In this modern age, we would like to think that going digital is better. After all, almost everyone has a smartphone with a ton of features. Typing it down in our calendar or productivity apps would certainly be the most efficient way of planning.
According to science however, writing things down aids our memory. Moreover, people who write remember more things than people who type things in. This makes a compelling argument to get a low-tech planner.
If you are too young to remember, planners are specialized notebooks used to write down appointments, contacts, to-do lists, and other notes. These are not collectibles that one can only acquire after downing several cups of expensive coffee.
Like a throwback smartphone, these help you be productive by managing your time, remembering people you’ve met, and being a repository of your ideas. So how do you make a planner an important part of your entire year and not just a showcase?
1. Take it everywhere you go This makes perfect sense: if you want to benefit from it, you must use it. Taking it everywhere also allows you to update it when you need to. That being said though, it also makes sense to choose the size and contents of your planner carefully and to match it to your needs.
2. Consistently write on it Like in all other things, practice makes perfect. It doesn’t matter if you seem to be writing down trivial things or things that you think you’d easily remember without writing down.
By being persistent, you are actually practicing two things: writing things down and mental sentence construction. These two activities are responsible for the enhanced memory of note takers.
3. Write things as they come up In relation to the previous tip, you should not only be writing things you remember; rather, you should be writing right away so as not to forget. Write down contacts as you meet them and pencil in appointments as soon as they are scheduled.
If you delay entering the data, you’ll just be inviting the trouble of failed memory. On the other hand, by disciplining yourself to jot things as they come, you would be forming a habit that will eventually be second nature to you.
4. Write down your goals A planner is not only for your contacts and scheduling appointments. You should also write down your goals whether they are for the month or for the day. Linking it with your calendar allows you to set a time line and ultimately a deadline for accomplishing tasks.
As you complete each assignment, cross it out of your list. This exercise not only organizes your life but it also increases productivity. Research shows that the mere act of writing down a target increases the chances of you achieving it. Crossing out a completed task also boosts your morale, which in turn increases your efficiency.
5. Do not be fussy with your planner If this will be your first foray into using a planner, put down that sticker-collecting card. There are a multitude of options, especially during this season, all with different configurations that may confuse a newbie.
What you should know however is that you can do all what needs to be done on a plain notebook; make sure to check out http://bulletjournal.com/ on how to do it.
Having a planner – and using it well – can boost your productivity and efficiency. Aim to use it as your main organization tool throughout the year, and not just a fancy and expensive décor on your shelf.