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By Jared Atchinson, co-founder of WPForms, a drag-and-drop form builder for WordPress that’s used on over 4,000,000 websites.

Do you want to use a day planner but aren’t sure how to maximize its effectiveness? If so, you’re not the only one.

Day planners are a great tool to use to keep you organized and plan the upcoming weeks and months. They help you take the steps required to reach your goals and become better at whatever it is you set your mind to.

But if you don’t know how to use a daily planner, it won’t prove useful. You need to know how to work it so it helps you keep track of your time and check tasks off your to-do list.

If you want to learn more about using a day planner, here are four simple tips to help you get started.

Write Down Everything

What makes a planner so useful is that it’s a designated spot for everything you need to keep track of. Appointments, hangouts, work assignments, goals, quotes and more can go in your planner to create a cohesive plan for your time, which can prevent burnout.

No matter what it is, if it’s important to you and you need to remember it, write it down. Your planner is more than just a way to keep track of time. It’s also a tool you can use to inspire you and keep you motivated when times are rough.

Research also shows that writing things down on paper helps your brain retain that information better. If you have a lot going on, writing it down can help you remember things that typing on a computer wouldn’t. So give longhand a shot and jot down whatever is important to you.

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Keep Your Planner Near You

For many people, unless their day planner is physically near them, they’ll forget to use it. This is especially true for those who aren’t used to using any type of journaling to plan their days.

Make sure you keep your daily planner in a spot where you’re guaranteed to see it every day, especially in the morning. This will allow you to remember to use it so writing in it becomes a daily habit and part of your morning routine.

Looking at your planner first thing in the morning mentally prepares you for the day ahead. You know what to expect, what to do and where you need to be so you’re ready to get started.

Set Time To Make To-Do Lists

To stay on track with your set goals, it’s crucial to maintain a to-do list for your everyday activities. What’s great is that creating a to-do list doesn’t take much time and helps you focus on what you need to do for the upcoming days or weeks.

You can take it a step further by color-coding your tasks into different categories if you’d like. You can designate different colors for work tasks, entertainment, appointments, etc. so that a quick glance tells you what you have prepared for the day.

Make sure you’re putting actionable tasks on your to-do list instead of stating goals. For example, instead of writing “lose two pounds” you could put “exercise three times this week.” This gives you something to do to accomplish your goals instead of stating what the end goal is.

Add Inspiration

Your day planner isn’t only for tracking your time and setting a schedule. It can also be a source of inspiration when you’re low on motivation and struggle to complete your tasks.

It’s normal to hit roadblocks and face challenges when working toward your goals. But what’s important is recognizing these struggles so you can push forward despite the hardships.

Use your journal to add inspirational quotes and pretty images or drawings that make you feel good. Adding colors, stickers and images spice up your planner and make it more inviting.

Over To You

Maintaining a day planner can help you stay organized, reach your goals and remain motivated. It’s a great way to align with your goals and see professional and personal growth, which is an amazing reward in itself. How will you keep a daily planner that inspires you?

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