you can download the workbook to help you manage your time better. The great thing about the workbook is that you can print off daily copies and put them in your notebook. At $47, this course offers you lifetime access and is a steal! Join today!
I use a regular lined notebook (Similar to this, but I usually use my kid’s discarded school notebooks that they didn’t finish!)
In the top left corner, I put my habit tracker. This chart has a column for each day, with the tasks I want to complete. I use a different color pen for each day (I like to see my success in color!) That color is what I use to write everything everywhere for the day. This helps me because I know what day I wrote something, even if I forgot to mark the date.
On the right side of the page, I divide the page into sections. (You can use any categories you like; these are mine:)
- In progress. These are things that I may have already started but am waiting for someone to get back to me on.
- To-do. These are things that I need to get done this week. Whatever I didn’t finish from last week, I move on to the next week’s list at the end of the week.
- Follow up. People or places I need to follow up with.
- Payment. People I need to pay and people I am waiting to receive money from.
- Long Term. These are larger projects that need to get done. They usually are a multi-step process and require a team effort.
In my notebook, other pages hold information that is needed as I go throughout the week or month but don’t warrant being on my weekly schedule.
Once I set up my notebook for the week, I plot the tasks onto my Google calendar. This gives me reminders before events and lets me see how to budget my time. If I can’t complete a task, I move it to a different location. It’s easy peasy.
If a paper diary is more your thing – I suggest one with a calendar you can fill in as you go. The advantage of that is that if you, for some reason, stop using your calendar, you don’t have to beat yourself up about it. This Paperage option is great because you can easily add the date.
If you feel you need the accountability of a prefilled calendar, I get it; many people do. I suggest something like this, where you have enough room to really write what you need. This is planner is a great option. With spiral binding, it’s 8.5 x 6.4 – but you may find a larger or smaller size works better for you.
If time management before Jewish holidays and Shabbat is an issue, check out my Organized Jewish Life Shabbat and Holiday planner. I designed this planner to give you space to plan your weekly Shabbat menus, guest lists, budgets, and shopping lists. You can also store regular recipes in the planner to keep everything in one place. There are also weekly checklists to help you get ready for Shabbat and special checklists before each Jewish Holiday. It makes the perfect gift for you, your daughter, your sister, your mother, your neighbor, or your friend, especially if she is starting out in life! Pick up your copy today!
The key to time management is getting everything out of your head and onto paper. It’s essential also to keep everything in one place. Writing on scraps all over your house isn’t that helpful.
Here are some tips that help me and my clients:
- When I think of something that needs to get done, but I’m not near my notebook, I email myself a reminder to do it, or add it to the notebook.
- I use my inbox as a to-do list. I archive anything that I have already responded to. (This way I can search my email later if I need a record, but I keep my inbox tidy.) I leave anything that is still outstanding, like travel plans or meetings, in my inbox. This way, I see it and have a visual reminder. I am never at inbox zero, which is fine with me, I keep around 50 messages, but if you prefer inbox zero, you can use a tool like Boomerang for Gmail. This will allow you to archive messages,s but the twist is that it will “resend” the email at a specific time so you can remember to deal with it! Fun!
- Google Sheets. These allow me to keep lists, links, or data that I need access to, don’t want to look up on the web every time I need them, but that I don’t need to keep in my notebook or my email. It’s also a great place to store electronic information like links.
(If you struggle with Time Management – you’re also gonna wanna check out this blog post I wrote a few weeks ago about visual timers.)
Let me know what your time management struggles are. If you need help, reach out. We can work together in private or group sessions called Power Hours, virtually from anywhere worldwide!