I’m going to be honest here. Every year, I make it a goal of mine to start and complete a planner for the year… and every year I fail. There’s just something about losing focus and not truly enjoying the planner I thought I would love. No surprise that 2020 threw a wrench in that plan.
Well, all of that changed when I started my career as a full-time writer. In the middle of June, I left my marketing job and started writing all day, every day.
One thing I wanted to change was how I tracked my time, words, and what I accomplished. What happened over the next two months was something I could never have predicted. After using my Passion Planner (affl link) to track my writing days, I discovered an entire change in how I worked and how much happier I was.
The daily planner changed my life and I’m so glad I stuck to it. Find a planner that gets you excited to fill out (or test out these free resources before you buy) and experience these improvements yourself!
Minimize wasted time
As a lover of all things minimalist, I don’t mind the blank space on a page. I like simple, straightforward, and easy to use templates. However, leaving blank space in my hourly tracker because I was wasting time was a big no-no for me. Taking breaks is great, but being lazy was not.
As a full-time writer, I should be writing. That means I need to minimize that ‘blank space’ where I’m scrolling social media, watching TV, or doing anything besides writing when I’m supposed to be writing.
Tracking everything I do helps me minimize wasted time. I can see how productive my last hour was and use that momentum to keep going. Plus, taking mindful breaks where I can doodle and highlight and ‘show off’ in my planner what I’ve accomplished is always fun.
Improved progress on goals
I’ve always been a proponent of setting yearly goals and even monthly goals, but finding a daily planner that worked for me launched my productivity through the roof.
Every day, I calculate my word count and monitor my progress on my goals. I have a daily set of tasks (most important tasks (MITs)) that help me make progress on the day while taking strides toward my yearly goal. Since June, I’ve written over 210K words across multiple projects, published seven books, and had to rewrite my yearly goals because I completed almost* all of them.
*I have a goal that is time blocked in November which is to win National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
Constraints breed creativity.
There are some wonderful boxes and creative prompts on each page in my planner that help keep me focused on what I’m supposed to be doing. I found that when I had an open page, my creativity suddenly disappeared. With little boxes and nice, neat spaces on the planner, I can either follow the prompt or do my own thing.
It has also helped me practice my organization skills and handwriting. Even though I’m not the best at writing in a straight line, it’s really fun to sit and highlight or take notes in my planner. These ideas help fuel my creativity when it comes to writing fiction. I can also plan out articles and come up with new ways to share old material.
The first thing I noticed when I started my daily planner was that I was trying to be productive for the entire day. I never took breaks, pushed lunch later and later, and never took time to care for myself.
Now, I look forward to reaching those little times in my day where I actively set aside 30 minutes to just do nothing. Sometimes that means I sit and do some other activity I love or I go outside and play with the puppy. It’s also a great mindfulness break and creativity booster to just sit and highlight or design a new planner spread.
I can also use the dot grid pages in my Passion Planner to track some of my habits. I have little health goals like walking and water intake that I can monitor. Plus as someone who suffers from migraines, I can keep track of everything and figure out what triggers might be causing it.
Glimpse into your life
One thing I never used to do with my other planners is go back and see what I had accomplished or how far along I’d come on my goals. A daily planner is essentially a snapshot of every day you record. Having a planner I loved actually gave me reason to go back and look at my old spreads and see where I was most productive. It was like a glimpse back to most of my favorite days, especially because they were recording all of my tackled goals.
How do you use your daily planner? What helps you accomplish your goals?
You can get 10% off a Passion Planner, the same one I’ve used to help me tackle my writing goals and make new ones by using code LAURAW10 at checkout.